Ever since I made this Filipino lechon liempo with pork belly, I've been looking for any excuse to get another hunk of fatty belly onto the spit. While I could have formulated a good excuse any day, I finally realized I was holding out for this, a holiday porchetta!
This porchetta gets a double dose of pork: a brined pork loin on top of pork belly that's been scored and rubbed with an aromatic mixture of spices, herbs, garlic, and lemon zest. The whole affair was rolled, tied tightly, and slowly cooked on the rotisserie until the skin blistered and crackled.
You probably don't need me to tell you how delicious this was. How can you go wrong with pork wrapped in fatty pork with crunchy skin? The impressiveness of this monster roast makes it perfect for the holiday table, but it's so good that'll you'll want to eat it all year.
- For the Brine
- 2 quarts cold water
- 1/3 cup salt
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 whole pork loin, trimmed of silverskin and excess fat (about 3 pounds)
- For the Rub
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic (about 3 medium cloves)
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 whole boneless pork belly (5 to 6 pounds)
- Type of fire: three-zone split
- Grill heat: medium
To make the brine: In a large bowl, whisk together water, salt, and sugar until solids are dissolved. Submerge pork loin in brine. Place in refrigerator and brine for 2 hours.
To make the rub: Place peppercorns and fennel seed in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat; toast spices until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and process until coarsely ground. Transfer spice mixture to small bowl and mix in sage, rosemary, garlic, thyme, crushed red pepper, and lemon zest. Set aside.
Lay pork belly, skin side down, on a large cutting board. Score flesh with a sharp knife at an angle about every inch. Repeat in opposite direction to create a diamond pattern. Season pork belly liberally with salt. Sprinkle rub evenly across pork belly, using hands to pat rub into meat and cut crevices.
Remove pork loin from brine; pat dry with paper towels. Place in center of pork belly. Roll pork belly around pork loin so it fully encases loin. Tie roll close with butcher twine about every inch.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on either side of the charcoal grate and place a foil pan between the two piles of coals. Cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Run spit of the rotisserie through middle of pork roll and secure ends with rotisserie forks. Place on the rotisserie, cover, and cook at medium heat until skin has darkened and crisped and pork registers 155oF when an instant read thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the meat, about 3 hours, replenishing coals to maintain temperature as needed. Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes. Remove spit, slice, and serve.