Recipe: Sous Vide Pork Belly Porchetta
August 6, 2021
Porchetta is a Sardinian-Italian tradition stretching back centuries. Sous vide porchetta takes this dish in a tender and savory direction. Although sometimes translated as roasted pork, porchetta is much more about fresh herbs and making the best out of fatty, belly cuts of pork. The results are mouth-melting pieces or pork backed up by an array of traditional flavours like fennel, garlic and rosemary.
- Prep: 2 hrs
- Cook: 20 hrs
- Yields: 6-10 servings depending on cut thickness
1 boneless, rind-on pork belly (12-15 lbs)
12 cloves of garlic, run through a cheese grater or microplane
3 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
1 tbsp thyme leaves
3 tbsp whole fennel seed
2 tbsp whole black peppercorns
1 tbsp crushed red pepper
2 tbsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp unsalted butter
8 cups of your preferred frying oil (peanut is often considered the golden standard, but canola and vegetable are both fine)
1Begin by setting your pork belly skin side down on a large cutting board. Using your sharpest kitchen knife cut 1/4 inch into the flesh on a diagonal. Rotate the belly 90 degrees and repeat to create a diamond pattern. This allows for better spice penetration.
2In a skillet over medium-high heat toast peppercorns and fennel for 2-minutes, or until aromatic. In a mortar and pestle, or spice grinder, blitz until crushed into a spice powder.
3Begin heating your water bath to 155 degrees Fahrenheit, or 68.5 degrees Celsius.
4In a mixing bowl, combine the toasted spice powder, crushed red pepper, chopped herbs, and garlic to create a robust dry rub. Using your hands, work the rub into the pork belly. Pay special attention to folds and the hatches you made in the crackling.
5Roll the pork belly into a log with each free end tucked together beneath the log. Cut 16 lengths of twine and lay them in regular intervals along the board. Tie the roast, being careful not to over-pinch each section. Keep the tension consistent.
6Combine 2 tbsp of kosher salt with 1 tbsp of baking powder and give the pork belly one final rub down.
7Vacuum seal the roast for up to three days, or at the very least overnight.
8Cook your pork belly for 36 hours. To prevent water evaporation during this time you can use a dedicated sous vide water bath lid, plastic wrap, or plastic ping pong balls.
1Remove the pork belly from your water bath and immediately transfer to an ice bath for 15-minutes. You can fill your sink up with cold water and several trays of ice if necessary.
2Remove the porchetta from the bag and reserve the cooking liquid.
3Rinse the porchetta under hot water until all remaining juices have been washed away. Pat dry with paper towel.
4Heat your frying oil in a high-walled wok, dutch oven, or pot until a thermometer registers 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not fill more than half the container with oil.
5Working extremely carefully, slide the pork belly into the oil using tongs. Cover and cook while agitating the pan for 2-minutes, or until the sizzling quiets down.
6Remove the lid and baste the porchetta with hot oil, much like with butter basted steak, for 5-minutes. Flip and continuing basting for a further 5-7 minutes.
7Remove the porchetta from the oil and place on a towel-lined platter to rest and cool. In the meantime heat the reserved cooking liquid to a small saucepan.
8When simmering add 2 tbsp of butter and whisk until smooth.
9Finally, grab your kosher salt and give the porchetta a final followed by a drizzle of your sauce.
10Plate and serve!
11Photo credit: Slawomir Fajer/Shutterstock
Pork Belly is a wonderful canvas for many of your favorite herbs and aromatics. Although we've kept things traditional here there are plenty of options depending on personal taste. If the center of your porchetta is a little cool coming out of the oil then feel free to transfer to a 250 degree Fahrenheit oven to warm through.
For those trying porchetta for the first time, remember its richness. It isn't unusual to have a single slice with a meal and be unable to finish another. This is decadence personified for many, and your mileage may vary.