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mains meat recipes

Porchetta Recipe

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A couple of years ago while Mike and I were taking one of our rambling, random walks, we passed by a storefront in the midst of construction. The giant paper black and white window cover proclaimed: MEAT & BREAD coming soon. Meat!? Bread?! It could only mean one thing: sandwiches. We had to wait a couple of weeks before they actually opened their doors, but once they did, we were there.

I wasn’t just drawn to Meat & Bread as a sandwich shop. I also fell in love with their branding. The simple black and white text of their logo matches perfectly with their unfussy sandwich offerings. Meat and Bread kind of reminds me of the highly-thought out concept restaurants that you often see in London, or New York.

Stepping into Meat and Bread, you’ll be overwhelmed (in a good way) by the delicious smell of roasted pork. Their signature sandwich is porchetta, an Italian roast pork that’s moist, juicy and flavourful. Traditionally porchetta is the body of a whole pig that’s been deboned, stuffed and roasted. It’s a popular dish from the Lazio region of Italy and you can readily find it freshly-roasted and stuffed into panini on the streets of Rome.

Meat and Bread eschews the whole pig for a simpler roast of the loin and belly. Their meat is specially butchered so the loin and belly are still attached. It’s rubbed down with a salt rub, rolled up with herbs, slow roasted until cooked and then blasted with heat to crisp up the skin. The pork is thinly sliced and chopped to order, placed on a rectangular ciabatta roll and topped with a house made salsa verde sauce and bits of crunchy crackling.

The first time I had their porchetta sandwich I knew I had to give it a go at home. The friendly staff were happy to tell me how they made their porchetta while I was watching them slice the meat, but everything they told me flew out of my head after I tasted my sandwich. I remembered even less after the meat carving man gave me some bonus crackling after I finished my sandwich. So golden, so crunchy, so mind-numbingly good!

It’s been a few years since my first taste of porchetta, but I’ve finally recreated it at home. I had a bit of help from two videos: Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Vancouver Magazine. There’s a tiny bit of discrepancy between the two videos, so I recreated from a combination of both.

When you’re making porchetta the most important ingredient is the pork. Meat and Bread’s pork is custom butchered so the loin is attached to the belly, but I purchased the loin and belly separately. I was hoping to create a mini porchetta, seeing as Mike and I would be the only ones eating it. (Generally I don’t serve untested recipes to anyone other than Mike and myself.) Instead of a whole loin, I went with a tenderloin.

Even though the tenderloin I chose was pretty small (about 1.5 pounds) when you wrap a whole piece of pork belly around it, it tends to get quite a bit bigger. Generally, they don’t have large slabs of pork belly hanging out in the cooler at the butcher shop. However, if you ask, (at least in my case at Whole Foods), they’ll be happy to whip out a whole side of pork belly and saw off a 12 inch by 12 inch square.

After you rub your pork with a bit of salt and some seasoning, you tie it up so that the tenderloin is snug as a bug inside a pork belly blanket. The whole thing goes into the fridge for a little while. Then into the oven it goes. This is one of the points where the two videos differed: in one they started off with high heat and finished on low and in the other vice versa. I went with the low and slow to cook and ended with high heat to crisp up the skin.

It’s a tiny bit time consuming, but if you’re ambitious, you should give this porchetta recipe a go. The porchetta’s fantastic on it’s own and even better in a sandwich Meat and Bread style. The pork is rich and juicy and the salsa verde herbaceous and light. The crispy pieces of crackling are the perfect crunchy counterpoint to the pillowy soft pork. You’ll find yourself eating way too many sandwiches. And when you’re done with the sandwiches, there’s a plethora of other recipes just begging for the addition of porchetta. Everything’s better with porchetta!

I am loin, I am belly: I AM PORCHETTA!

