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From the Archives: Porchetta, the Ultimate Holiday Roast

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Want to put something on the holiday table that'll knock not just the socks, but the shoes, pants, and ok, in some cases, underpants off your dinner guests? Might I suggest an all-belly porchetta, the ultimate holiday roast?

They're actually quite a bit easier to make than they might seem at first. All they require is a pork belly, some butcher's twine, a sharp knife, a few basic ingredients, and a lazy afternoon.

The classic all-belly roast porchetta is the way to go if crisp skin, tender, juicy, well-seasoned meat, and a stunning presentation is what you're after. Check out that post for a step-by-step walkthrough of the process.

If you want to go even crazier—more crispness, more fattiness, and melt-in-your-mouth tender meat—then check out the 36-hour sous-vide deep fried version. It requires a sous vide water circulator and a vacuum sealer, and to be frank, it's richness is not for everyone, but if this is the kind of thing you love (you know who you are), then it doesn't get much better than this.

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Don't eat pork or want something a bit lighter and more manageable? You don't have to feel left out! I've got recipes for both a standard turkey-based porchetta (which, if you want to be all bilingual and stuff, can be called a tachinetta), and a sous-vide, deep fried version. The turkey versions are every bit as juicy and flavorful, with a lighter, meatier texture and less gelatinous fat.

And if you want to cook outdoors, we've got a recipe for you too.

Whichever one you choose, be prepared to dodge flying socks.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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