• General food and cooking questions, discussion, and recipes. To blog your food or to create (or post in) a community food thread, please post in Post Your Eats!

cooking Porchetta, It's a Porkapalooza!

Porchetta, it's a PITA'rse but worthwhile. 
Why? Becuase this oh so succulent, fatty, juicy and savory roll of pork and herbs is decadently delicious.
Which make the labor of making and cooking it worthwhile.
Start with the better part of a whole, skin-on pork belly and half a large pork loin.
You'll need to measure and trim so the belly will wrap completely around the loin with a little extra room for shrinkage during cooking.
That belly's skin is going to shrink, I learned by doing, you can learn from my experience... Pics later.


Put the loin into a wet brine (1T Kosher salt per cup of water) and brine for a minimum of 12 hours, 24 hours or more is better.
I allowed mine to brine for 36 hours.
Score the skin with a razor sharp knife or razor blade, cutting only through the skin and barely into the fat, do not cut through into the meat.
You'll want to make the cuts so when the cook is finished you can slice the Porchetta through the cuts.
(You'll note I made my cuts wrong, live and learn)
Then rub liberal amounts of Kosher salt into it and allow to air dry in the fridge for a minimum of 12 hours, longer is better.
I allowed mine to air dry for 36 hours.
The cuts, salting and drying is to help with turning the skin into cracklins at that end of the cook.
Scored skin after drying.

The original recipe calls for pork liver pate in the stuffing, I couldn't source it and thus am doing without it.
The rest is easy to source, kosher salt, minced garlic, fennel seed, fresh herbs: fennel fronds, sage, rosemary, thyme and oregano.
(Crushed red pepper is an option.)
You can see the amounts of herbs I used, no actual measurements.
I just eyeballed what I figure would be enough to generously season the belly and minced them.
Fresh Herbs

You'll lay the belly out with cotton twine laid under ready to truss it all up tightly.
Now salt it and then liberally spread with minced garlic, Go conservatively with the fennel seed and lastly apply the freshly minced herbs.
Now lay the loin atop it and with some helping hands wrap the belly around it and tie it up tightly.



And let me show you, this thing is not small, it's a huge roll of piggy!

Okeydokey, all tied up and ready to cook.
I opted to smoke at 300° over a mix of cherry and hickory.
I ran multiple therms for IT, and my goal was to pull at 120° IT and have the loin finish at 140° during the broiler stage turning that skin to cracklins.
Turned out I should've pulled at 110° cause it ran over to 150°, but that long brine saved the loin from drying out and it was good to go.
Smoking along nicely.

Ready for the broiler
Please note, I had to roll the Porchetta side to side to get even  coverage of the cracklin skin.
I used bamboo skewers stuck thru it to turn it side to side.
No lollygagging during this stage, hands and eyes on to prevent burning.

Cracklin Skin!
And let me tell you about the cracklins... OMG'osh so freaking good!
Everything that came off during slicing I claimed by way of Chef's Privilege.

A really sharp serrated carving knife with fine serrations will saw through the cracklins.
Also you can cut fairly easily through the areas that were tied.


So, I made my mistakes, live and learn.
But it came out pretty damned good, it was well reviewed by the family.
Learn from my mistakes/experience.
Cut your belly with a little extra room for shrinkage.
Tie it up tightly, that belly's skin is going to shrink and contract during cooking.
And stop and think about which way the scoring cuts need to go.