Roasted Porchetta

Total Time:
51 hr 30 min
Prep:
45 min
Inactive:
48 hr 30 min
Cook:
2 hr 15 min

Yield:
10 to 12 servings
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • For the brine and pork:
  • 40 cloves garlic (3 to 4 heads), lightly smashed
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 6 tablespoons dried juniper berries
  • 3 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 7 -to-8-pound pork belly
  • For the rub:
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried juniper berries
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
Directions
  • Make the brine. Fill a large pot with 1 gallon water. Add the garlic, fennel seeds, juniper berries, peppercorns and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, whisk in the salt and brown sugar and let cool to room temperature.

  • Brine the pork. Put the pork belly in a large roasting pan and pour the brine over it. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours.

  • Make the rub. Toast the fennel seeds, juniper berries and peppercorns in a medium skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Pulse a few times in a spice grinder until coarsely ground. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the nutmeg, thyme and garlic.

  • Spice the pork. Remove the pork belly from the brine and pat it dry. Spread the rub on the flesh side of the pork belly, using just what adheres; you may have some rub left over. Put the pork belly skin-side up on a large rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, 24 hours to dry it out.

  • Roll the pork. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. (If you have a convection setting, use it; preheat to 450 degrees F.) Flip the pork belly so it's skin-side down. Starting at a long side, roll into a cylinder.

  • Secure the roll with kitchen string: Tie separate pieces of string around the roll, about 3/4 inch apart.

  • Prick the pork all over with a skewer; this helps render the fat so the skin gets crisp.

  • Roast the pork. Put the pork belly on a rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Tuck 4 upside-down spoons around the pork to keep it from rolling around. Roast 30 minutes, using a baster to baste the pork with the drippings and rotating the pan every 10 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees F (325 degrees F for convection) and continue roasting, rotating the pan every 15 minutes, until the pork registers 155 degrees F on a thermometer, about 1 1/2 more hours.

  • Slice the pork. Let the pork rest 30 to 40 minutes, then cut off the string and slice about 3/4 inch thick.

  • Photograph by Christopher Testani


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