Want to spice up your repertoire of roasts for Sunday dinner or even holiday dinners? Then this Simplified Stuffed Porchetta Roast fits the bill. An Italian pork roast of a pork loin wrapped in pork belly and rubbed with savory herbs and spices and a crispy skin is a succulent alternative to other roasts. For serving suggestions and ideas for leftovers, keep reading on!
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A few years ago, I was assigned to help with a holiday party at a swanky house in the nice part of town. The house happened to be owned by the CEO of a tire company. As I was helping with setting up the buffet and then later serving, I asked my chef what was the roast that we were serving to the guests. He told me that it was called “porchetta” and basically was a pork lovers dream. Tasting his roast, I could see why!
What is Porchetta
Porchetta (pronounced pohr-KAYT-tah) is an Italian pork roast, to put it simply. Traditionally, porchetta was made from a whole suckling pig and roasted over an open fire. They would debone the pig, rub the meat with lots of delicious seasonings, roll it and then roast. Needless to say, this is an efficient (and delicious) way to serve a lot of people.
However, nobody has room enough in their fridge to fit a whole suckling pig so I thought I would show you a much simpler version of this roast without sacrificing flavor.
What Cuts Are Used For Porchetta Roast
When thinking about how to simplify this roast without sacrificing flavor and keeping the meat moist, I thought that the best way was to create a stuffed roast. Traditionally, when using a whole pig, the entire roast is basically wrapped with pork belly (that’s the same cut that bacon comes from).
Pork belly was an essential component of this porchetta roast for me because pork belly is high in fat. Fat equals moistness. This means that the whole roast would be super tender and succulent (check out this awesome pork belly recipe to see what I mean). However, I didn’t want the whole roast to be just pork belly.
I was at my local store and I saw that they were having a sale on half pork loins. This was absolutely perfect for what I wanted. Pork loins are pretty lean but they still have a great amount of flavor. The pork belly would help baste the loin with all of its delicious fat. Perfection.
How to Prepare the Porchetta Roast
I’m a huge believer in treating food with love long before cooking it. I also believe that brining is the key to any moist roast (check out my tips on how to roast a perfectly moist turkey breast for example). I wanted my brine to have lots of flavors since the pork was going to sit in it for a while. Here’s what I used:
- Brown sugar
- Pink Himalayan salt (affiliate)
- Black peppercorns
- Star anise
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Whole cloves
- Fresh thyme
- Fresh sage
- Fresh Rosemary
- Bay leaves
- Fennel seeds
I wanted to use similar seasonings to what was going to be in my herb rub to really help compliment the roast.
I brined both of the pork belly and loin for about 4 days (not on purpose but that’s just how it played out), but it’s definitely ready to go after 24 hours of brining.
In order to get a super nice crust from the pork belly, and to ensure that the herb rub stays on, you need to pat the pork dry! This removes the outer moister and will help the fat crisp up in the oven.
As far as seasonings go, I tried to stay with the authentic seasonings:
- Black pepper
- Fennel (I opted for seeds rather than the fronds)
- Fresh rosemary
- Fresh Thyme
- Olive oil
I scored the fat of the pork belly to make sure that my rub got in nice and deep to also flavor the meat. A nice massaging of the rub into both sides of the belly helps the porchetta roast turn out perfect.
How to Tie Porchetta Roast
Since this is a stuffed roast, it’s a given that the porchetta needs to be tied up. This is a lot simpler than you might think. After rubbing the pork belly with the rub, I trimmed the loin just a bit to fit better within the pork belly.
The pork belly is going to shrink quite a bit during cooking and I didn’t want too much of the cooked loin hanging loose.
I strongly recommend having two people tie this roast. I’m a small woman with not the strongest grip so my awesome husband helped me with that. You can also choose to truss (tie) your roast as I do with my Leg of Lamb roast. All you need to make sure is that your belly meets together across the loin and that the ties are taut, keeping a tight roast as it cooks!
I made about 4 ties to make sure everything was where it should be.
How to Make Stuffed Porchetta Roast Crispy
The sure-fire way to ruin this roast is to have a soggy top! Yuck. I’m going to show you my easy way of making sure that your porchetta roast has a crisp outer layer!
