Rosemary, garlic, and fennel all rubbed over a boneless pork shoulder and roasted until it’s meltingly tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. Hungry yet? Pork porchetta is Italian street food which is fit for a holiday table! Not only is it impressive to look at, but it’s simple to make, and it won’t break the bank.
Christmas preparations and holiday parties are in full swing here at BitofBacon HQ! To the point where I’ve barely been able to sit down in days. There’s more to do, but I finally think I have a handle on things and maybe I’ll be able to relax a bit this weekend and enjoy all the freshly fallen snow.
Yep. We have snow! Just a few inches and it’s warming up so I don’t know how long it’ll last, but it certainly looks Christmasy out there. Maybe we’ll start a fire today and have some hot chocolate. Sounds like a plan.
But first I need to tell you about this awesome pork porchetta.
Because it’s awesome! And easy to make! And such an excellent roast for company! Or a simple, family Sunday dinner!
The only difficult parts of making pork porchetta are:
Remembering to rub the meat with herb rub the day before.
And tying the roast! Or maybe that’s just me. I’m left handed and sometimes it can be tough for me to translate right handed instructions to my hands. 🙂 However, I have a great, quick tutorial I found on the NY Times website. Very helpful for those who don’t tie roasts often or need a visual.
With any luck I’ve sold you on trying pork porchetta, but maybe you’re asking ‘what is pork porchetta?’
Pork porchetta is traditionally a whole, roast pig which has been deboned and rubbed with herbs and garlic, then slow roasted. It’s typically sliced and served as sandwiches and snacks. A good way to put it is slow-cooked Italian fast food.
However, whole deboned pigs are rather hard to find in the supermarket and most of us don’t have ovens which can deal with one. Therefore, pork loins, pork bellies, and pork shoulders make a great stand-in for the whole pig, and don’t make so much meat that you have to go into business selling sandwiches. I personally love using pork shoulder, since it has plenty of fat to keep the meat flavorful and is generally available when I want to make a roast.
One thing I didn’t do, though, is keep the skin on. Unfortunately, nothing I did could make the skin crispy and yummy, so it was better to trim it off let the fat layer get all crispy instead. I’ll try pork skin again in the future and see if I can figure it out! In the meantime, I’ll be eating this tasty pork roast with its tasty fat cap and not missing the skin at all.
One more thing – Apricot Bread Stuffing. It is the perfect stuffing for roast pork and really amazing with porchetta!
And now I’m off to finish up some Christmas cookies (making, not eating – not until tomorrow!), wrap a few gifts, and maybe watch a little tv (I’m so behind on Elementary!) this evening. Tune in next week for a quick dip and a great Christmas morning breakfast idea!
– Happy Roasting, Annemarie
Boneless pork shoulder rubbed with herbs and garlic, then rolled and roasted makes a simple, rich, and intensely flavored pork porchetta.
- 5-6 lb boneless pork shoulder fat trimmed to 1/4 inch
- 4 tbsp fresh rosemary
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme
- 6 cloves garlic
- zest of one lemon
- 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Open up the pork shoulder, fat side down. If the pork lays flat like an open book, proceed to the next step. If not, cut the pork out from the middle (where the bone was cut out) to either side of the roast. Make the cuts parallel to the counter and about half way through the thickness and stop a couple of inches from the edge of the roast.
Once the roast is prepared, puree all the seasoning paste ingredients in a food processor until finely chopped, or chop them together by hand. Rub the meat side of the roast with half of the seasoning paste. Then roll up the roast so the fat side is out and tie it with butcher's twine. Lay the roast on a plate or in your roasting pan and then rub the rest of the paste on the outside of the roast. Let the roast sit, covered, overnight in the refrigerator.
One hour before roasting, take the pork out of the refrigerator and let it warm to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 300F.
Put the roast in the oven and roast for 3 hours at 300F. Then increase the temperature to 450F and continue roasting for 30 minutes, or until the outside of the roast is browned and crispy.
Transfer the roast to a cutting board and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing.
I have not had any luck with skin-on pork shoulders. When roasted, my skin ends up very tough and hard and impossible to eat, so I cut it off. If you know how to cook pork skin, leave it on, since the roast is very impressive with the skin on. If using the skin, score the skin at 1 inch intervals in a crisscross pattern.
You can make pork porchetta without butterflying the pork (or even using a boneless roast - though the cooking times will be longer for bone-in roasts). However, I like the seasoning swirled all the way through.
Not sure how to tie a roast? Here's a tutorial.
Apricot Bread Stuffing makes a great side for the pork roast.