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Pork Belly Porchetta Recipe


Porchetta slice showing off spiral
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4.17 from 18 votes
This recipe comes close to replicating the original Italian dish but in a smaller, more manageable size. It is an incredibly flavorful, rich showy presentation suitable for a special occasion. We made the porchetta in the photos here for the BBQ Stars video masterclasses, so we used a 10 pound belly to serve a hungry video and kitchen crew. The recipe below is for a smaller crowd. Got a big crowd? It is easy to scale it up. Just double everything and use a 10 pound belly.

Course:
Main Course
Cuisine:
Italian

Makes:

Servings: 6 servings

Takes:

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 3 hours

Equipment

  • About 6 feet of butcher string or twine
  • 9 x 13 inch baking pan
  • Grill with rotisserie or a spare grill grate to hold porchetta on roasting pan above the veggies

Ingredients

Vegetables

  • ½ pound potatoes
  • ½ pound Brussels sprouts
  • ½ pound carrots
  • ½ pound small pearl onions

Porchetta

  • cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Morton coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 piece pork belly, preferably skin on, about 5 pounds (about 8 inches long x 8 inches wide)
  • ½ cup quick pickled onions
  • 6 pretzel rolls or another sturdy roll of your choice
Notes:
About the sun dried tomatoes. I use smoked cherry tomato raisins when I have them.
 
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page

Method

  • Prep the veggies. Chop the veggies to about the same size so they will cook at about the same rate. If you can get small potatoes and carrots, you may not need to cut them up. Same goes for the onions. Slice the Brussels sprouts in half from top to bottom so the root holds the leaves in. I don’t care if you hate Brussels sprouts. That will change after you taste them done this way. I guarantee.
  • Prep for the porchetta. Chop the sundried tomatoes in bite size pieces.
     Grind the fennel seeds and rosemary in a mortar and pestle or a blender or a coffee grinder, then transfer to a bowl. Mix in the garlic powder, salt, thyme, sage, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Feel free to make substitutions of your choice in this rub. Use fresh herbs if you wish. Be forewarned: If you use fresh garlic it will not cook through, so you will taste raw garlic.
  • Score. Place the belly on a cutting board fatty side up. With a really sharp knife or a box cutter, score the skin in a cross hatch checkerboard pattern with a cut about every inch and go about ½ inch deep. In the photo here, you see a belly without the skin since my butcher screwed up the order. Just score the fat.
  • Butterfly. Hold a really sharp knife parallel to the cutting board and place the blade halfway up the belly. Draw the blade along the edge carefully and gently start splitting the belly in half making it half as thick. Don’t cut all the way through the far end so that you can lay the side you crosshatched fat side down but have it still attached to the meatier side. You basically want to open up the belly like a book.
  • Flavorize. Spread about ⅔ of the blend on the open face of the belly and save the rest for after you roll it up. Scatter the sun dried tomato bits around.
  • Let’s roll. 
    Starting on a long side, and the meatiest side, roll the belly into a tight log. Tie it tight with the string every 1 ½ inches or so. Trim the ends but leave some extra hanging off to help make it easier to find the string when you are done cooking. Now sprinkle the rest of the rub on the exterior of the roll. Insert the rotisserie spear carefully through dead center and secure the meat with the tines. If you don't have a rotisserie, place the roast on a grill grate large enough to fit over the veggie pan. 
  • Veg out. Put a ½ inch layer of water in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Add the veggies. 
  • Fire up. If you have a rotisserie, fire up the rotisserie burner to about medium heat. These infrared burners can be quite hot and the fat will brown too quickly if you run it on high. If you don’t have a rotisserie, set up your grill for 2-zone cooking, and get the indirect side up to 325°F.
  • Cook. Set the skewered meat in the rotisserie assembly and put the veggie pan underneath. If you don't have a rotisserie, put the porchetta on a grill grate, put the grate over the veggie pan, then put the whole thing on the indirect side of the grill. Close the lid. The veggies will simmer and steam as the fat, meat juices, and rub drip on them. When the water evaporates, they will begin to fry in the fats. Every 15 minutes or so, check the veggies and toss them so they don’t burn. When they are tender, remove the pan and pour the drippings into a jar: save the drippings for soup. Put the veggies back into the pan and keep them at room temp until the meat is done. When the meat hits 140°F in the center, it is done. If the exterior is not dark amber to golden brown and crispy, turn the rotisserie burner on high for a few minutes. Do this with the lid open, so you are not pushing too much heat to the center and overcooking the meat. If you don't have a rotisserie and the meat exterior needs further browning, take it off the veggie pan and place it over direct heat. Do this with the lid open, and watch for flareups. You might want to have a water pistol handy.
  • Meanwhile, prep the sandwich fixins. Make the quick pickled onions. Not traditional but worth the 30 minute effort. Toast the buns. 
  • Serve. Place the roast on a cutting board. Roll it around til you find the knots, then cut the string there and pull it off. The string can be hidden in there, so get it out. Slicing is tricky if you got a belly with skin on because the skin is so hard: you can cut off chunks of skin and then slice the meat. Load up each sandwich with some lean, some fatty, some crunchy, and if you peeled off some skin, some of that, too. Finally, top with some pickled onion. Divvy up the veggies and serve on the side.
  • Note: If you have leftovers, they are best reheated in the microwave. They also make great carnitas.