Porchetta Recipe
serves 8-10

Salt Rub

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons toasted fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons toasted fennel seed, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons chili flakes
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • zest of 1 lemon

Herb Rub

  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary

Porchetta

  • pork tenderloin, around 3 inches in diameter, 1-2 pounds
  • 12 inch slab of skin-on pork belly, skin lightly scored

oil
string

Combine the ingredients for the salt rub in a small bowl. Lightly sprinkle the inside of the pork belly with half of salt rub (you won’t need to use all of it). Sprinkle the herb rub and place the tenderloin in the centre of the belly. Tightly roll up the belly around the tenderloin and tie together with kitchen twine. Rub the skin generously with oil and the rest of the salt rub. Place your porchetta in a dish, cover and place in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

Heat the oven to 275F. Place the porchetta on a rack in a deep roasting pan. Lots of fat will be rendered out of the porchetta, so make sure your roasting pan is deep enough.  Roast on the centre rack of the oven for 4 hours. Use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature is 160F. Blast the heat up to 450 and continue to roast for 35 minutes, keeping an eye on the skin. You want the crackling golden brown and crispy, not burnt.

Remove from the oven, let rest for 15-20 minutes, slice and enjoy!

Porchetta Sandwich with Salsa Verde Recipe
serves 2

  • 2 ciabatta rolls
  • 2 cups porchetta, still warm, thinly sliced and chopped
  • bit of crackling, roughly chopped
  • dijon mustard

Salsa Verde Recipe

  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 teaspoons toasted fennel seeds ground
  • 2 teaspoons toasted coriander ground
  • 2 teaspoons chili flakes
  • salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • lemon juice from 2 lemons

Puree the salsa verde ingredients until smooth. Assemble the sandwiches by slicing the rolls lengthwise and topping with porchetta. Add a bit of crackling and a drizzle of salsa verde. Serve with dijon mustard and enjoy!

 

81 Commentsadd yours

  1. this is my new favorite food blog. period. i can’t wait to come back every day and look at the delicious photographs and get inspired by your cooking/ideas. simply loving it! keep up the good work :)

  2. Do you drain off the fat as it renders during the 12 hour roast?

    • The roasting period is 4 hours. I didn’t have to drain off any of the fat, my roasting dish was able to hold it all. Keep an eye on it though!

    • I tried last weekend,it turned out great. All my friends love it. My only question is, not a lot of fat came out during the four hours. I’m wondering if I could lower the temperature but make the roasting time longer? For example 230 degrees for 6 hours to reach the 160F ? I’m hoping it could burn more fat but do not want to make the meat harder. Please advice. Thanks

  3. “Place your porchetta in a dish, cover and place in the oven for at least 12 hours.” – You mean leave raw pork in a cold oven for twelve HOURS? You must mean refrigerator, right?

  4. Those photos are unbelievable. I really don’t know how I can NOT make this now that I’ve seen it. *drool*

  5. Amazing recipe, I can order this dish to my house (I live in Amsterdam)

  6. YUM, this looks incredible! I had a porchetta sandwich a while back that was INCREDIBLE, and now I totally am inspired to try making it at home! Gorgeous photos.

  7. Love it. Meat & Bread is by far my favourite lunch spot in Vancouver. I’ve taken inspiration from the crackling and have started using it on my pork dish in my restaurant. Love the blog!

  8. I will always have a soft spot for sandwiches. The convenience, the practicality and the unexpected suprise they always bring. Love the recipe!

  9. Now that is one nice looking sandwich!

  10. Those photos are beautiful! I can’t wait to try out this recipe. :)

  11. Wow, this looks so good! I had my first porchetta sandwich in Florence, Italy and I have always wanted to try to recreate it.

  12. This looks incredible! I’m a sucker for porchetta, and recently made a slow roasted pork shoulder at home (http://meatballsandmilkshakes.com/2012/02/15/slow-roasted-pork-shoulder-and-pork-tacos/) so I think this may be next on the menu…

  13. I’ve been thinking about making porchetta at home for awhile now, and your beautiful website might have just convinced me. I have a feeling your blog is going to quickly become a new favorite.

  14. Your instructions were very easy along with a viewing of the video links. We made this yesterday; started it in the oven and it took about 3 1/2 hours to get to 160 degrees, then finished it in our wood burning pizza oven for only a few minutes to achieve a nice crackling top! It was delish with the salsa verde and some dijon. My only complaint is that all of the leftovers were eaten by my 20 something diners as a late night snack!

