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* Porchetta *...Slow Roasted with Crispy Crackling Skin... and Pictures

So for a change from the usual straight Roast Pork Roasts I have been making of late….I thought I would liven things up and make something with more than just Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper…my basic stand by with Pork Shoulder Picnic, Boston Butt, Fresh Ham or Whole Loin. Whenever I get in a mood to play with roasting meats, it always coincides with what is on sale at my regular supermarket…..and this week Picnic Shoulders were on sale for only $1.04/lb., so I picked up a small (6) pounder with a nice outer skin that was not mangled when butchered...and decided to make Porchetta, the Italian inspired pork roast.

My plan was simple…to bone out the Picnic Shoulder, season with an Herb & Garlic Mixture/Paste, roast low and slow until it hit my target temperature, rest for two hours and finally crisp the skin. My recipe is loosely based on the recipe provided by Porchetta, NYC, which you can see by clicking on the link below.


My noticeable changes to the recipe were to roast at 225* instead of 250*…and not use any wine to baste. Instead of using fresh herbs, I had to settle for dried…and omit the sage, as I did not have any, and instead of fennel pollen, I substituted fennel seed.

Here are the Ingredients:

• Pork Shoulder, Boston Butt or Pork Belly
• Thyme
• Bay Leaves
• Fennel Seed
• Oregano
• Fresh Chopped Garlic
• Kosher Salt
• Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
• Olive Oil

Here were my steps:

• Pork Shoulder boned out, skin left on
• Pierce Pork Skin with a Knife, Awl, Ice Pick, Needle Tenderizer or Dental Instrument. Piercing/Tenderizing the Meat is Optional
• Pulse Chop all Dry Herbs and Fresh Garlic in a Food Processor
• Add Olive Oil to Herb Mixture to Form a Paste
• Spread Herb Mixture on the Meat
• Salt the Skin with Kosher Salt
• Marinate for Up to 24 Hours in Advance
• Remove Roast From Refrigerator Two Hours Prior to Roasting
• Tie the Roast Off Into a Cylindrical Shape
• Re Salt with More Kosher Salt
• Place Onto a Wire Rack or Grill Grate
• Roast @ 450* for 20-30 Minutes to Brown and Sear
• Drop Thermostat Setting to 225*
• Roast to 175*
• Hold Roast in Oven For Two Hours @ 140*
• Remove Roast and Preheat the Oven to 500*
• Return Roast to Oven and Begin Crisping the Pig Skin
• Rotate Roast Every Five Minutes To Check and Crisp Evenly For 20 Minutes Total Time


Prep time: 30 minutes

Roasting and Holding Time: 8 Hours and 20 Minutes.

The total roasting time, including both the browning phase and the slow roast took 6 hours time. I rested for two hours and finished with the Crisping Phase for 20 minutes

My plan was to prepare this Porchetta Roast for slicing and presented on a plate, so my target temperature was 170-175*. If you like to have a Pullable Porchetta Roast, then you should make your target temperature higher at 190* plus. In the end, this method produced a very enjoyable and good finished result for both tender pork and crisp, crackling skin…finally, the leftover sandwich is right up there with the Cubano or Philly Pork and Broccoli Rabe…

My next Porchetta Roast will be a Pork Belly wrapped around Pork Shoulder Meat. Until then…..

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  1. More pictures....sliced on the cutting board, on the plate and in a sandwich.

    1. Another of your patented Fabulous Reports, fourunder, and as valuable, informative, interesting and delicious as ever! I had a good lunch and am salivating like crazy at those pictures!!!

      1. Lovely - been wanting to make one of these myself... thanks for sharing.

        1. wow does that look good. I'm inspired.

          1. OMG I am dying over here. That looks amazing.

            1. Another attempt at Porchetta......although my first intention was to wrap a Pork Belly around a Loin Roast, I was unable to find a piece sufficiently large enough to do so.....Instead, I did the next best thing I could think of ....so I purchased a Pig Skin and wrapped it around the loin to try and get some Crispy skin. For the most part, I used the same preparations and roasting method as in my original post.....but this time I used Baking Soda to aid in soften the skin, followed by scalding the skin with boiling water. The skin was then wrapped and tied around the loin and lard was spread over the outer skin to aid in browning the roast for the first 30 minutes in the oven.

              If you look at the last three pictures, they represent the roast coming out of the oven when the roast hit 140* after approximately 2 hours in the oven @ 225*. You can see the skin is already partially *Crispy* and when I pricked the skin to release the fat, the skin cracked. At this point, I rested the roast inside the oven for 2 hours @ 140*. The *Carryover Effect* brought the roast up to 145*....after 2 hours, the roast temperature was 137*.

              Total Time 4.5-5 hours


              Prep time: 30 minutes

              Roasting : 2 Hours and 20 Minutes.

              Holding Time: 2 Hours

              5 Replies
              1. re: fourunder

                After the two hour rest, the roast was removed from the oven and the oven thermostat was increased to 500* for 10 minutes to preheat and begin the *Crisping* phase.. The roast was placed back into the oven for approximately 20 minutes total time, but after 5 minutes time intervals, the oven door was opened and the roast was rotated to promote even crisping.

