Like many words the word “porchetta” is overused and misused. The real thing is the result of a painstaking process that starts with a 35-pound piece of pork that industry folk refer to as the “middle”. This massive cut includes the entire loin, belly and rib of of the pig.
To make a true porchetta the entire middle is deboned by hand. This is done slowly and carefully to make sure none of the meat or skin is damaged in the process. After the bones are removed, the skin-on belly is wrapped around the center-cut loin roast, and generously seasoned throughout. The entire undertaking of removing bones and wrapping the big piece takes hours. Unfortunately, many people simply take a pork shoulder, season it, and call it a porchetta. But there is no mistaking the real thing which is the ultimate source of pure gastronomic pleasure.
Part of what makes a porchetta so delicious is that no one bite yields the same taste experience because so many cuts are part of it, from the tender rib meat to the perfectly marbled loin to the fatty belly.
We source porchetta from two masters of meat, Thomas Odermatt of Roli Roti in San Francisco and Antonio Fiasche of Nduja Artisans in Chicago. Both producers take in the pork from us to craft these heritage porchetta exclusively for our customers. Says Odermatt: “You can only use a heritage breed pig to make a true porchetta. You need the intramuscular fat that only comes from well-farmed animals. That is the secret. You can’t just get commodity meat from a supermarket and think that is going to work. You need to have passion and love for the trade.” Sourced from our elegant, luscious and smooth Berkshire pork, this is a true porchetta as can be found in Europe — the meat boasts a round and buttery flavor that melts on the tongue. The crispy skin is like pork candy, sticky and sweet like toffee and be warned, it is absolutely habit forming.
Thomas Odermatt, a 3rd generation Swiss butcher, can trace his trade roots back to the 1920’s. Close to 100 years ago his great grandfather was farming and butchering in the Alpine town of Dallenwil. At the age of two, Thomas began learning from his father, a Master Butcher. Everything Thomas makes goes back to traditional, old fashioned, old-style European butchery.
Tony is America’s great ambassador to Calabrian tradition, and can often be found at food fairs and festivals, sharing samples of his artistry with adventurous eaters who are always blown away by the intense flavors of his hand-crafted charcuterie and oven ready roasts.
To prepare: Take the porchetta out of the refrigerator one hour before cooking as it must be at room temperature before cooking. Preheat the oven to 400F. Season the outside of the porchetta on all sides liberally with salt. Pro tip: to get extra crispy “chicharron” on the outside of the porchetta, make sure the skin is completely dry when you begin the cooking process. Put the porchetta in the oven, rotating every 10 minutes, for thirty minutes or until the skin is golden brown all around. Lower the temperature to 325F and cook until the thermometer reads 130F, as the temperature will continue to rise to about 145F while resting out of the oven. Calculate about 2-3 hours for cooking. We recommend remaining vigilant and checking the temperature often so as not to over cook. Rest the porchetta for at least 20 minutes or up to one hour before carving to allow the juices to redistribute. Carving with a serrated knife yields best results. While carving, we recommend removing the skin and chopping it up into small, crispy pieces to serve with each slice.