Smoked Porchetta

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Preparation info

  • Makes about

    3½ pounds

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

The Bacon Bible

The Bacon Bible

By Peter Sherman and Stephanie Banyas

Published 2019

  • About

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.

Ingredients

  • 12 garlic cloves, smashed
  • ¼ cup (7 g) loosely packed fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup (9 g) loosely packed fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fennel pollen or toasted fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • ½ cup (90 g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons pink curing salt (aka Instacure #1)
  • ½ cup (100 g) sugar
  • 1 (5-pound/2.3-kg) pork belly, skin removed and saved for another use (see, step 2)
  • Soaked and drained pecan wood chips or chunks (amount recommended by your smoker manufacturer)

    Method

    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 preheat it to between 200 and 225°F (93 and 107°C). Add the wood chips or chunks to the coals. Lay the pork belly directly on the grill grate opposite the coals (indirect heat). Smoke the pork belly until bronzed with wood smoke and firm, 2 to 3 hours. The internal temperature should reach 155°F (68°C). (Insert an instant-read thermometer probe through the side of the bacon at one end.)

    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.