A Guide to Roasting a Porchetta: The Ultimate Pork Sandwich

Here at EFB we are constantly reading and immersing ourselves in everything food.

This week we wanted to pay homage to a video we came across.  This guy makes the best Porchetta in the world, and he spares no expense in order to do so.

This pork sandwich is delicious. The days of wonder bread with Oscar Mayer ham, and French’s mustard are over!

The work involved in making this Porchetta is a little more complex than just slapping some tortured meat on your white bread, and calling it a day.

However, this labor of love is well worth it, and your friends will envy you for it.

Final porchetta roast
The Ultimate Pork Sandwich

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 5 hours

Yield: 12 Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 1 (10 lb. “skin on” pork belly)
  • 12 ciabatta rolls
  • 4 heads garlic
  • 1 lb butter
  • 1 box diamond kosher salt
  • brown sugar
  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  • 2 lemons
  • dijon mustard
  • 1 egg
  • 3 bunches parsley
  • 2 bunch mint
  • 2 bunch basil
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • Arugula
  • 1 jar mama lil’s peppers
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • tabasco hot sauce
  • Spices:
  • bay leaves
  • clove
  • fennel seed
  • chili flake
  • star anise
  • whole black peppercorns
  • fennel pollen
  • espelette pepper

Instructions

  1. Step 1: Brine the pork
  2. Step 2: Make the salsa verde
  3. Step 3:Make the garlic and lemon aioli
  4. Step 4: Clarify the butter
  5. Step 5: Roll and cook the porchetta
  6. Step 6: Toast the ciabatta and plate
http://epicfoodblog.com/a-guide-to-roasting-a-porchetta-the-ultimate-pork-sandwich/

Porchetta Guide Step 1: | Make The Brine

Ever wonder why that thanksgiving turkey is always dry?

It’s probably because you didn’t brine your bird.

Same goes for Porchetta.

A wet brine, is a solution of liquid, salt, and sugar.  Having the right percentage of salt and sugar along with the proper recipe, a brine will boost moisture, flavor, and season a roast perfectly.  There’s a ton of science involved here, but that’s a whole other topic for another day.

This brine is very easy to make and can be done the day before to save time.

Start by measuring all of the dry ingredients.

porchetta brine ingredients

Add all of the dry ingredients to a pot with the wine and water and bring to a boil.

porchetta brine

Once it comes to a boil add the garlic and the ice.

porchetta brine with garlic and ice

Once all of the ice is melted and you have a cool liquid, pour over the pork belly and brine for 3 hours.

porchetta and final brine

Note: Make sure the belly is fully submerged in brine.

pork belly submerged in brine

Pork Belly Brine:

3 cups water

3 cups white wine

2 ½ cups kosher salt

1 ½ cups brown sugar

1 head of garlic sliced in half

3 bay leaves

5 sprigs thyme

5 sprigs rosemary

2 ea. clove

1 tbs. fennel seed

¼ tsp. chili flake

3 ea. star anise

1 tbs. black peppercorns

10 cups ice

 Porchetta Guide Step 2: | Make The Salsa Verde

This is a classic condiment that goes extremely well with Porchetta.

Pick the mint and basil leaves.

mint and basil leaves

In a sauce pot, bring water to a boil and cook the mint and basil for 30 seconds then immediately add to an ice bath. Once cool, squeeze out as much water as possible.

blanched mint and basil

In a Vita Prep, blend the “raw” parsley leaves, blanched mint & basil, dijon mustard, anchovy, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil.

mint, basil, parsley, and extra virgin olive oil

salsa verde ingredients and vita prep

Make sure to use the plunger to fully incorporate the ingredients into a paste.

salsa verde

Salsa Verde Recipe:

2 cups mint leaves

2 cups basil leaves

2 qt. parsley leaves

2 tbsp. dijon mustard

1 ea. anchovy

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic

salt and pepper to taste

Porchetta Guide Step 3: | Make The Garlic and Lemon Aioli

The key to a good aioli is the balance of fat and acidity.  This recipe is delicious and will definitely keep the vampires away at night.