First thing is first. With a 6+ pound roast, it’s crucial that you slow roast it. I roasted this stuffed porchetta roast at 325F for about 3 hours and it was perfect!
I love roasting it on this rack. The rack is non-stick which makes it super ideal for cleanup. It also hangs perfectly over the pan with plenty of room in there to go in with a turkey baster and baste for days! This also allows for keeping the roast nice and moist.
To keep yourself from serving raw or even overcooked meat, I strongly recommend you getting a meat thermometer like this one. It takes all the guesswork of “how long should I roast this?!” because all you have to do is set the desired temperature and it’ll let you know when the meat is done!
To be extra chefy, I highly suggest that you set your thermometer to go off when the meat reaches 150F.
The reason being is that the roast is going to be really hot and will carry over cook when you let it rest. If you pulled the roast when the thermometer read 160F, your roast would be overdone. You’ll thank me later.
What to Serve with Porchetta Roast and Leftover Ideas
What I love the most about this stuffed porchetta roast is how tender and succulent it is. Because the pork belly basically bastes the loin in delicious pork fat, the loin is moist and perfectly cooked.
You might be wondering what all you could serve with this roast and I have a few ideas.
Mashed potatoes (this Italian Mashed Potato Casserole would be perfect)
Yeast Dinner Rolls
This roast feeds a ton of people! Easily, you could feed 16 people with a 6-pound roast. However, if you don’t happen to have that many people to feed, you’re going to need some leftover ideas!
- Porchetta Hash is a perfect breakfast with turnips, rutabaga, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and arugula. Topped with a sunny side up egg, you’ll want to have your fat pants on!
- Porchetta Sandwich is a delicious lunch ready to happen! Served on ciabatta rolls, spread with pesto and garnished with arugula, everyone will be super envious when they see you biting into this bad boy!
However, if you want to just reheat this roast, I would encourage you to use your slow cooker. The microwave gets a little weird but cooking it in the slower cooker would allow the fat to re-melt and keep everything tasting fresh.
I hope that you enjoyed this recipe! I know that it was a hit with those I was able to share it with. Be sure to leave a comment (with a rating) down below to let me know how you enjoyed it!
Be sure to check out this post of 15+ Main Dishes for a Non-Traditional Holiday Dinner if you are needing some inspiration!
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- 4 pound pork belly
- 2 pound pork loin, I bought a half loin
- 8 quarts water
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup pink himalayan salt, kosher salt works fine too
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- .25 ounce fresh thyme
- .25 ounce fresh rosemary
- .25 ounce fresh sage
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5 whole cloves
- 3 star anise
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
Porchetta Herb Rub
- 2 tablespoons pink himalayan salt
- 1 tablespoon ground black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon toasted fennel seeds, ground
- .25 ounce fresh rosemary, minced
- .25 fresh thyme, minced
- 1 head garlic, minced
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Place all brine ingredients in a large stock pot and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and allow brine to cool to room temperature.
- Place pork belly and loin in pot, making sure meat is submerged. Brine the meat for at least 24 hours.
Porchetta Herb Rub
- Mix together all rub ingredients together in a medium bowl until well combined.
Make Porchetta Roast
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Remove pork belly and loin from the brine and discard the brine. Pat meat dry with a paper towel.
- Place meat on a clean surface and rub the herb mixture into the belly, making sure that all of the rub is used.
- Place loin in the middle of the belly. Cut 4 pieces of butchers twine and wriggle them under the belly. Begin to tie the roast together, bringing the belly pieces to meet each other across the loin. Tie tightly.
- Place roast on a roasting rack. Stick the meat thermometer in the roast and place roast in oven. Set the temperature to 150 degrees on the thermometer and roast, about 3 hours.
- Once roast is done, remove from oven and allow to rest. Baste roast with juices and fat in the pan occasionally.
- Serve with your favorite sides.
Nutrition InformationYield 16 Serving Size 6 ounces
Amount Per ServingCalories 504 Total Fat 33g Saturated Fat 11g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 20g Cholesterol 141mg Sodium 1936mg Carbohydrates 8g Fiber 1g Sugar 6g Protein 42g