For the pork:
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 bone-in pork shoulder (also called butt; about 6 lbs.), skin removed
½ cup Dijon mustard
6 baby Vidalia onions with greens attached (about 8 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
6 thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves, lightly smashed and peeled
½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 Tbsp. bacon fat
2 Tbsp. cornmeal, preferably Anson Mills Antebellum Fine White Cornmeal
3 cup home-canned tomatoes or canned San Marzano tomatoes
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. freshly cracked black pepper
8 ears corn, husked
1½ Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups heavy cream
3 thyme sprigs, tied together with kitchen string
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
• For the pork: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place a rack in a roasting pan.
• Combine the brown sugar, salt, pepper and paprika in a small bowl and blend well. Using a brush, paint the top only of the pork with the mustard. Pat on the seasoning mixture. Place the pork on the rack in the pan and roast, uncovered for about 14 hours, until the meat is tender but not falling apart. Baste occasionally with the pan juices during the last hour to make glaze. Remove the pork from the oven, transfer it to a platter and let it rest for 10 minutes. Reserve the juices in the roasting pan, skimming off any fat from the top as the pork rests.
• About 2 hours before the pork is done, prepare the onions: Remove the greens from the onions, slice the greens as thin as possible and reserve to use as garnish. Place the butter, thyme and garlic on a large piece of aluminum foil and top with the onions. Fold up the edges of the foil and seal to make a closed packet. Place the packet in a baking pan. Add the onions to the oven for the last 2 hours of the pork’s cooking time.
• Meanwhile, for the tomato gravy: Heat the bacon fat in a large nonreactive saucepan over high heat. Stir in the cornmeal with a wooden spoon, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly until the cornmeal turns a light brown color, about 5 minutes.
• Using your hands, crush the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces, then add the tomatoes and their juices to the pan and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium, bring the gravy to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is slightly thickened and the cornmeal is soft, about 10 minutes; be careful that it is not sticking or scorching. Add the salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat for up to 1 hour.
• To complete: Remove the onions from the oven, carefully open the packed and cut the onions into quarters. Put the onions in a dish, baste with the liquid left inside the foil and season with the salt.
• Portion the pork by gently pulling it into large chunks with a pair of tongs. Serve with the onions, creamed corn and tomato gravy. Sprinkle the pork with the reserved onion greens.
• Cut the kernels from the corn; set aside. Using a box grater, scrape the “milk” from the cobs into a wide bowl; set aside.
• Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half the corn kernels, the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots and garlic have softened considerably, about 7 minutes. Add the cream, bring to a simmer and cook stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
• Working in batches if necessary, transfer the corn mixture to a blender and blend on high until completely smooth, about 5 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a saucepan.
• Add the remaining corn kernels, the reserved “milk” from the cobs, the thyme and butter to the pan, bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer until the creamed corn has thickened and the whole kernels are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove the thyme, season with salt and white pepper and serve.