Pork shoulder is without hesitation one of my favourite cuts.
There is sufficient inter-muscular fat to provide flavour and basting with a greasy result. Pork belly is another firm favourite, but the shoulder is meatier and not as rich.
I buy a deboned shoulder with the skin on. The butcher usually sells it rolled and placed in a net. I remove the net and spread it flat maximising the surface area of skin to get a crisp crackling. The larger surface area of meat allows better seasoning and the thinner roast speeds up cooking!
Add fruit or vegies
You can use any vegetables or fruit on the base of the roasting pan with the onions and garlic, but my four favourites are apples, pears, apricots or fennel. If I am serving my fennel and onion bake as an accompaniment (recipe here) I always reserve the leafy stalks for this.
In Italy, especially Tuscany, every market sells “porcetto”. Small whole pigs are seasoned, partially deboned, skewered onto a spit and roasted. Wedges of roast pork are served on crisp rolls. Decadently delicious! The primary seasoning in porcetto is fennel, both the seeds and leaves.
I rub the meaty surface with a mixture of beef stock powder (use a good quality powder that is MSG free and has a low salt content), bruised fennel seeds and crushed garlic.
Make sure that the skin side is dry and well scored. I cut strips approximately 6mm-10mm wide. You can rub some salt onto the surface.
I like adding dry white wine to the roasting pan, but if you prefer, you can use red wine. If you do not want to cook with wine use stock or a mixture of stock and fruit juice such as apple juice.