Pondering Pork

I went to Harris Teeter tonight (at about midnight) to get a ham for dinner tomorrow night. I found myself being annoyed by the expense of the “pre-cooked” 5lb hams, nearly $20 for 1 ham, and it includes a bone. Not exactly what I consider to be a good deal. I was intending to ideally spend about $15 on the ham, and $20 was a little bit more than I was willing to put into 4lbs of meat. Being discouraged by the “fine varieties” I started poking around in the bin to find the less popular hams, the ones that actually require time to cook. I somehow missed the boat entirely on looking at ham and started looking at these “pork shoulder” thingies. I am not a butcher, and while I can tell you about flavor differences of 20 different varieties of apple, I don’t know a butt roast from a shoulder. The preparation methods seemed similar enough, but I still wasn’t sure of what exactly a pork shoulder was. I got the 9lbs monstrosity (that cost me about $15) home, and began checking online for how to cook it, and began freaking out when I discovered a lot of information about using pork shoulder to make pulled pork. While I like BBQ, that isn’t the type of flavor I’m going for with the dinner I’m planning. I am looking for smoky and lightly sweet with a much different texture than BBQ. After my little panic and a little more research I discovered that there are several types of pork shoulder. What I bought, called a Picnic Pork Shoulder is essentially prepared the same way as ham and IS ham, but by a different name. I am still not entirely sure what the differences are, but I have the thing cooking in the oven now for 3 hours (about 20 min/lbs). I plan to let it cool for about an hour when it comes out, and then slice part of it, then chill the entire thing, including a small amount of the fluids for reheating the meat, in case anyone wants it hot (I personally love cold ham). The ham, along with pintos, corn bread and fried potatoes should be a fairly interesting country meal that I hope my guest this evening will enjoy.