The Great Porchetta Quest: Fruition

It would be instructive to point out that it’s clearly my lot in life, whenever devising an inspired plan, to tear it to shreds with truly staggering dumbassery. This porchetta, which I have been scheming for moths > to procure and prepare,  is a case in point. Bear with me as the folly unfolds.

Simple enough here. Just your average 27-lb. cryovacked half of a hog.
Out of the plastic it was glistening and beautiful and impossibly large. Right now I’m thinking, “What kind of dent are twelve people going to be able to put in this?
“How the hell am I supposed to get this down to the smoker?” and,
“Have the vegetarians really given meat a chance?.”

Rubbed the inside with about 20g of rosemary, 80g of salt and 50g of pepper. Lots of garlic would have made sense too. Next time. Then I rolled it up, and therein lied my colossal act of stupidity…one that didn’t even occur to me until a day later as I sat mentally running over what I could have done better. I rolled the belly (at top in previous picture) toward me and the loin. So instead of wrapping the bacon around the loin, I proceeded to insulate the bacon from the heat. With the loin. Because that makes sense.
Blissfully unaware of my ignorance, I proceeded with the cooking.
The above pic was taken about two hours in. Average grill temp (being taken three different places) at that time was 300 degrees, internal temp was at 84.
Here we are four hours in. The internal temperature was coming up faster than I expected, so I’d allowed the smoker temperature to drop (now avg. of 270) with internal at 123 degrees. My goal was to pull it at 140 or so internal and let it rest for an hour.After the obligatory rest the skin came off neatly, exposing massive amounts of unrendered, non-crispy fat. Tasty, but next time I’ll be getting it without the skin on.

And here’s what the sliced, final product looked like. Because I’d been such a chickenhead while rolling it up, and because the skin had kept most of the fat from rendering I spent a few harried minutes trimming up the slices for dinner service.

The pork itself was excellent. Juicy, flavorful loin. Dark “bacon” specked with fat. Everything strongly perfumed with rosemary (I may lessen the amount I use next time) and very well seasoned. Almost, but not quite, too much salt. And juicy as hell.

So after months of anticipation, how’d it rate? I’d say it was poorly executed, if forgiving. The guests loved it and ate about half. It showed tremendous promise assuming I learn from my mistakes. And for your average weekend shortcut you can always make this with a shoulder. Me? I’m already planning when I’m going to call in the order for round two. The upside just seems too great.

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Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

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