Make your own Porketta for a fraction of the cost!
Porketta (porchetta) is a traditional Italian-style pork roast that has become a trademark dish of the city I’m from, Sudbury, Ontario. The major difference between the Italian delicacy and Sudbury’s trademark version is the use of dill in place of fennel seeds. Since I could not find fennel at four different grocery stores, I decided to play with the recipe and come up with my own version of Porketta since I love this succulent roast and I find the store versions either too fatty, or too expensive.
While a pork shoulder or butt is traditionally used for this roast, I used a picnic-style pork shoulder cut which is usually only seven or eight dollars for a three-pound roast when you catch them on sale. I trimmed off the fat rind, and made cuts along the natural grain of the meat to hold the spice mix. Since this roast has a bone, if you place it fat-side down, the grain to cut along will be obvious.
If you use the picnic shoulder cut, trim the heavy fat and follow the lines of the meat to make deep slices.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and prepare the spice mix in a small bowl as follows:
Salty with a touch of heat from the pepper, porketta spices are a unique blend.
Use two tablespoons each of:
Coarse salt, coarsely ground black pepper, whole peppercorns, dill, minced garlic, oregano, lemon zest and onion powder. Add just enough olive oil to make a paste of the ingredients. If you stir as you add the oil, you will see when it just pulls together.
Although not traditional, using olive oil to make a paste and removing the pork fat still allows you that delightful crunch on the outside of your Porketta.
Press one heaping tablespoon of the spice mix into the two cuts you will make into the roast. Pour the rest of the mixture over the roast and rub it in well with your hands, coating the entire roast. The coarse salt will help the rest of the spices permeate the meat of your roast.
Bake at 350 for two hours, or until the temperature reads 160 on a meat thermometer. Transfer to a serving plate and lightly cover with foil to rest for about ten minutes so the juices can redistribute and you will not have a dry roast.
Do not overcook your Porketta. Roasting until it reaches 160 degrees then tenting with foil will ensure a juicy roast at a safe temp for eating.
Serve with your favourite sides. How easy was that? We just turned a roast under ten dollars into a 15-dollar or better pre-made porketta!
Did I mention that leftovers make great sandwiches?