Sara Jenkins' Italian Porchetta
January 27, 2015


What do you do when you miss a dish that you can get in Italy but doesn't exist here? If you're Chef Sara Jenkins, you open your own storefront and start making and selling that dish. That's how Porchetta was born, a tiny storefront in the East Village in New York City that sells heavenly servings of porchetta, a pork dish that is found all over central Italy.  In Rome, it's sold frequently on the street in food carts.  It's pork that is stuffed with herbs, slow roasted and piled high on a bun.  And it's outrageously delicious.

The secret to great porchetta is the cut of meat.  In Italy, it's made with a whole deboned pig but Sara makes hers with a pork shoulder with the fat and skin still attached.  The skin part is important, because if you've ever tasted pork cracklings, you know how delicious crispy pork skin can be.  I had to go to two butchers in my area before I found one who could get a pork shoulder with the skin still attached for me.  In my area, Merindorf Meats was able to get that cut for me.  I had to buy a large order of it, but they cut in in half for me and I froze half.  Each piece was about 4 to 4.5 pounds of pork.  IF you cannot find a butcher to get this cut for you (and you should really try) then use a regular pork shoulder and order a pork belly.  Wrap the pork belly around the pork shoulder.  This is a decent substitute, but you won't have the skin and that is worth trying to get.

a pork shoulder with the fat and skin still attached

There is another little secret to the herbs - Sara uses fennel pollen, which is an ingredient that can be hard to find in most stores.  If you can't find this in your area, you can order some here.  It's awesome stuff - when I smell it, it just says "pork" to me.


The dish is very simple. You score the skin, stab the pork all over with a knife and insert a mixture of fresh herbs in the slits.  You tie the roast up and slow roast it for a few hours, basting it with white wine.  The combination of the fatty meat with the lean meat and then the crispy skin is amazing.  You can serve it as a sandwich on buns, or you can serve it with the good cooked greens and crispy potatoes.


Want to see Sara Jenkins prepare this dish at her store?  Watch this great video:

Sara Jenkins' Italian Porchetta

It is best to get a pork shoulder with the fat and skin still on. This is usually a special order at a butcher shop, but it is worth it to see if your butcher can do this.  The skin is an important crispy, delicious part of the final dish. If you can't you can get a regular pork shoulder and order a pork belly and wrap that around the pork shoulder.

for a printable recipe click here




if you can't get a pork shoulder with the skin on, buy a regular pork
shoulder (left) and a pork belly (right) and wrap the pork belly
around the pork shoulder.


Article originally appeared on The Italian Dish (
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