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Top Pick Of The Week

June 15, 2010

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Porchetta

Perfect for a special occasion—or when you simply want to pig out. Photo by Steo | Dreamstime.

WHAT IT IS: Boned, stuffed, slow-roasted pork.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Using an artisan Italian technique, the entire pig is boned, stuffed, rolled and cooked for hours, resulting in a crackling-crisp skin and tender, moist meat.
WHY WE LOVE IT: It’s the moistest, most flavorful pork we’ve ever had.
WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon.com and Costco.com
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.Porchetta Primata
Page 2: Pining For Porchetta

 

This is Page 2 of a two-page review. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.

INDEX OF REVIEW

MORE TO DISCOVER

How To Make Porchetta: A Roast By Any Other Name Would Never Taste This Good

Thank goodness for the Italian culinary tradition that produces this moist, beautifully-flavored boneless pork roast.

The tradition began long ago in the Lazio region of Italy (home to Rome), on the Mediterranean coast between Tuscany (Florence) and Campania (Naples). Some give credit to the town of Ariccia, though other towns lay claim to porchetta. It has become a specialty of Umbria, the region due north of Lazio and west of Tuscany.

Porchetta isn’t a simple process. The animal is harvested, then gutted and boned. The loin, tenderloin, belly and rib plate are carefully arranged and stuffed with aromatic herbs, then wrapped in the skin.

 
Can you name the 20 regions of Italy? It’s a much shorter list than the 50 U.S. states.

The meat is then hand-rolled, tied, hand-trimmed and sewn together; the goal is to ensure that the layers of herb stuffing, meat, fat and skin will look handsome when sliced. The skin is rubbed with salt. In Italy, the artisan approach is to roast the meat on a spit over a wood fire for up to 10 hours, until the skin is bronze and crackling. More modern approaches cut the time in half with an oven. While traditionally made with suckling pig, larger animals are now used as well, for efficiency and economies.

Although Italians can purchase porchetta in food stores or go to the butcher to get an entire pig for a special occasion, porchetta is commonly enjoyed every day, in a panino (sandwich)—one of the most popular street foods. “Porchetta trucks” are parked at every street market, sporting event and festivity. Large markets can have three competing trucks, each selling porchetta from a different town. In the U.S., serious Italian chefs see that their customers can have a steady supply of porchetta, as a main course or a sandwich. (If the restaurant is called “La Porchetta,” that’s a hint.)

Porchetta Primata

Porchetta Primata makes all-natural products, cooking the meat in a custom oven for more than four hours, at temperatures in excess of 500°F. This crisps the skin beautifully while the inside remains tender and silky, thanks to slow cooking: The fat infuses and moistens the meat as it cooks. Is it the best-cooked pork product in the world? Possibly. Buy Porchetta Primata and you’ll devour every sumptuous morsel before it gets to see a slice of bread.

This is no ordinary pork roast; you don’t make porchetta from a commodity pig. Heirloom breeds are used—as in Italy. Porchetta Primata’s pigs are a cross of Yorkshire and Duroc, raised free-range and hormone-free by one of Kentucky’s top pig farmers, Allen Franks. And the meat: It’s the best pork we’ve ever tasted. Savory, moist, supple with fat and savory with garlic and other herbs.

 
The fine animals that will become porchetta. Photo courtesy Porchetta Primata.

Porchetta is sold in different variations: in roasts large and small (called Brachetto in Italian, or yule log shape); in a prosciutto shape and as a whole suckling pig—see the photo below.

While presenting the head of the animal isn’t a common way to serve food in the U.S.—and it disturbs some people—it’s very common in the rest of the world. In general, we don’t enjoy seeing our food with its head attached. But when you see the entire roasted pig in person, it is glorious—a culinary work of art and a memorable centerpiece for a large buffet.

For those who don’t want a whole suckling pig, a boneless shoulder will suffice.

—Karen Hochman

PORCHETTA PRIMATA
Boneless Porchetta Roasts

  • Petite Porchetta
    (3.5 Pounds, Serves 8 People)
    $49.20 at Amazon.com
  • Boneless Porchetta Roast
    (10 Pounds, Serves About 24 People)
    $139.99 at Costco.com

To buy the entire roast pig, contact PorchettaPrimata.com

 

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Porchetta

From top: Entire roast pig, Brachetto and Petite Porchetta. Photo courtesy Porchetta Primata.

 

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