This is technically not porchetta; it is pork belly flavored in the style of porchetta and prepared like bacon—but that would be too long of a recipe title. I use this alongside chicken in my Smoked Porchetta and Chicken Pot Pie, and I also love it thinly sliced and served on ciabatta bread with Pickled Fennel, sliced red onion, Bacon Mayonnaise, and hot cherry peppers.
Put the garlic, rosemary, sage, fennel pollen, and a splash of water in a food processor and process until a paste is formed. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl and add the pepper, kosher salt, pink salt, and sugar and mix until combined.
Place the pork belly on a rimmed sheet pan large enough to hold the entire belly. Score the belly’s top fat layer with a sharp knife. Rub the cure evenly over both sides, rubbing it in to make sure that the mixture penetrates the fat and flesh.
Seal the belly in a large zip-top bag and place in a pan just big enough to fit it (and store in your refrigerator).
Cure the belly in the refrigerator for 8 days, turning it over daily to redistribute the liquid that will accumulate.
Drain the pork belly in a colander or large basin and rinse well with cold water. Blot it dry with paper towels. Place the belly on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet in the refrigerator or in a cool place in front of a fan (the goal is to create good airflow), and let it dry until the surface feels papery and tacky, at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Set up your smoker following the manufacturer’s instructions and
Transfer the porchetta to a clean wire rack over a baking sheet and let it cool to room temperature. Tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.
To serve, treat the porchetta like you would any slab bacon: Slice thin and crisp in the oven or a skillet over medium-low heat, or cook as a confit in bacon fat then cool and finish over the grill for tender bacon steaks, or for lardons in a salad. The porchetta will last up to 1 week in the fridge.
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