Porchetta Sandwiches are amazing! Imagine a lean pork loin wrapped in a pork belly (basically uncured bacon) with herbs and spices and slow roasted until totally juicy and crispy! Imagine thin slices of porchetta roast dripping with fat and juice, and touch of crisp skin with each piece, piled high on a fresh-baked Italian sub roll. Add a drizzle of earthy-green extra virgin olive oil. My friends, a well made Porchetta Sandwich is an Italian food experience everyone should try at least once. I believe the key to eating Porchetta is to have it on bread. It needs a way to absorb all the amazing juice and flavor. This method of a pork loin wrapped in pork belly is a traditional Italian-style Porchetta Roast. You can also make a porchetta with 100% All-Pork Belly. Check out this video to learn how.
This is the finished Porchetta roast. Pink in the center, juicy and a crispy bacon layer on the outside.
One of the best Porchetta Sandwiches I've had (in the U.S.) was at Eataly in Chicago. They serve it only on Thursday and Sundays. When I saw that my favorite Chef Jeremy Williams was going to teach a class on how they make their Porchetta Roasts, well we just had to go. Chef Williams taught us how to brine, spice, roll, and truss a Porchetta Roast. We were able to take the finished rolled roasts home to cook.
This recipe uses one 4-pound boneless pork loin roast, and one 4-pound boneless pork belly sliced open like a book. The pork loin roast is brined overnight in a simple water/sugar/salt solution. This does make a positive difference to season the interior of the meat. The spice rub used at Eataly was a blend of fennel seeds, coriander seeds, black pepper, and red pepper flakes all freshly ground to a fine powder.
The pork loin is rolled in the spice mixture and then stuffed inside the pork belly. The pork belly skin is on the outside. The package is then nicely tied with a butcher's string using a trussing technique. Learning how to make butcher's knots is easy once you get the concept. Not sure I mastered that one yet.
Roast the porchetta in a 350 degree oven for about 2 ½ hours or until the internal temperature is 140 degrees. The outside skin will be crispy, and most of the fat of the pork belly will have melted into the roast and pan.
Let cool, and then slice with a serrated knife. Serve up piles of slice porchetta with crispy skin on an Italian sub roll. Drizzle with olive oil and dig in!
Amazing Porchetta Sandwiches
For the Brine:
- 1 gallon hot water
- 2 quarts of ice
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup salt
For the Fennel Rub:
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
For the Porchetta
- 4- pound boness pork loin
- 4- pound boneless pork belly with skin
For the Brine:
- Whisk sugar and salt in the hot water until dissolved. Add enough ice to cool the liquid until you have 2 gallons of liquid. Trim the pork loin from any sinew or excess fat. Place the loin in the cold brine and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
For the Fennel Rub
- Pulse all the spices in a electric spice grinder until a fine powder. Store in airtight container until ready to use.
For the Porchetta:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove the pork loin from the brine. Pat dry. Rub the spice mixture over the pork loin.
- With a sharp knife, split the pork belly in half horizontally so it opens like a book. Place the pork loin on the open pork belly and wrap the entire pork loin until covered all around. Secure the roast by tying butcher's knot with twine 1-inch apart around the entire meat package. It is recommended to start the procedure at the middle of the roast and work your way out. Place the wrapped roast on a rack that is inside a deep roasting pan. (note: be sure the pan is deep enough to capture all the fat drippings). Since the pork loin was salted in the brine, no extra salt is required.
- Place the roast in the oven, and cook for approximately 2 ½ - 3 hours hours or until the internal temperature of the pork loin is 140 degrees, and the skin is crispy. If needed turn up the temperature to 400 degrees and let cook at the higher heat another 15 minutes until the skin is crisped up.
- Remove from oven. Let rest for at least 20 minutes. Cut off the twine.
- With a serrated knife cut thin slices of pork with some pork belly and skin. Pile on a fresh Italian sub roll. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and serve.