Recipes 2009
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Prep Time: 8 Hours
Yields: 10–12 Servings

Porchetta is the king of all pork roasts. I have seen it made with everything from suckling pig to whole hog down to pork butt or loin. The secret to this "center of the table" dish is lots of garlic, fennel and rosemary with a proper rubbing of salt and two peppers. It must then be slow-roasted until the skin is crackling and the inner meat is tender and juicy. I love to cook it over a pecan wood fire when time permits, but when it doesn't, the oven is fine. The porchetta is then sliced thin and served on crusty bread as a sandwich or a thick slice placed in the center of a serving plate to be devoured alone or with a crowd.


1 (10–12 pound) skin-on pork belly
1 (3–5 pound) boneless pork butt
¼ cup chopped fennel seeds
¼ cup finely chopped basil
¼ cup minced sage
3 tbsps finely chopped rosemary
½ cup olive oil, divided
salt and black pepper to taste
red pepper flakes to taste
granulated garlic to taste
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
3 tbsps lemon zest
12–16 whole cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup minced red onions
2 tsps baking soda

Place fennel seeds into the bowl of a food chopper and pulse until seeds are finely chopped and at least half powder. Set aside. Lay pork belly, meat side up, in a large baking pan and trim off a 2-inch wide fat layer (leaving skin intact) to create a closing seam over long end of pork belly. Using a paring knife, cut 2–3 inch long slits all over the belly meat, taking care not to cut through the skin. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix together chopped fennel seeds, basil, sage and rosemary. Drizzle meat side of pork belly with ¼ cup olive oil. Rub half of seasoning mixture well into the pork belly then season generously with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and granulated garlic. Place the pork butt in the center of belly meat and drizzle with remaining olive oil. Rub pork butt with remaining seasoning mixture then season well with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and granulated garlic. When well seasoned, surround butt and inside of butt where bones were removed with fennel bulb, lemon zest, crushed garlic and minced red onions. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and pepper if necessary. Wrap belly around the butt, sealing it tightly. The trimmed skin end should close the seam. Tie it shut at 1-inch intervals with butchers twine. Wrap the roast tightly with clear wrap then again tightly in aluminum foil. Place wrapped meat in refrigerator for at least 24 hours or up to three days. When ready to cook, remove roast from refrigerator, remain wrapped and place a digital thermometer through the foil into the center end of the pork butt. This will ensure the accurate reading in the center temperature of the butt when roasting. Allow roast to sit at room temperature until internal temperature reaches 50°F, 3–4 hours. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook roast until internal temperature reaches 170°F, approximately 6 hours. Remove roast from oven and increase oven temperature to 400°F. Carefully remove foil and plastic wrap from cooked roast and transfer to a large cookie sheet, reserving pan drippings. Pat the roast dry with paper towels then rub baking soda gently over the skin. Return porchetta to oven and cook until skin browns and crisps, turning frequently. To serve, thinly slice porchetta and serve on crusty bread as a sandwich, or slice into ¾ –1 inch slices and serve with roasted potatoes and vegetables along with pan drippings as an entrée. Serve any pieces of the crispy skin alongside the roast.



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