Serves 12-15

  • 1 garlic head
  • 1 tsp. plus 1½ Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ¼ cup (1½ ounces) plus
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt, preferably Diamond Crystal brand, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. rosemary leaves, very finely minced
  • 1½ tsp. fennel pollen or ground fennel seed
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground Espelette pepper or hot paprika
  • ¼ tsp. ground allspice
  • 10 pounds trimmed pork middle section (half of 1 side, skin-on pork belly with loin attached, rib and spine removed)
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil Meyer Lemon Sauce, for serving (see recipe below)

Active time: 1½ hours
Total time: 2 days

At least 1 day prior to serving, prepare spice paste: Preheat oven to 350. Cut top off garlic head to expose cloves inside. Drizzle with 1 tsp. olive oil and wrap tightly in foil. Bake until soft and fragrant, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool. Squeeze cloves from skins. Place roasted garlic in a small bowl and mash with a fork. Gradually mix in 1½ Tbsp. olive oil. Add ¼ cup salt, rosemary, fennel pollen, black pepper, Espelette pepper, and ground allspice and mix well to form a paste. Set aside.

Place pork on a cutting board skin side down with the belly portion closer to you and the loin farther away. Using a sharp knife, score belly section with a 1"-wide crosshatch pattern about ¼" deep. Trim length of belly so that when loin is rolled into it, there is only about 1" overlap. (Reserve remaining belly meat for another use.) Rub spice paste into the belly and loin meat, making sure to work it into all the crevices.

Roll loin into belly, then orient the roll longitudinally with seam side down. Use cotton butcher's twine to truss roast. Begin by tying a fairly tight loop around the center of the section and securing it with a slip knot. Tie loops working from the center out at 1" intervals until you reach the ends. The roast should be evenly cylindrical and tight. Using the tip of a paring knife, perforate the skin all over at ½" intervals, taking care to go through only skin and fat, not the meat.

Rub skin with remaining 1 Tbsp. salt and work it in as much as you can. Place roast on a rimmed baking sheet and set it in the area of the refrigerator with as much airflow as possible for 24 to 48 hours. The goal is to draw out moisture from the skin. The salt will initially make the skin wet and that is okay.

On the day you plan on serving the porchetta, remove roast from refrigerator and allow it to rest at room temperature uncovered for 2 hours. Preheat a convection oven (preferable) to 325 or a conventional oven to 350. Brush skin with canola oil and set it on a rack in a roasting pan so that air can circulate around pork. Roast until an instant-read thermometer set in thickest part of roast reaches 150, about 3½ to 4 hours. Remove pork from oven and increase heat to 500. Return pork to oven and roast until skin crisps and blisters slightly, about 10 minutes. Watch carefully, as fat will pop and crackle. You also may need to turn pork over to get even blistering of the skin. Remove pork from the oven and allow it to rest for 45 minutes to an hour before slicing.

Remove and discard twine. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut ends from porchetta. (The ends will be slightly drier and will be perfect sliced thinly for sandwiches the next day.) Cut porchetta into ⅝"-thick slices. Serve with Meyer Lemon Sauce on the side.

Meyer Lemon Sauce Recipe
  • 4 Meyer lemons
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup wildflower honey
  • ½ tsp. Espelette pepper or hot paprika

Active time: 45 minutes.
Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes.

Cut ends from lemons and stand them up like barrels. Use a sharp knife to cut skin and pith away from flesh. Dice skin into ¼" pieces; you should have about 1½ cups. Set aside. Squeeze juice from flesh and strain. You will need only ½ cup juice. (Save remaining juice for another use.)

In a small saucepan, place diced skin and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Strain skins through a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold water for a few seconds, then drain. Repeat boiling and rinsing process 3 more times. Return skins to pot and add 2 cups water, sugar, honey, and Espelette pepper. Bring pot to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook until skins become translucent and tender and liquid is reduced to about 2 cups, about 25 minutes. Take care not to let the pot scorch.

Add reserved ½ cup lemon juice and cook for 5 minutes more. Allow to cool to room temperature and thicken. The sauce can be prepared 2 days in advance and will last a week or more refrigerated. Makes 2 cups.


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