  15. Hi,

    looks good. how is a “bunch” of parsley? 2 cups???

    Thanks

  16. We wanted to try this and got the pork from the butcher without the skin on accident – do you think it would be ok without it?

    • The skin is pretty key. You can probably make it without, but the pork may be a bit dry. Plus you won’t have any crackling and the crackling’s the best part!

  17. Salsa verde recipe was over the top. Simple to make. Also used the salsa over pasta porchetta. Although, I need to work on keeping the crackling even and crispy.

  18. What type of oil should one use?

  19. I have been looking for a Porchetta recipe for ages that matches the Porchetta that was made in Ontario Canada by Italian friends. The ingredients listed here are a bit similar but it certainly had garlic in the rub.

  20. I just returned from Bologna; you have made me happy.

  21. This article is amazing! I just want to show you the best Porchetta producer in Umbria (Italia), the region in wich Porchetta has a very strong tradition.
    This is his website: http://www.biondinicarni.it/12/porchetta_umbra
    I hope you will enjoy it!

  22. Looks amazing and cant wait to try! When you say chop herb leaf parsley for the herb rub- is that it? What is that green blended sauce in the one pic? I couldn’t see a step in your recipe for that. Thanks :)

  23. Oops!!! found it (blushing)

  24. Made it. Delicious!

  25. loved the blog, I grew up eating porchetta, you can go to any grocery in my parents little town and buy it ready to pop into the oven … I, however, live 1500 miles south, so I’ve been making my own for years … my boys ask for this during the winter months, but last week our youngest came home from Law School and asked for one for todays dinner … mmmm, kitchen smells wafting throughout the home as I type …

  26. Thanks for doing the hard work for me! Saw Unique Eats with Meat & Bread awhile ago and wished I could go. Then my husband saw the Porchetta on DDD last night & proceeded to go to the store and buy a giant pork belly and loin. So, with a giant pig on my kitchen island and a somewhat knack for re-creating what I see on tv, I cheated and went on Pinterest. You nailed it! Again, thanks for making dinner so easy and I love your site.

  27. This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing this, we love all of your other recipes too!

  28. Had lunch at Meat and Bread this summer and was trying to explain its wonderful was to my daughter…now I can show her! Thanks!

    Susan deVilmorin on September 12, 2012 at 6:35 pm
  29. Did you use skinless or skin on pork belly?

  30. Hi there. Great site. I’m from Vancouver and am wondering where I might find ciabatta rolls worthy of your porcetta recipe?

  31. I’ve been to Meat and Bread in Vancouver a few times, and it is amazing, to die-for delicious, I was so excited to try your version. I could not get a hold of a pork roast with the pork belly attached or even the pork belly slab the way you did for your recipe. So, I did the next best thing, I wrapped my center-cut pork loin roast prepared with the rub and herb rub, and tucked in strips of bacon under the twine that held the roast together.
    I have to say the result was pretty darn good, not as decadent as the real thing (crackling is hard to beat), but the flavors were all there, I will be making this again (and again!). Thanks!

  32. Got my belly in the fridge, couldn’t get one with the loin, so I will be using your idea of wrapping up a tenderloin.

    My question is regarding the salt rub/12hr rest period in the fridge. I’m by no means a chef/cook or even amateur but I always thought salt pulls the moisture out of the meat, leaving it dry. Again I could easily be wrong. I’m just wondering.

    Anyways great site, love the recipes and I cannot wait to sample this sangwich. Hope it tastes half as good as yours looks!

  33. I so enjoyed your article and the food photography blew me away!

    Do you have any tips on getting great food photos at home?

    Gaynor

  34. I also have been to Meat and Bread and was so excited to find a recipe to make this without having to buy a pig. I found a fresh pork belly at a specialty butcher in Annapolis, MD. It is now roasting slowly in the oven and we are feeding a crowd this evening. So excited. It smells wonderful!

  35. I am planning on making this tomorrow, I called the local butcher shop & they have pork belly but my question has to do with your top picture of the meat roll up & cut…..how did you roll a pork tenderloin? It appears to me that it is a flattened piece of meat which the belly is rolled around…..thanks!

