I think we've got a new New Year's Eve tradition: smoking a pork butt.
Thanks to the lunacy of signing up for shares of a happy heritage pig from The Piggery, we came into possession of a substantial-looking "Boston butt"...and smoked it over hickory chips for our little New Year's gathering. We're non-smokers in every sense, but I followed a recipe from Epicurious.com including a spice rub, soaked hickory chips, and sent Spouse out into the snow.
About an hour later, while preparing Hoppin' John upstairs, I stuck my head out the back window and nearly wept with joy. The garden smelled like Blue Smoke. I half expected to see people wafting up the driveway, airborne, like in Loony Tunes. Still, I was worried; the barbecue obsessives (who call it "cue" and are all over the Internet) would have you believe it takes 12-15 hours to achieve falling-off-the-bone, pullable tenderness.
No need to worry. The butt shrank significantly (the only one around here that did, harhar), but it was...exquisite...and pullable...after about 2 hours on the grill and another hour in a slow oven, and even sported the mystical pink interior ring of 'cue perfection. As I tugged the mouthwatering strands apart, Daughter stood nearby like a velociraptor for the scraps. It got doused lightly in vinegary North Carolina-style sauce, and consumed on buns to rapturous acclaim.
Whichever of you guys gave your life for our festive fare, we thank you. With this newly personal connection to our meat, we fantasize about giving the pigs an ennobling tribute before eating them, like Chingachgook gave to the deer he brought down at the beginning of Last of the Mohicans. (We tried something like "Brother Pig, we salute you for your good nature and marbling," but it didn't have quite the same effect.) Sharing it with our oldest and dearest friends made for an excellent end to the decade.