Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sorta Porchetta

One of my all-time favorite street foods in San Francisco is Roli Roti’s famous porchetta sandwich, served at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. For those of you not familiar with the perfection that is the porchetta, it's a loin, and possibly other cuts of heavily seasoned pig parts, wrapped inside a pork belly, which is then roasted until the inside is tender, and the outside is crispy and crackling. It’s then sliced and served on a crusty roll with salsa verde.

It’s insanely good, and something I've always wanted to try doing at home. Of course, a real porchetta feeds like 20 people, so I wanted a version that would be better suited for a smaller group. 

I decided to try using a small pork shoulder roast. The plan was to mimic the same flavors, but cook it more like pork loin, instead of the usual fork tender, falling apart state we associate with this cut. Pulled pork was not what I was after here.

It worked wonderfully, although you do need to slice it nice and thin. We’re only cooking this to 145 F. which is not high enough a temperature to break down all that connective tissue. All in all, I thought it was a very successful experiment, especially when you consider how much we scaled this down. 

What it didn’t feature however, was that crispy skin, also known as “the best part.” I wish I’d thought of it before I finished the video, but what I should have done was fried up some diced pancetta (un-smoked Italian bacon) until it was perfectly crispy, and topped the sandwich with that! That would have put this already fine faux-porchetta over the top! I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 very large portions:
2 1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder roast, butterflied open, and slashes made all over the connective tissues
olive oil as needed
1 tbsp kosher salt (2 tsp for inside, and 1 for out)
1 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp chopped sage leaves
2 tbsp chopped rosemary
6 cloves minced garlic
zest from a large orange
2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
- Stuff, tie, salt, and refrigerate uncovered for 24 hours
- Roast at 450 F. for 15 minutes
- Reduce heat to 250 F. and roast another hour, or until an internal temp of 145 F.

For the vinegar sauce:
1/2 anchovy fillet
1 tsp hot chili flakes or to taste
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup freshly chopped Italian parsley

Bonus How to Butterfly Meat for Rolling Video! 



Food Junkie said...

What a great sounding sandwich Chef. As an alternate way of cooking I am thinking a pan sear and then into the smoker with some applewood or pecan at maybe 180 or 190 for the old low and slow. Can you see any reason why that might not be a suitable way to cook it? It deviates still further from the original but smoke goes well with pork.

Dustin said...

Looks AMAZING Chef John. Why not an hour at 250 and then 15 mins at 450??

Dustin said...

Looks amazing Chef John! Why not an hour at 250 followed by 15 mins at 450?

Roberto said...

Actually "real porchetta" isn't covered with pork belly; it IS pork belly. Here in Italy porchetta nearly always means an entire young pig, de-boned, stuffed, trussed, and roasted complete with head and feet. Your version appears to have captured the flavors in a small package even though it might lack the "wow factor" (or "yuck factor", depending on your point of view) of the whole pig. Plus, it doesn't take three weeks to eat. ;)

Lish & Matt said...

Oh man THAT'S what I lined up for for 15 minutes in San Francisco Farmers Market. It was Oh so good!! I'm going to add this to my list to make
Greetings from Scotland Chef! Have a lovely day.
Peace x

K.Johnson said...

Looks like a tailgater's dream.
Thinking grill/smoker. Same size loin stuffed and wrapped with bacon; same times and temps?

Thanks for the years of dedication to helping me set a better table.

Unknown said...

Man, this one looks good.

Chef John said...

KJ, not sure! Give it a try. Should be close.

Chef John said...

Dustin, because we don't know the exact cooking time, so too hard to time the high temp at the end.

Rivermute said...

Chef John will you please adopt me??

This looks fantastic! Thank you for all of your hard work and enthusiasm. The techniques from your videos have definitely made me a better cook!

Kevin said...

How about wrapping the whole thing in bacon to get the crispiness?

Unknown said...

Do you do public appearances of any kind regularly? Just wondering where I could try your food in person on my next trip to SF. Big fan of the blog and videos. I'm not a crazy stalker weirdo, just an enjoyer of food and people's personalities.

Chef John said...

Sorry, no public appearances. Thanks!

Unknown said...

In the previous blog post there was a picture of the 'porchetta impostore'.. where is that picture from?

S/V Blondie-Dog said...

Hi Chef, I'll have 'ya know that my finicky lady-friend is fond of making Porchetta. Invariably I'll get summoned to the kitchen to watch and learn whether I want to or not. She'll then proceed to explain the meat slicing technique, the creepy stomach lining, and finally the trussing.

Incidentally she got a few giggles listening to your narrative. I think she's starting to like you! Thanks! You're 'da best!

Chef John said...

That's the same porchetta as in the video!

Unknown said...

Chef John, this turned out amazing, just like you said it would! Great tips on the flavor combinations - arugala on top was great, and the spices in the roll were spot on.

I ended up using the pickling juice from a bottle of giardiniera for a bit of a different flavor in the vinagrette, and I also deglazed the pan juices with white wine and stock because why not?

A solid 10/10. Thanks Chef John!

Unknown said...

Chef John, this might be the most amazing pork shoulder recipe i have ever made/stolen!

I have a question - If i get a pork shoulder with fat around the "outside" should i remove it or could i just score it and rub in some salt and pepper? And, Do you recommend cooking it longer or less?

This is my first time making a recipe from your blog and I imagine i'll be back again soon!

Chef John said...

you can keep some of the fat on, but dont want too much. Maybe a 1/2 in. You can always cut it off later! Cant give time, but go by temp! thanks!

Andy and Jen's Little Kitchen said...

Chef, I've been following since 2008. I just made a breakfast sandwich out of this and it was fantastic. The only thing I tweaked from the original recipe was I added some homemade red wine salt (not sure if it made a difference or not). Your recipes always turn out great--thanks so much for sharing them!

Anonymous said...

Crispy, fried pancetta, what a great way to finish that sandwich. Triple ditto's on the Yum.

Di said...

Second time making this and it is awesome.
So nice to have other things to do with a pork shoulder roast besides pulled pork.
If you haven't made this people, do yourself a favor and MAKE IT.

Unknown said...

We made it yesterday for a get-together of 30 people where everyone brought something. I am proud to announce to the blog and to you personally CJ, that it was crowned king.

I salute you, a splendid year to you and your family.