The Perfect Porchetta

Porchetta

My Cooking Method

Porchetta is fully part of our national gastronomic heritage. And when we Italians talk about this, we do not like to play at all: everyone has his secret recipe and its surefire way to get the perfect Porchetta. There’s probably a thousand and surprisingly all actually valid. Different, but valid. Me also as good Italian, over the years I’ve developed a mine, that I don’ want it to be no better or worse than others, but that is certainly different. But most of all I see that wherever he goes collects liking. If I had to make a ranking of dish the more ranking realized since when I started doing catering, porchetta is certainly at the first place. So I thought to share it with you.

Actually it is not anything complicated, is based on a few simple points, but I consider them as fundamental for the success. Just to be clear, I like a Porchetta from the firm and non-slippery meat, which can be perfectly sliced but despite this, not dry. I like a crispy and not rubbery rind of course, but not only. I like it friable, that I can crumble in my mouth at the slightest pressure and that do not force me to take it to the molars to hear the “crok”. Having clarified the objectives we start with points.

Point One: THE ROTISSERIE

You can cook a good porchetta in many ways but the way I see it, if you want to achieve the standards described above there is not a better one than rotisserie. The section of the porchetta is round and very often rind covers almost the whole. We want a rind from the  homogeneous and uniform crunchiness and the fact rotation exposes it all at the same intensity of heat, helps. In addition, the principle of the Spit Roast cooking, on which Rotisserie is based, is that the fats instead of leaking into the drip tray, seasons the meat during rotation. And the fats help us make the crispy skin. So: Rotisserie. About the terms of operating temperature, after several attempts, I believe that the 180°C are the ideal temperature, but also  beautiful things at 200°C are possible, it depends on the thickness of the porchetta.

Porchetta

Point Two: THE FINISHING

What I usually do, is to dry as much as possible the rind before putting the porchetta in cooking, leaving it covered with a paper towel for half an hour. Even this Butcher Paper works well in my opinion. As noted above, I like the rind that it becomes almost like chicharrones. If this is your purpose, after inserting the spit in the pork, massage rind with salt, leaving attacked as much as you can. But there is the possibility of a rind crispy as well but with a shiny, glossy finish, definitely more elegant to be presented, like in this video. If that is your wish, at this stage do not do anything.

Porchetta con il Sale

Point Three: PLACING THE COALS

If you remember the classic arrangement of a rotisserie, the fire is almost always positioned on the side, not under. The same dedicated burner or salamander in gas devices are always positioned on the back. This is because an alternating of a warm phase to a cold one during rotation, increases the viscosity of outgoing fatty helping them to stay longer grabbed, thus better exploiting the principle of Spit Roast. To replicate the same concept with coal, the best way in my opinion is to place it forming a sort of prism arranged parallel to the axis, in correspondence of which comes to rest the bottom vertex of the prism itself. In other words the briquettes line (or coal) starts immediately below the axis but reaches its maximum thickness of a few centimeters after.

Braci per Porchetta
Braci per Porchetta

Point Four: THE PHASES

Generally the most common practice is to make an initial cooking stage of porchetta, leaving to a second one the making of crispy skin. I have another idea about this: I think that if by chance the rind gets rubbery at this stage, as far as you may straighten, the result will never be exceptional. I think it is much more effective to dedicate ourself to the rind as first thing, as more crucial to the success of the dish and the most “delicate” between the two and then think to finish cooking, which we can always manages in any way. So I start with the set-up described in the previous paragraph and then when satisfied with the aesthetic, I move all the fuel over to the side, continuing cooking as a classic indirect mode. If you should be at your first time you should run out and you had to get to this stage with very burnished rind roast pork coat porchetta with a lap of foil before heading to indirect cooking.

Cotenna Porchetta
Cotenna Porchetta

Point Five: THE LARD

Many people pierce the rind so to be sure the fat get out, increasing the amount grabbed to the rind, and so going to help in the making of crisp. Even this case, I do not fit with this system: doing so the fats are not distributed evenly but they goes on drizzles based on the curves of the pork, turning some parts dry and leaving some others soft. I prefer to conduct the game by myself: no holes. Clearly it needs a fat replacement. The few I’ve seen follow this trend, they use olive oil on the skin brushing in the highlight phase. For what is my experience, however, to make this work it serves a very high temperature, which becomes difficult to manage in terms of burnishing. I think the best ally in this sense is lard. The best time to start using it, is when the rind becomes a fawn color and the rind has reached a consistency less soft at touching even if still yielding. It will seem the rind to be detaching from the layer below: it is so. They may form bubbles at this stage. Punch them with a knife on the side, near the hairline and deflate immediately. If you have chosen to apply the salt, you should have at this point many small light-colored bubbles on the surface, especially where before there was much. Scrape away the little remaining salt and proceed. Now, whether you choose to put or less salt, with a spatula take a dose of lard and let it pass on the areas remained less crispy. It takes very little at a time, but you have to repeat the process every fifteen minutes until satisfied. For those who had chosen salt, at this point the rind should be evenly covered with small or large bubbles. For others it should be a beautiful mahogany color and gloss.

Bolle Porchetta
Strutto per Porchetta
Strutto per Porchetta

Measure the temperature. If you want to reach the goal results, the perfect temperature is in my opinion 84°C. If lower, move the coals to one side as described above and proceed up to achievement. At the end, let it sit porchetta at least twenty minutes on a chopping board, before slice. Fear not: it will keep its heat for much longer than you can imagine and the rind will remain as it is.
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At the end, what you should have obtained is a result close to one I had in this video.

There are 1000 other methods but this is the one of mine. What’s your?

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