The meat will be deboned and without skin.
My limited experience with pork neck is that its great for stews, broth and the like because there is not enough meat to served as a main dish.
I use it a lot in soups, stews and other braises. It's very tough, so you need to cook it low and slow with liquids. It's not something you roast and slice.
I also really like slow-roasted pork neck and prepare it in a way very similar to Tobi's method:
I brown a seasoned 1.5kg/3 pound piece of meat (which I find is plenty for 4-6 people, if there are more to feed, it's just as easy to make two pieces), roast it with around 500ml/2 cups of liquid at 150C/300F for 1 1/2 hours and then for another 1/2 hour at 200-220C/400-430F to crisp it up a bit and reduce and thicken the liquid, to make it into a sort of gravy.
In the summer, I like to make it "porchetta-style" by butterflying it and stuffing with rosemary, crushed garlic and fennel seeds, then rolling back up and tying with kitchen string and using equal parts of white wine and water/broth for the liquid – it's delicious warm, but just as nice the next day, cold and cut into thin slices to put on a sandwich.
For christmas, however, I would leave the meat whole, season with sage and/or juniper berries, use hard cider and water/broth as a liquid, and add whole shallots and apples for the last hour or so: they collapse into a kind of savoury baked apples, flavour the gravy and are wonderful with mashed potatoes.
There must be different cuts of pork neck. The ones I get from my farmer are mostly bone with meat bits that turn lucious after braising because of the collagen. They are in thick slices about 10 ounces each. I can't imagine boning it before cooking. What Lem and Tobi are describing sound more like a meaty roast. Must ask my farmer about this. I love the flavor of pork neck and use it to make ramen and the Spicy Pork and Cabbage soup on this site. It takes 3 days to make and is incredible.
Oh yes, Susan, you are definitely right about that – so sorry about the confusion!
The cut I (and most probably Tobi, too) was referring to is called neck in Germany, Austria and Italy; in the English wikipedia entry for Capocollo, which uses exactly that part, it is described as the "muscle running from the neck to the 4th or 5th rib of the pork shoulder or neck".
Now I wonder which part is the one called neck in the U.S. …
Lem, maybe it's the same part of the animal, but cut in slices. My farmer asked me what I was going to do with it. I told him I was using it to make pork broth, but picking the meat off the bones when it was tender. I can see the vertibrates, so I know it's neck. Plus, farmers tend to call body parts exactly what they are. I have a feeling if I told him that I was going to roast it, he would have cut it in roast form with or without bones. Now I really want to roast one like you and Tobi do.
Yep, it's a nomenclature problem. What many Europeans call the neck is what we Yanks call the shoulder or Boston butt (and the blade end of the loin). What we call the neck is further up the animal, the upper vertebrae with a relatively small amount of meat on the bones--in fact, it's generally sold as "neck bones" in the US.
Good job sfmiller. I was trying to attach a jpeg photo that Google found for me of what we call neck bones. I had no idea we were discussing a shoulder roast. It all makes sense now.
Inie minie minie mo. Thank you everyone for the lovely ideas. Now I do not know what to pick. I understand that there is some confusion about the cut I was referring to. I am referring to the cut that Lem’s described as the muscle running from the neck to the 4 th or 5th rib. Sorry I’m Dutch....