This is actually what I ended up with..I stayed in familiar territory, and since this is a wrapped product, no smoke isnt a problem.
Bought two 8lb shoulders..leftover are a target for this cook, although there is only 10 of us. (Bought Inlaws a Food Saver for Xmas a well, they will use it quickly)
Prepared a brine of:
1 cup Kosher salt
1 cup dark brown sugar
4-6 oz dark honey
2 bay leaves lightly crushed
1 cloves garlic, bruised
6 white peppercorns, cracked
4-6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 thumb fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 stalk lemongrass, thinly sliced
Let them soak in a cooler in the garage (Denver, its cold out there) for 24hrs.
Brought them in last night, rinsed them thoroughly, and patted "dry". Placed them on a work board..gonna make a mess now.
From the top, I make 6 or 8 (depending on shoulder size) holes down into the meat with a knife, in a + fashion. Stick your finger down into hole.
In each hold, stuff down one mostly crushed garlic clove, a few thinly sliced sticks of ginger, then one more clove at the top.
After that, I get as much pineapple juice into the shoulder as it'll support. 2C per shoulder is my personal record..but this time got just over 1C each.
Prepare a paste of: (per shoulder, depending on size)
3-4 coarse salt
2-3T very coarse pepper
Enough liquid smoke to make a paste.
Slather this onto the shoulder all over.
On top of this, I will place a lot of garlic (6-8 crushed cloves) a whole thinly sliced yellow onion, and an amount of additional ginger.
Now the fun part.
Earlier in the day I purchased two bags of banana leaves. You'll find them in the frozen area of most asian/japanese markets MAYBE a name brand store..but I dont waste my time when traveling anymore. I hit up the popular asia-town market, and no hassle.
I then placed them in a pan to soak in water. Soft leaves later prevents some tearing.
Now wrap the pork..
Lay out the leaves from each bag, discard the non whole pieces, a full leave is 4' long or so. The 10" long pieces wont help any.
Lay out a 2-leaf thick layer of whole leaf on the counter, and place a shoulder about 1/3rd the way down the leaf. Bring over the short end, then the long end. GENTLY raise the shoulder and work under the long end remaining. The more you manhandle the shoulder, the bigger the mess as the juice will come out. Optionally, you can place more onion/etc under the meat as you place it on the leaf, up to you.
Lay down another 2-layer thick whole leaf set, and gently pick up and place the shoulder on this layer 90 degrees off from the last one, wrap it in the same manner as before, except tuck in the exposed corners from first wrap.
Using butchers string, tie around the shoulder in one direction (you can work the string under this without picking it up pretty easily) and tie it snugly on top. Then tie more string around it 90d off from the last one.
Get those corners tucked in..
What you have now, looks like an Xmas gift from Gilligan's Island.
Place these in a pan to cure overnight in the fridge or in your coooold garage.
I placed these in the oven next to each other on the top rack, and a LARGE aluminum pan on the lower to catch the goodness.
In the pan is:
2 boxes chicken broth
1 box beef broth
(This is the right mix for pork broth..right?) :)
Heap O' red potatoes
When this is all done, separate the solids from the liquid, quickly chill the liquid to get the fat out, then blend all together for a killer vegetable gravy.