                Points to note...

                * When tying the roast, rather than one inch spacing, three inches is probably enough.

                * Having a tied roast and after the crisping phase, the twine was difficult to remove. Next time, I would probably remove all the twine and then re-apply new twine at the center and at both ends to hold the pig skin in place. It would make for far easier removal and the skin would not break up at some points where it was too brittle and you could slice easier for presentation on the plate.

                * In place of tying the roast, I would consider sewing the skin on the bottom with a large needle and butchers twine.

                * You can see in the last picture, the crispy skin can actually be removed and peeled right off from the fat.

                Finally....my mission when I roast pork with skin is to try to duplicate the Chinese Style Roasted Pig, which I believe has the best combination of chewy and crispy skin....but unfortunately, it's a technique that I find very hard to master. In the three pictures with square piece of Roast Pork....it was piece of Chinese Roast Pig *Pork Belly*, I purchased in NYC Chinatown. You can see the skin is perfectly crisped. This is how I wished I could make almost every Pork Roast with skin, i.e., crispy texture, while still being tender without fear of cracking a tooth.....the exception being Roast Suckling Pig...which can be made crispy more easily without being too hard.

                1. re: fourunder

                  To achieve that rice crispy texture of Cantonese roast pork, you need to abrade the skin as well as pierce it. Use the tip of a sharp knife or a wire brush to scratch the surface of the skin.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Thanks for the tip, that's something I have not tried....nor even read about before.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Thanks again....this is the basic method I have been using to date....from Saveur.


              2. Looks fabulous! Where on earth did you find pig skin? I envy both east and west coasters!

                1 Reply
                1. re: thymetobake

                  Thank you......believe it or not at my local Shoprite Supermarket... @ $1.49/lb...or $1.64. I have to say, I normally do not look to purchase it, so I cannot say if I had ever seen it before...but while scouring the meat case i happened upon it. It looked like the perfect size for the Pork Loin Roast I had portioned out from a previous purchase which I had ultimately frozen.

                  Usually, Fat Back Skins are available for Braciole or Fried Pork Rinds (Chicharrón). This product is also available in Shoprite Supermarkets in my local area (Northern New Jersey)...see in the link below. I plan to try it as well to see how the skin fares in the final result. It's all skin, with barely any fat layer to speak of. It comes rolled like a sheet/roll of paper products, approximately 2 feet in length,5-6 inches wide.


                2. Here's my most recent roast with a picture tutorial included.

                  * 9 x 16 Pork Belly
                  * 9 inch, 3 pound Pork Loin sliced lengthwise in half
                  * Pork Belly abraded with a sharp knife (as per Melanie Wong)
                  * Pig Skin poked and needled
                  * Pigskin scaled with boiling water
                  * Seasoned with Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, Garlic and Herbs
                  * Wrapped, Rolled and Tied
                  * 450* for 30 minutes
                  * 225* for four hours
                  * Internal temperature 140*
                  * Rested for 2 hours
                  * Warm up phase for 30 minutes @ 250*
                  * High Heat blast (500*) rotating roast twice @ 5 minutes intervals


                  A very nice roast with hard crackling skin, moist meat, although the belly portion a bit chewy. To be critical of myself and rectify that, I think I would do the following next time:

                  1. Increase the roasting time to 5-6 hours
                  2. Roast to 150* before resting
                  3. Add using Baking Soda to ensure softer texture/crispy skin

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: fourunder

                    Gorgeous! And educational as always. That is a plate of food to envy, for sure!

                  2. Lovely, I pondered the Porketta sandwich at the local Italian deli but have never had it so went with a known favorite. Your post has motivated me to give it a shot.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      Thanks...for your first attempt for the Porchetta Sandwich, I would recommend using the Pork Shoulder/Fresh Ham....similar to the Philly Style with Provolone and Broccoli Rape....the only difference would be the Crackling Skin in the sandwich..one way or the other.

                    2. Here's the latest Pork Shoulder I made...no special treatment...not even salt or pepper added, but the method produced a very nice and crispy Crackling Outer Skin

                      * Shoulder weight approximately 7 pounds
                      * Boiled 5 quarts of water.
                      * Rinsed the Shoulder after taking out of packaging.
                      * Scalded the Pork Skin with the boiling water.
                      * Pierced the skin only with a Jaccard Tenderizer
                      * Placed the Roast on a V-Rack over a Roasting Pan
                      * Placed in a preheated 450* oven for 30 minutes
                      * Dropped the thermostat to 250* for another 8 hours

                      First picture is of the roast at the end of 8.5 hours.

                      Second & Third pictures are after 10 more minutes at 475* to crisp the skin a little further.

                      Very easy.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: fourunder

                        I want to move next door to you and be on your permanent guest list. Thanks for sharing, as always.

                        1. re: GretchenS

                          I'd rather have you move inside....:0)