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Pork Belly Porchetta (with crispy skin!)
Cooked over open coal rotisserie until the skin turns golden and crispy, this recipe for pork belly porchetta remains lusciously tender on the inside.
Presumably, if you are on this website, you are already aware of the magnificence of bacon. You may also be familiar with the extreme degree of deliciousness that comes with pork rinds. What remains confusing to me, is why we don’t see the two combined on a more frequent basis in this country.
Bacon (here’s a handy guide on how to make your own) is simply cured pork belly. Though the rind or skin does not fare well during the curing process, and is most often removed. In fact, nearly all pork belly at American grocery stores comes skin-off. And I’m on a mission to change that!
Treated right with appropriate preparation and heat application, pork skin puffs up into a magical crusty bark of salt, porky goodness. And so I urge you to find yourselves a piece of pork belly with the skin intact. You can do this by asking your friendly local butcher or meat market, or try a local Asian market and their meat counter.
Traditional Italian porchetta consists of the belly, which is then wrapped around a section of pork loin. Strong aromatics like garlic, orange zest and fresh herbs are smeared between the layers. Most often, the secret ingredient is fennel pollen, though this can be hard to track down and is easily substituted with regular ground toasted fennel seeds.
Though you can create this masterpiece in a hot oven (then continuing the cook on a more moderate heat), I created this mindblowing crispy exterior by using my Kamado Joe ‘JoeTisserie’ rotisserie attachment. It’s a little precarious, since you do have to watch for flare ups from fat dripping onto the coals, but the end result is a rendered and tender meaty bite, with a crunchy shell. And I think we can all get on board that flavor train.
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Pork Belly Porchetta (with crispy skin!)
- one whole pork belly, skin on (approx 10lb)
- 2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped sage
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped oregano
- zest of 2 oranges
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled & minced
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Place the peppercorns and fennels seeds in a dry frying pan, and toast over medium heat until fragrant. Pour into a spice grinder and blend until smooth.
- Place the pork belly onto a large board, skin side up. Use a very sharp knife to score the skin. You can either run lines straight up and down, or in a diamond grid pattern - either way, it achieves the same result, with different looks.
- Flip the belly over so it's meat side up. Season liberally with salt, then smear the minced garlic across the surface of the meat. Season with pepper, fennel and orange zest, then sprinkle the herbs across the meat.
- Pull the sides of the belly together to form a roll. Secure with butchers twine every inch or so until your roll is fully formed.
- Place a rack over a tray, then place the belly roll seam side down the rack. Leave uncovered and place in fridge overnight or at least 10 hours to dry out the skin.
- Heat a grill or rotisserie to 300f.
- Once the grill is at correct temperature, secure the pork roll to the rotisserie stick using forks, and place over the coals to rotate. You are simultaneously looking to cook to an internal temp of 145-150, and have the skin puff up into crackling. This will take about two hours. Make sure the edges of the belly are over the coals, otherwise they will not receive enough heat and will not puff properly.
- If you are at the correct internal temperature but the skin isn't quite crisp enough, leave the lid open and stoke the coals beneath the skin to promote a hot heat to finish it off.
- Rest the pork belly for at least 15 minutes prior to serving, then carve into individual portions.
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