Porchetta is the ultimate dinner party showstopper. It fills your house with the earthy smells of Italy and pulling out a big glistening piece of meat from the oven will make your guests salivate. Traditionally porchetta it is an Italian pork leg spit roasted in a fire pit. However, for my recipe I use a shoulder since it is more flavorful and tender and since most people don’t have access to a fire pit my porchetta is cooked in the oven. Like most Italian food, porchetta is very simple yet sinfully delicious. The fat cap of the shoulder melts into the meat making it fall off the bone. The moist interior of the shoulder is contrasted by crispy bark on the exterior. The pork shoulder is truly the star of the show here so I like to special order a mangalitsa pork shoulder. Mangalitsa pigs are small fatty pigs that have fur. Most pork in America is bland and flavorless, so with a recipe like porchetta it is worth the extra money to splurge on a high quality pork shoulder. Mangalitsa pigs are especially perfect for porchetta because they are fattier than normal pork which means more fat is going to melt into the meat itself making it succulent and flavorful.
- 1 Pork Shoulder 6-8 lbs ProTip: I like to use Mangalitsa pig, or another heritage pig like Berkshire, ordered special from a butcher (don’t ask them to trim it or take it off bone) since it has much more flavor
- 15 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons rosemary
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt Pepper
- Trim a little bit of unnecessary fat off from around the shoulder (leave the fat cap intact).
- Using a morter and pestle crush all ingredients into a paste.
- Puncture the fat cap and meat all over and using chopsticks push in the paste the shoulder. Spread remaining paste all over the meat and fat cap. Let sit an hour.
- Preheat oven to 300.
- Make incisions in the fat cap in a checkerboard pattern about an inch apart and almost all the way through the cap.
- Roast the shoulder in a snug roasting pan for 3 hours. Drain the drippings and set aside then roast shoulder until it is falling off the bone, about another 3 hours.
- When porchetta is done, deglaze pan with some water and the reserved pan drippings then serve warm with the porchetta.