2poundspork shoulder or any other meats (see above)
3tablespoonsbrandy, bourbon or whisky(optional)
2tablespoonsdried marjoram or thyme
2quartsstock or broth
1cupduck fat, lard or butter
1/2cupyellow onion, minced
1/2teaspoontoasted sesame seeds
1/2teaspoonyampa or anise seeds(optional)
1tablespoondried lovage or parsley leaves, crushed(optional)
If you are using pork shoulder, cut it into chunks about 2 inches across. If you are using bird legs and wings, separate drumsticks from thighs. Toss the meat or meats with the brandy in a large bowl. Mix the dried marjoram and a couple tablespoons of salt and toss that with the meats. Let this sit in the fridge overnight, about 8 hours.
Rinse the meats and pat them dry. You can either submerge them in fat to cook, which is traditional -- but which requires a lot of lard, duck fat or butter -- or you can very gently simmer them in the stock, which is what I do. Cook the meats until they are very tender, anything from 2 hours for pork shoulder to 4 hours for, say, wild turkey legs.
Meanwhile, sauté the onion and garlic in a little of the fat you are using until they are soft and translucent, but not browned. Set aside to cool.
Shred the meat into a large bowl. Add the cooked onion and garlic and any fat in the pan you used to cook them. Add all the seeds and the dried herbs. Add a few tablespoons of the stock you cooked the meats in to wet everything. Start beating on it with a potato masher, adding that 1 cup of whatever fat you are using little by little.
Keep doing this until you have a rough mass that will spread. Tinker with the salt and fat to your taste, and if you want, add just a splash of the same kind of brandy you used to soak the meats in. Serve right away over bread, or pack into ramekins and top with melted fat and refrigerate.