Porchetta pronounced “Por’Ketta” is a famous Italian dish. It’s usually made of deboned whole pig that’s been stuffed with boneless pork loin and all the meat that was taken off the bones during the process. It’s usually season with a past made fresh herbs like Rosemary, Sage, Fennel, and garlic, EVOO…etc.
It’s then spit roasted over wood fire
And served whole at the table where it’s sliced
The home cook and some restaurants use pork belly and wrap it around boneless pork loin for convenient and smaller portion
It’s seasoned the same way between the layers
and wrapped around the loin
and then roasted on a spit
or smoked on the grill
And then sliced across at the table the same way
There is a famous food truck here in the U.S. that makes porchetta everyday and serves the slices in sandwiches
I have made Porchetta in the past with the traditional Pork Belly and loin; however, it’s always hard to get a large piece of pork belly and you have to order it in advance. So I decided to go with Pork baby back ribs and pork loin instead.
I could’ve bought pork rib roast; however, I wouldn’t have been able to put the herbs and the spices between the loin and the ribs. Also the loin have to be wrapped or protected all around, with rib roast, it’s only covered from one side. This is vital, since the loin is so lean and will dry out during long cooking if not protected.
So I started with the dry rub:
1.5 tsp granulated onion powder, 1 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp white pepper, seasoning 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp Italian dry herbs, 1 tsp lemon pepper, 1/2 tsp powder fennel, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1/2 tsp crushed red peppers, 3 tsp salt (or to taste), 2 tsp Mediterranean spices (substitute with 1 tsp Allspice & 1/4 tsp nutmeg).
Mixed them all up
For the fresh seasoning:
Rosemary, thyme, sage, zest and juice of 1 lemon, fennel fronds, and 4-5 crushed garlic
Processed all the herbs in a food processor with 1/4 cup of EVOO and the lemon juice. Added 1/2 tsp of salt for easy processing.
I removed the membrane from the rib racks and trimmed the loin so it can fit inside the ribs.
Applied the spice rub all around the loin and the inside of the ribs
Then applied the herb paste
Then placed strips of bacon all around the loin and inside the ribs. Bacon is pork belly after all
And covered the loin with both racks of ribs so it was totally contained inside and no part was exposed. Then tided it with butcher twine
I then seasoned the outside of the Porchetta, wrapped it and placed in the fridge overnight.
Placed a fire ring made for the 22.5 WSM in my 26er and arranged the coals according to the snake method.
I added a quarter of a chimney lit charcoal to the grill and the starting temp was around 275
Added the Porchetta on the grill after placing an oval drip pan underneath it, which fit perfectly on top of the ring
Made some Italian Salsa Verde to go on top of the meat once cooked. It’s mainly made of fresh parsley, EVOO, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice or vinegar. I decided to use lemon vinegar instead, since it combines both flavor of the lemon and the vinegar. I also added fresh thyme to the mix and some S&P
Rotate the Porchetta half way through the cooking
1 more hour to go
I wanted to make Broccoli Rabe to keep with the Italian thyme, but couldn’t find any. Broccoli Rabe is an Italian variety that has leaves similar to Kale and has a slight bitter flavor.
So I decided to use Kale leaves and regular Broccoli instead. I also sliced the fennel bulb from earlier preparation and some of the frond, onions, garlic, EVOO and crushed red peppers, S&P, and some white wine and lemon juice.
And the veggies were done
Pulled the Porchetta off when the loin internal temp reached 152 degrees. That was 5 hours total cooking time at an average temp of 250 degrees. And I only went half way through the charcoal snake
And the cooking is done
Sliced at the table after resting a while
The smoke ring is quite visible and specially on the small end pieces
Also made Italian style scalloped potatoes and drizzled some of the Salsa Verde over the meat prior to serving
The loin was quite juicy and tasty and the ribs were perfectly cooked. I really like all those flavors together; they were well matched. I think I like the Ribs Porchetta even better than the traditional way; however, I did miss the crackling skin. I think I’d do this again