Without a doubt in my mind the finest thing you can do with a pork belly is create an italian dish called Porchetta. The belly a good value cut so you can go large in the butcher. This is a superb way to feed a crowd and makes a brilliant main course for summer dining, its something different for BBQ season that will cost the same as a bucket of burgers and sausages and the best bit is it’s so goddamn killer tasty that everyone wants more and will revere you like a god.
Ive no idea how authentic mine is, but it tastes jolly fine. Here’s how I do it.
Visit your butcher and ask for a belly, you’re only really limited by the size of your oven! A whole belly will fit in most (minus the ‘thick end’). This was my latest piece…
Ask the butcher to bone it and score it with 1 cm gaps, but leave it unrolled. Now may be a good time to sweet talk him into giving you some twine to tie it with if you don’t have any suitable string at home.
Take the skin side and give it a rub down with oil. Then rub a generous amount of Maldon sea salt or rock salt all over the skin, making sure you massage the oil down in the scoring.
Flip it over and sprinkle with generous (at least 2 tablespoons) of
If you have fresh Rosemary and Sage so much the better about 20 sage leaves finely chopped will do nicely with two or three decent sprigs of Rosemary. Personally I feel it’s difficult to over herb this, fennel is THE Italian flavour and you don’t want this to taste like your average roast.
Lightly crush garlic cloves and lay across the centre. Your meat should be looking something like this…
Use as many garlic cloves as you need to make a line right through the middle.
After that roll it up as tightly as you can, doesn’t matter if it takes a couple of attempts. Take your twine and tie the joint. You may need a helper. It takes about one minute to learn how to tie a butchers knot, if you can tie your shoes you’re half way there, YouTube will tell you the rest.
When it’s tied stand and look at it for a while because it’s a thing of beauty and about to make you very popular.
Whack your oven on highest And when it’s hot slap your meat in. Give it 5 minutes on hottest then reduce heat to Gas mark 2 which I think is about 150 degrees. My fan assisted oven blows quite hot so I turn it to 140 degrees.
Then find something to do for 3 to 4 hours, it’s impossible to overcook in a low oven so it needs NO attention other that a smug peek every hour or so.
The narrow scoring I absolutely promise will give you amazing crackling; and handy guide points to carve it.
All I have are the photos of the finished carved meat as I’m always too excited when it comes out the oven to remember to photograph; and besides it’s difficult to take pictures when a crowd of people are patting you on the back saying something along the lines of ‘good god that looks and smells ******* amazing’
Enjoy. We do.