  36. Wow great Porchetta! The best I try is Tuscany Porchetta in Orciano Pisano. Nice pics. Bye

  37. The first time I had this was in Vasto, Italy last year and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. There they debone and stuff the whole pig. First thing I did when I got back to Mississippi, was to find a recipe. I made it using a pork butt(I butterflied) with the skin on it. I tell you, it took me right back to that bench on the hill overlooking the Adriatic Sea. I’m making this for my friends for Super Bowl.

  38. absolutely delicious. i just made a mini porchetta…tenderloin wrapped in pig cheeks and bacon. i think i’ll top it off with this delicious salsa verde. next time i do a pork belly roll i will definitely try your blend of herbs, spices and technique. thanks for such a great blog and fab photos.

  39. My husband was in pork heaven! He absolutely loved this. So much happiness after such success. Thanks for sharing and for inspiring with the beautiful pictures.

  40. Ok. This one will have to be done on one of our weekends. Given our more-than-novice skill in cooking as of late (the most skillfully crafted thing we have ever done was roasted chicken or rubbing some spices in baby back ribs) , we will have to take our sweet time to get this right hehe.

    But great stuff! It’s been quite some time since I visited here and the recipes are great(as well as the food pics)

    Ray
    for
    Lynne-Enroute.com

  41. Does it smoke in the oven in the high-heat crisping phase?

    • Hi Justin, I just made this and found it smoked a lot. Be sure to open windows and make sure you have the ventilator on! A tip could be to remove the tray which collected all the drippings, and replace it with another. This will at lease minimise it.

  42. I’ve just made this and can say have never had so many different taste sensations in my mouth at one time! I think i’ve fallen in love.

    The citrus, fennel and coriander in the salsa verde compliment the pork and make up for any potential dryness in it (I was lucky enough to get a piece with a decent fat to meat ratio, but sometimes i’m sure this isn’t the case) and the meat already infused with these ingredients also had a subtle hint in it.

    I didn’t bother weighing out the spices (apart from the salt which is 75g) or the meat, as i’m from Europe and work in G’s and not C’s :-) just bought the right sized loin to compliment the belly and added what i thought was the right proportion of the spices to the salt. Even if you made this recipe twice and measured out all the ingredients separately, both still would taste different. But thats the joy of cooking I feel. Just do whatever you feel is right, and adapt it to your tastes.

    I’m so happy I stumbled across this blog. I can not wait to try more recipes (albeit with my cackhanded approach) from it.

  43. My fussy eater of a cat is also enjoying scraps from the roasting tin, so something had definitely gone right here!

  44. Have to say I am in the intermediate stage for most of my day to day cooking, but I like researching some of these recipes to boost my rating haha. I recently traveled to the Couv as well and ate at Meat and Bread. Fell in love with their porchetta when our eyes locked. I drooled when the chef peeled the crispy fat off of the top and placed it aside. After my first helping I couldn’t help myself. I stood at the counter like Oliver Twist goes to Bumble and makes his famous request, “Please Sir. I want some more.”

    I haven’t cooked the porchetta yet but It’s in my frig as I type this. Thirteen more hours and ill write back I’m sure. Looking forward to seeing more recipes. I have a nice quinoa summer salad that would be a great side to this.

    Quinoa cooked and chilled. Persian cucumbers. Fresh dill. Greek yogurt (not too much, but just for taste), salt, pepper and garlic to taste. Mix and serve.

    Joey Fuangfoo on July 17, 2013 at 6:06 pm
  45. In the mouth-watering picture at the top of what looks like a cross section of the porchetta, it appears that the meat is spiraled all the way to the center with herbs, i.e. that the tenderloin is also kind of butterflied and then rolled up inside the belly. But the recipe instructions just has the tenderloin going in whole. Did anyone do anything like that when they made this? Does anyone know if the restaurant does it that way? That picture looks delicious and I would like to try to get my version as close as possible.

