The secret to the ultra-crispy skin on Rancho Llano Seco's porchetta is a slow rendering of fat; the fennel and garlic-stuffed loin cooks for almost four hours — paired with a blast in a 415˚C oven.
- 6.5 – 7 kg boneless pork loin, skin on
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 lemon, zested
- 2 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 -4 tbsp kosher salt
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
Score the pork skin using a utility knife, but be sure not to cut into the meat. Create straight parallel lines that are perpendicular to the length of the loin about 5 mm- deep. The distance between the scored lines will be the width of the steaks you will cut, so space according to preference.
In a small frying pan, toast the fennel seeds over low heat for 2-4 minutes or until fragrant. Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, grind into a fine powder. Combine the ground fennel, garlic, lemon zest, chilli flakes and black pepper in a small bowl.
Once the skin is scored, flip the porchetta over and rub the meat-side with the garlic mixture. Using your hands, rub the seasoning into the meat (not the skin side) and make sure that a thin layer of the rub is evenly distributed over the meat. Next, rub the kosher salt on all sides of the porchetta (both the skin and meat) in a thin, even layer.
Roll the pork up lengthwise. If there is an overlapping lip when the roast is rolled, cut the extra meat off (leaving the skin) until the lips of the rolled roast are almost flush. Take any the skinless pork and add it to the centre of the roast. Using butcher’s twine, secure the roast together by tying knots every 5- 7 cm apart; roughly 5 ties should do it, but use your judgment. Coat the outside of the rolled porchetta with olive oil and another thin layer of kosher salt. Use your hands to rub the oil and salt into the roast.
Transfer the pork to a roasting rack that is positioned inside a deep roasting tin. There will be a lot of liquid that is released, so I recommend the pan should be at least 5 cm deep. Place the roast on the centre rack of your oven and cook for 3 ½ - 4 hours or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast reads 70 ˚C. If the pork skin doesn’t look crispy, increase the oven temperature to 210 ˚C and watch closely until puffed and crisp.