How To Make A Knockout Porchetta

fresh bread, grainy mustard, salsa verde, two kinds of porchetta, parmesan, pickled fennel
fresh bread, grainy mustard, salsa verde, two kinds of porchetta, parmesan, pickled fennel

The other night, Chef Kev had the privilege to join forces with the boys on the east side which ended in a culinary feat: Porchetta!

Porchetta [porˈketta] is a savoury, fatty, and moist boneless pork roast of Italian culinary tradition. The body of the pig is gutted, deboned, arranged carefully with layers of stuffing, meat, fat, and skin, then rolled, spitted, and roasted, traditionally over wood. – Google

Alright, so maybe the boys didn’t do the whole hog. Everyone has their own way of making it, but there are some features that you need in order to have an accurate experience. Savoury pork, some sort of fat cap (could be pork belly) and a crackling texture from the skin.

The amazing thing about porchetta is its versatility. You could serve it like a roast, layer it on a sandwich, eat it the next day in a fry and the list goes on. But to truly appreciate the diversity that this meat, you have to see it in all its raw glory.

two different styles of porchetta

The meat on the left is done in a traditional style: pork shoulder marinated in parsley, oil, fennel and paprika, wrapped in a layer of pork belly and skin. The round on the right is the whole pork shoulder rolled with its fat cap in tact. As you can see, the fat cap measures a solid inch to 2 inches which will later be rendered off in the oven. It, too, has a marinade of parsley, toasted fennel and smoked paprika.

skin scored to ensure it doesn't shrink and pull the meat up
skin scored to ensure it doesn’t shrink and pull the meat up

This is another angle of the meat to show how the skin was scored. The skin needs to be sliced to make sure that when it shrinks in the oven it doesn’t pull the meat up. It’s probably why these suckers are hog-tied, too.

Next, they get popped into the oven on a low temp, like 225’F, for around 8 hours. That’s a lot of commitment, but the boys had the time. In a pinch, you can always crank the heat and have the meat perfectly cooked in 3 or 4 hours. The different ways they are cooked will give it a different texture: slow and low will always make it fall-apart-in-your-mouth, whereas a higher heat for fewer hours will help it maintain some shape and form. Nevertheless, there is no wrong way to make this meat.

 

The results are nearly picture perfect.

cooked meat

Hungry, yet?

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