Porchetta (pronounced POR-ketta) is an Italian dish made from a whole suckling pig that has been deboned, filled, and rolled before being roasted over wood or charcoal.
More contemporary porchetta uses a whole loin wrapped in a full belly, which is definitely too much unless you’re preparing for an Italian-sized family.
My version is a bit more modest, but it can comfortably serve 4-6 people. Any leftovers are also delicious in a soft bread bun!
This packed pork belly cooked on a rotisserie over traditional charcoal provides beautiful, soft silky pig belly with a great crackling on the exterior. I serve it with buttery mashed potatoes and homemade gravy for the ultimate in warm comfort cuisine.
- What you’ll need to make Rotisserie Porchetta
- Preparing your pork belly
- Making the herb stuffing
- Roll and tie your belly
- Lighting your rotisserie
- Resting and slicing
- Other great pork belly recipes
- Rotisserie Porchetta Style Pork Belly Recipe
- Can you cook pork belly on rotisserie?
- How long does porchetta take on rotisserie?
- What is the best cut of pork for a rotisserie?
- How do restaurants cook pork belly?
- What is the best way to cook pork on a rotisserie?
- What is the best temperature to cook porchetta?
- How do you make a rotisserie pig skin crispy?
- Can you put pork belly on a spit?
What you’ll need to make Rotisserie Porchetta
- A rotisserie-equipped grill For that wood-smoked taste, use charcoal.
- To begin, use charcoal, followed by little bits of hardwood as the cook progresses. (If you like, you may use entire charcoal.)
- A digital thermometer (I used a MEATER wireless thermometer, but a Thermapen or any quick read thermometer would also work well).
- A mortar and pestle
- Butchers string or twine
- A VERY sharp knife
Preparing your pork belly
Fat to meat ratio is 50/50.I used a 4.5 pound chunk of pork belly in this recipe. Look for a chunk with a high percentage of creamy white fat, such as 50 percent.
If you can’t locate decent quality pork belly locally, we suggest Snake River Farms.
Start prepping your pork belly the night before to achieve the greatest crackling on the skin.
Score the skin in a 1 crosshatch pattern with an extremely sharp knife (you can use a craft knife for excellent results), taking sure to just cut through the skin and not the flesh (you can hire your butcher to do this for you if you prefer), then repeat on the meaty belly side.
Don’t score the flesh too deeply; you only want some surface area for the aromatics to seep through.
Once the fat has been scored, lay the belly (fat side up) on a clean cooling rack or something similar, set it in a clean sink, and slowly pour 4 cups of boiling water all over the top of the skin.
It is typical for the skin to contract somewhat. Pat the skin dry with a paper towel or a clean tea towel before placing it skin side down on a clean chopping board to begin stuffing the belly.
Making the herb stuffing
For the stuffing, youll need the following:
- 1 1/2 tsp of fennel seeds
- 1/2 cup of finely chopped sage
- 1/2 cup of finely chopped parsley
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- pinch of salt
Lightly shatter the fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle (or the end of a rolling pin in a big sturdy bowl if you don’t have one), then combine with the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
As a binder, sprinkle olive oil over the scored meat, then massage the herby stuffing all over the flesh and into the cracks and score lines.
Roll and tie your belly
Now comes the hard part. If you’ve never used butcher’s string or twine to tie up meat before, this may be a little intimidating, as well as a little fussy, but once you get the hang of it, it’s very simple.
Practice makes perfect.
You should wrap the pig belly up and knot it reasonably firmly; if the twine is too slack, the rolled belly will shrink somewhat while cooking and come apart.
I’m not going to attempt to explain how to tie the twine, but I’ve given a link to a video on how to make a butcher’s knot below:
After carefully rolling and tying your pork belly, place it in the fridge uncovered for as long as possible, ideally overnight. This will assist to dry up the skin entirely, resulting in a better crackling.
Before igniting your charcoal for the cook, remove your porchetta from the fridge, sprinkle with olive oil, and press a couple of teaspoons of flakes sea salt into the skin, being sure to get into all the scoring marks.
Lighting your rotisserie
Cooking the pork belly rotisserie style yields the greatest results, so you’ll need some charcoal or charcoal briquettes, as well as a couple of bits of a light smoking wood, like as apple, to really enhance the flavors in the stuffing.
If you don’t have any smoking wood on hand, you may use simply charcoal.
Light a full chimney of charcoal for this, and make sure you have enough to last your cook for at least 4 hours.
Whatever you’re cooking with rotisserie charcoal, you don’t want the coals exactly beneath the meat, but rather out to each side.
Pour your charcoal chimney into two long horizontal piles parallel to the rotisserie, then top with some more to fire, about a half chimney on each side. If desired, place a foil pan between your heaps, immediately beneath the meat.
Secure your tied Porchetta to your rotisserie rod using the attachments that came with it, and after all of the charcoal has ashed over, you’re ready to begin. Set up your adjustable height rotisserie approximately 10-12 inches above your coals to begin.
Then it’s time to start spinning your meat, and that’s no metaphor! Now is the time to add a couple of pieces of smoking wood if you choose to use it, but it is not required. If desired, add another slice or two during the cooking process.
Once the meat has begun to color, you will need to stop the rotisserie periodically to check the internal temperature of your pork belly (unless you have a wireless thermometer like the MEATER, which I recently reviewed), but you should aim for a 3.5-4 hour cook time for a 4.5 lb piece of belly.
When monitoring the temperature, use a thicker piece of flesh towards the middle of the coiled piece. You want an interior temperature of roughly 180F.
You’ll probably need to add additional charcoal during the cook, so keep an eye on it and add extra lump charcoal on a regular basis. Every half hour or so, I add a couple excellent (half fist) size portions.
When you reach internal temperature, you might begin to crackle the skin.
Remove the foil pan and place the charcoal evenly beneath the pork belly, keeping any dripping juices and fat for a gravy.
Stop your rotisserie skin side down and lower closer to the coals if necessary, but keep a watch on it to ensure it doesn’t burn. I became impatient and it somewhat burned in spots on this cook! Doh!
The skin will blister and explode in front of your eyes, almost like popcorn! To achieve a uniform crackling over the belly, pause and transfer the rotisserie to a different region of the skin.
Resting and slicing
Remove the rotisserie rod using heat-resistant gloves, then remove the porchetta roast and lay it in a pan to rest for about 30 minutes.
Use the resting liquids plus the remaining fluids from the foil tray from the cook to make some fantastic buttery mashed potatoes and your favorite gravy recipe.
After resting, cut into thick slices with a sharp knife and serve with the buttery mash and gravy, accompanied by a fine Chardonnay. Thank you, buddy.
Check out our page on Greek style chicken and lamb gyros for more amazing rotisserie dishes.
Other great pork belly recipes
- Smoked Pork Belly
- Pork Belly Burnt Ends
- Hot Honey Pork Belly Burnt Ends