Cover the garlic with the olive oil and, on medium high heat, bring to a simmer.

garlic cloves and olive oil

simmering garlic in olive oil

Once the garlic comes to a simmer, drop the temperature to low heat, and slowly cook the garlic until golden brown.

Strain the garlic from the oil, and cool the oil to room temperature. While the oil is cooling measure out the rest of the ingredients.

garlic and lemon aioli

In a Vita Prep, on low speed, blend the lemon juice, dijon, egg yolk, and garlic until smooth.

With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the room temperature garlic oil.

drizzling room temperature garlic oil

Once emulsified, pour into a small bowl and add the lemon zest, chopped rosemary, and season with salt, pepper, and a few drops of tabasco.

garlic and lemon aioli

Garlic and Lemon Aioli Recipe:

20 cloves garlic

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 tbs. lemon juice

1 egg yolk

1 tbs. dijon mustard

2 tbs. chopped rosemary

2 lemons zested

¼ tsp tabasco

salt and pepper to taste

Porchetta Guide Step 4: | Clarify The Butter

We clarify the butter to get a nice golden brown and crunchy ciabatta roll.

This step is very quick and easy.

On low heat, melt 1 lb. of butter. As the moisture in the butter cooks off, the white solids will rise to the top.

Simply remove the white foam as it comes to the surface using a ladle.

melting butter

skimming the foam off

Once all the foam is skimmed off, strain and reserve for toasting the rolls.

straining the clarified butter

Note: You can easily substitute olive oil or the rendered fat from the pork belly.

Porchetta Guide Step 5: | Roll and Cook the Porchetta

Once the pork belly has brined, wipe off the spices with a cloth and move to a cutting board.

Pork bellies are never even in thickness, so in order to secure the perfect roast, you will need a uniform one.

Start by trimming the thick end of the belly without cutting through the skin. Simply pull the meat away from the skin while slicing horizontally.

This is the meat we are going to use to stuff and roll the belly.

trimming the thick end of the belly

There should be a flap of skin that will help with the rolling process.

Cut the meat into uniform pieces and season with fennel pollen, espelette pepper, and chopped rosemary. Make sure the sliced meat is laid flat on the “thin” side of the belly.

meat laid flat on thin side of belly

Roll the belly starting with the “thick” side first.

rolling the belly

Tie the belly with butchers twine to form a cylinder.

tying the bell

Using a paring knife or sharp skewer, pierce the skin all over so the fat can release underneath and you can achieve a crispy skin.

piercing the skin

Place on a sheet pan and roasting rack, and cook at 250°F for 3 hours. Then turn up the heat to 425°F for the last 30 minutes. At this point make sure to keep a close eye on your roast so it doesn’t get too dark.

final rolled porchetta

 

final cooked porchetta

 

Note: It’s important not to rinse the belly after it has brined.  Always wipe off the spices using a cloth.

Porchetta Guide Step 6: |Toast Ciabatta and Plate

Brush a liberal amount of clarified butter onto both sides of of the ciabatta roll and toast.

Spread the salsa verde onto one side of the roll, and the garlic aioli on to the other side.

Top one side with the pickled Hungarian peppers.

pickled Hungarian peppers

Top with arugula, and finish with the sliced Porchetta.

Note: Make sure to let the Porchetta rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

Conclusion:

If you want to throw the ultimate Superbowl party, or are just entertaining a group of friends, then this is the ultimate Porchetta recipe for you.

Here at EFB, we think it’s important to know when to have restraint with cooking.  This is a prime example of knowing when to let the main ingredient shine. In this case, it being the Porchetta.

Sometimes less is more, by letting these ingredients speak for themselves… and not over complicating things, you are left with a sandwich that is not to be trifled with.

If you follow these necessary steps, then you will achieve success and your friends will be drooling at your dinner table.

If you want more information on brines then read this article.

Written by Harold Mcgee, this guy literally wrote the book on the science of cooking, called On Food and Cooking.  This book will change your life and give you all of the answers to your cooking questions.

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Don’t forget to stop by next week when we go over how to craft an epic dessert that everyone will enjoy.