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Nov 16, 2006 07:12 AM

Giant Porcetta (pork roast). Help needed.

A few weeks ago on SABC 3 here in South Africa they showed Jamie Oliver cooking a giant pork roast in Amalfi Italy. It was a whole pork belly with the loin attached. I want to cook one for my offices end of the year brai (south african for BBQ).
I have a butcher who can organize me the pork, deboned and everything. She says it will be about 6 KGs.
My office has about 50 people. Keeping in mind this is not the only meat on offer, is 6 kgs enough for everyone to get a slice?

As for preparation, im going to make like Jamie and roll the thing up with some fennel (growing wild along the freeway right now) garlic, and whatever other herbs are in the garden, maybe some chili flakes, and then roast the thing in my oven with some white wine, the night before the brai, and then heat it up over the fire till its warmed through and crispy on the outside ( I plan on having the butcher remove the rind for me. maybe serve fried pork rinds on the side as a snack)

Any suggestions or comments on my plan/recipe, as it will be my first try at this?

Also will a six KG pork roll fit inside a conventional oven?
maybe i need to have it cut in half.

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  1. Greetings from an ex-pat! I still have family in SA and fond memories of Christmas dinners in the blazing summers.

    If your 6kg roast is mostly meat, it should be enough to give everyone at least one, possibly 2 slices. But pork belly tends to be very fatty. A fair amount of the fat renders off during cooking so I'm not sure how much meat your roast will yield. Can your butcher help you with this?

    The roast should fit into a standard oven easily. I can get a turkey twice that weight into mine. You shouldn't have to cut up the meat at all.

    1. I've made Italian porchetta by grinding fennel seeds, a lot of black pepper, kosher salt and some dried red pepper flakes in a coffee grinder. I smear it on liberally giving the outside a great spicy crust. The fennel especially does something magic to the taste I think. Using the fresh version on the inside and rolling it all up should be wonderful too.

      1. I would really love some input from anyone who has some expierience roasting a giant pork roast such as the six kg one I intend to tackle for my end of the year staff party.As I said I just saw this preparation on TV and am just going with what I imagine is the proper method.

        Is the idea to roll the leaner loin inside the fatty belly so that it keeps the loin moist?

        How much braising liquid etc should i use?

        covered or uncovered?

        what temp?

        How long do people think this beast of a roast will take in the oven?

        Is my plan of reheating it on the barbecue the next day a good one? (maybe ill cover it with foil and throw on some hickory chips)

        1. The Zuni Cafe cookbook by Judy Rodgers has a stellar porchetta recipe that was written about quite alot here last year. You open up the roast along the muscle fibers and pack it with the fennel/sage/lemon etc and let it sit in the fridge a couple of days.
          It is a spectacular recipe, and really easy once you do the initial prep.

          here's a couple links

          1. I have never done a 6 kg porchetta but I have done smaller ones (say up to 3 kg) based on a Nigella Lawson recipe and have a couple of observations.

            I saw that Jamie Oliver episode and honestly can't remember if he used wine or not, but there was no wine in my smaller version. Although I know some recipes (such as Zuni)call for wine or stock, I am unsure why you would braise it -- I always think of it as being a genuine slow roast. Given the amount of fat in the pig, especially if you keep the skin, it will be tender without braising.

            Which brings me to the skin. I can't recall if my recipe called for skin or not, but I left it on. Are you meaning to have your butcher take it all off? Because if you are, I think that's a great loss: it will help keep the meat moist during cooking and at the end you will have lovely, crisp, and flavourful cracklings along with moist and flavourful meat. If that's what you're looking for, I'm a bit afraid that your braising and reheating on the Q with foil idea might compromise that.

            As for 6 kg of pig fitting in the oven, I guess it depends on the cut. It could potentially be more awkward a shape than a big old turkey. I have fit an entire pig's leg (Smithfield ham) in my oven, though; it was about 6 kg.

            How long will you have access to the barbeque? It's not impossible for you to do the whole thing on the grill provided you have a whack of time and a whack of charcoal. But then the roast is an event in and of itself.

            Just some thoughts. Hope they are helpful.