    Also – kind of a pet peeve of mine when the accompanying picture is different than what the recipe describes, at least when it is to the extent that it would be impossible to achieve what the picture shows by following the directions (I realize that staging, lighting, etc. are going to make the picture look different as well.)

    • ok, never mind – i was looking at it wrong – I didn’t realize how small in relation to the belly the loin is – my bad.

  46. this is so freaking delicious

  47. Im trying to make this in the morning, but before i left for work today i only wrapped and seasoned the pork belly. do i need to cut the string and add the pork loin into it when i get home tonight? or will it still come out ok just using the belly?

  48. Yummm love porchetta, especially when I can enjoy it at a ‘fraschetta’ rustic tavern just outside Rome.. great recipe!

  49. THE REAL TRUTH IS!!!
    IF YOU ARE IN VANCOUVER
    YOU MUST!!! GO TO *****MEAT AND BREAD*****
    TO DIE FOR!!!
    MY WIFE AND I NEVER MISS THIS

  50. I just did this for a crowd and wow – it was amazing, I don’t think I have ever had so many compliments on a sandwich. I tried it first with the family before I made it for 25 people and the first time I made the recipe it was good, this time it was fabulous. I don’t think I followed your instructions to the letter on my first try as I thought 450 for 35 minutes would be too high so only turned my oven up to 400 but crackle wasn’t as good as today. Today I did your recipe just as you said and actually for the 450 I used the convection on the oven and it was wonderful so thank you for figuring out how to do that great sandwich from Meat and Bread – love that place and love your blog.

  51. Made this yesterday. Made a mistake in the temperatures in the first 2 hours (too low), pushed it up a bit in the last 2 (+ the higher temp in the last 1/2 hour) and it ended up great, tons of compliments. Also, I didn’t use a separate pork belly as it was quite easy to find a loin with skin attached here in Germany. I then had to cut a spiral inside so as to unroll the meat and stuff it.
    I’ve made the ciabatta following this recipe (http://leitesculinaria.com/79221/recipes-ciabatta.html) and added capers and fish sauce to the salsa verde (instead of salt) – I’d have put a few anchovies too if I had them around. It was a surprisingly good match with the pork.

  52. I do not recommend this recipe. I often have pochetta at Two Amy’s in Washington DC. While the pictures look like that porchetta, the end result does not taste like it should.

    1. WAY too much salt. I used a full two pounds of pork and the 1/4 cup of salt is extremely excessive. Use less than half of that amount.

    2. Cooking times are WAY too long. I can’t imagine what this would have been after 4 hours at 275. A thermometer had it at 160 after just two hours.

    3. New recommended pork temps are 145, not 160. At 160, this porchetta is very dry.

    Very disappointing.

  53. do you wrap the tenderloin with the skin in or the fat in? the picture looks like the fat is on the outside, and scored. does the fat mostly cook away, leaving the skin to brown?

  54. I’d like to do this in a slow cooker. Any reccs on time? Plan to finish in a high heat oven.

    Harmon Weitzman on June 8, 2014 at 3:08 pm
    • Hi Harmon,

      I haven’t tried in slow cooker – depends on what temperature your slow cooker goes up to. I think I would err on the longer side and go for at least six hours and then check the internal temperature of the pork to ensure it reaches a safe level. Hope that helps!

  55. Came out perfect. I kept it in the crockpot on low for 12 hours. I put it in the oven at 450F for 35 mins to crackle up the skin. Dare I say this is just about the tastiest thing I”ve ever shoved into my maw. Thank you for sharing this recipe. P.S. My home has a porky smell and I like it.

    Harmon Weitzman on June 10, 2014 at 4:08 am
  56. I use your recipe a lot except I do the cheater easy way – a big, fat, pork butt. Butterflied, slathered with a heavy dose of your rub combo and some oil, roll it back up and tied. I also cook mine longer – until I see it starting to get soft, but not fall apart, but not still a tough roast. Patience. I cook it off with root veggies usually. Leftovers – garlic toasted ciabatta rolls, warmed pork and cracklins and an insane amount of delicious sauce. That sauce is SO good on pork and potatoes.

    Thank you so much for the recipe. I would never have done anything like it without it.

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