You've all seen it. A Youtube video or TikTok of some guy cooking up some sort of pork belly concoction that makes you mouth water instantly. Seasonings and spices, low-and-slow cooking followed by a quick blast at high heat, and an end result that is equivalent to pork cracklin' with super crunchy puffed-up pork skin.
I wanted to recreate this, not only for my own selfish reasons, but as something that Pork Shoppe customers can pick up here and cook easily at home with only an oven and a few hours. Here is our recipe and process for Porchetta
1 whole boneless skin-on pork belly - 20-25 lbs
3 tablespoons black peppercorns
4 tablespoons whole fennel seeds
1 tablespoon chili flakes
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
2 heads Ontario garlic ~18 cloves
First, we start with a whole skin-on pork belly. Generally the pork bellies we receive weigh in the 20-25lb range however you can scale down your recipe for a smaller piece of belly. Skin-on is very important for that crackly crunchy exterior!
Next, make a series of diagonal cuts about 1.5 to 2 inches apart into the flesh side of the belly, making sure not to cut all the way through as you don't want to puncture the skin. Then, make another row of cuts perpendicular to the first row.
At the same time you want to toast your peppercorns, herbs, chili flakes and fennel seed in a pan until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Then grind your spices in a spice grinder until they've turned to powder. Then peel and mince all your garlic.
Rub the flesh-side of your belly generously with kosher salt, then with the spice blend you just made and the garlic. Make sure to rub everything into all the nooks and crannies of the cuts you made in order to disperse that seasoning as evenly as you can throughout the entire piece of meat.
Then your belly gets rolled up into a cylinder and tied. Most pork bellies should have a government inspection stamp on them; not to worry as this ink is food-grade and safe to consume.
At this point you want to rub the skin side of your roast with kosher salt and baking powder. The baking powder helps form that delicious crunchy skin once the belly has cooked.
After this we normally cut our roast into portions to be sold at retail. And of course, the best part is the end piece that doesn't always quite cut right so we get to eat it for lunch.
After portioning and vacuum sealing, we prefer to leave these roasts in the refrigerator overnight for the seasoning to fully disperse throughout the roast. Then we freeze them and put them in our freezers for sale.
For cooking instructions we recommend cooking your roast on a raised rack in a roasting pan so that the roast does not sit in all the fat that will inevitably render off of it. You can even put potatoes or root veggies in the roasting pan underneath the roast for a delicious side dish.
Roast or bake your Porchetta at 300 Fahrenheit for 2-3 hours until it reaches an internal temperature of 165F. Then crank your oven up to 500F and watch as the skin on your roast begins to puff, and cook for 5-15 minutes depending on your results. You will get better results in a convection oven for this final step, however if your oven does not convect you can use the broil function. If using broil you will need to keep a closer eye on your roast and be careful not to burn it. You may also have less skin puffing up towards the bottom side of your roast.
It is very common for Porchetta to be eaten on bread with a slice of cheese in Italy. It is a pretty heavily seasoned and fatty cut of meat, so something like bread helps soak up all the fat and reduce the saltiness. However, Porchetta can certainly be the centerpiece of a meal as well!
We sell Porchetta roasts at the Pork Shoppe in roughly 2-6lb portions, however if you would like to special order one of a specific weight we are always happy to help!