This rich, crackling-coated pork belly roast is the ultimate Christmas Day entrée. With intense garlic, herb and fennel seed flavors and meltingly tender meat, this porchetta is sure to be a crowd pleaser for your holiday feast.
A good porchetta begins with a large fatty pork belly. You want to look for a fresh center cut pork belly with a thin layer of skin and ribbons of fat interweaved with reddish-pink meat. A 5-7 pound pork belly will feed about 8 people or, you know, a week of leftovers if it’s just fo you.
Pork belly is essentially one big piece of bacon (it’s just not cured), so it has all the similar flavors of its beloved cousin. And since this has the skin attached, it becomes crispy and crunchy when cooked in a hot oven. It’s traditionally filled with various herbs to balance its fatty flavor. Make no mistake though, fat is the star of this show.
This roast is the king of keto foods. It’s fatty, it’s low carb and most importantly, it’s absolutely, undeniably, delicious
Start by toasting the fennel seeds and blending them with oil & herbs to make a rough paste. After scoring the skin with a sharp knife, flip it over and rub the paste into the flesh. The trickiest part of the prep is rolling the belly and tying it tightly with butchers twine. It took me several attempts to get this belly under control. I probably over did it with the twine but after wrestling with it for so long I didn’t want it to unravel. I just snipped the twine and removed it before serving.
You’ll want to roast the pork belly for 2-3 hours while basting it in the rendered juices ever third minutes or so. Once the internal temperature reaches 145°F, crank up the oven to 500°F to allow the skin to become crispy. You’ll need to watch the roast carefully through this process as it goes from crispy to burned quite quickly.
Lastly, let the roast rest for 15 minutes to allow the juices to re-absorb. If you don’t, all the juices will pour out onto the plate. You will have lost all of the moistness if you don’t properly rest the meat.
This roast is the king of keto foods. It’s fatty, it’s low carb and most importantly, it’s absolutely, undeniably, delicious. Make it for your holiday feast or if you’re just feeling fancy.
- 5 to 7 pounds boneless pork belly skin on
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds toasted
- 1.5 tbsp salt
- 1.5 tbsp ground pepper
- 1 tbsp crushed red pepper
- 1 tbsp rosemary chopped
- 2 tbsp sage chopped
- 2 tbsp thyme chopped
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Begin by lightly toasting fennel seeds in a pan over medium heat until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Let cool.
- Combine fennel seeds, salt, pepper, red pepper, rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic and olive oil into a food processor and pulse into a rough paste. Add additional oil if paste is too dry.
- Place pork belly onto a large cutting board skin side up. Using a sharp knife, score the skin to create a diamond pattern. Then flip the belly over and rub paste into the flesh using your hands.
- Roll belly into a log and tie tightly using butcher’s twine. Twine should be evenly spaced about an inch apart. Refrigerate pork belly, uncovered, overnight to ensure the skin dries out so it becomes crispy.
- Pre-heat oven to 325F and place the pork belly seam-side down onto a v rack set in a large roasting pan.
- Roast pork belly for 2-3 hours, basting every 30 minutes. Once internal temperature reaches 145F, raise oven to 500F and cook for an additional 10 minutes until skin browns and becomes crispy.
- Rest for 15 minutes before slicing with a serrated knife.