Porchetta, originating from central Italy, is a rolled and stuffed pork joint. Regional variations on the dish exist with the stuffing varying from herbs through to chopped entrails and garlic. It’s regarded as a celebratory dish.
This version steps slightly away from the traditional recipes and adds fruit and pine nuts to the traditional herbs. It’s then cooked on the Big Green Egg to achieve a succulent mouth watering and visually stunning dish.
The pork belly needs to be top quality and the skin dry. Ask your butcher to score the skin lengthways along the joint so that when it’s rolled the cuts allow slices of the porchetta to be cut easily. Avoid pre packed pork as you’ll find it almost impossible to get the skin to crackle as it will be too moist.
- 2kg pork belly with the ribs removed, scored down the joint’s skin
- 100g raisins
- 100g dried apricots
- 75g pine nuts
- 5-10 sage leaves, chopped coarsely
- 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley chopped coarsely
- 200g spiced sausage meat or 4 sausages with the skins removed
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped coarsely
- Olive oil
- Maldon salt
- 1 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
- Unpack your pork belly and if possible leave uncovered in your fridge overnight, skin side up to dry a little.
- Place your pork belly skin side down onto a chopping board.
- Place your sausage meat all the way down the long side of your joint.
- Sprinkle on the raisins, apricots, pine nuts, sage, parsley, black pepper and garlic making sure they cover the full width of the belly.
- Roll your pork belly, normally the edges will meet when you roll it tightly.
- Tie your rolled pork belly firmly, any knot will do as long as it is kept tightly rolled, even a granny knot works. You might want to get some help just to hold the porchetta nice and tight.
- Light your Big Green Egg and get it to a cooking temperature of 250C in an indirect setup (plate setter in with the feet up and the stainless steel grid on top).
- Place your porchetta onto a V-Rack in a drip pan. Fill the drip pan with 750ml of water, keeping the level below that of the meat.
- Rub the skin of the porchetta with a generous amount of olive oil and then with a lots of Maldon sea salt. This will help it form great crackling.
- Place into your Big Green Egg remembering to burp it. This initial hot blast at 250C will help crackle the skin.
- After 15 minutes of cooking adjust the vents to lower the temperature to around 180C.
- Cook your porchetta for a further 4 hours checking every hour or so whether the water in the drip pan needs adding to, just don’t let it boil dry.
- When your porchetta is golden take off and rest for a minimum of 30 minutes covered in foil.
- Mix a tablespoon or two of cornflour with water to form a paste before adding to the juices in the drip pan. Add some white wine if you like and some liquid vegetable stock. This will make a fantastic gravy. Heat the pan over a hob to cook and thicken.
Slice the porchetta into 1.5cm thick slices making sure you remove all the string you used to tie up the joint.
Porchetta is also beautiful served in a crusty roll or some ciabatta. A little pesto gives it a real lift or some salsa verde. Add a little rocket and a drizzle of olive oil. Heaven in a bun.
Feel free to experiment with different combinations of herbs and fruit to stuff your porchetta.