You can use a boneless or bone-in cut, and picnic or Boston butt. You can brine it, marinate it, or finish it with a sauce. You can season it with rosemary or lard it with garlic. Just make sure you cook it in the oven -- and let us in on the details of your best technique.
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Aliwaks has you first toast all the spices: coriander, salt, black peppercorns, fennel seeds and red pepper flakes.
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We hate our jobs.
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Toasting the spices.
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They're done when you can smell them. They go from pleasantly fragrant to burnt in a flash so it's a good idea to hover. This was our second batch; first batch went in the garbage!
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Merrill zests oranges while Amanda takes the challenging/ill-advised route of grinding the spices by hand. You can get it done in a matter of seconds in a coffee grinder. Either way, keep the spices a little coarse. You want some pebbly bits in your porchetta.
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Merrill adds olive oil to the spices, garlic, orange zest and chopped rosemary to make a paste.
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A boned pork shoulder is a large and unwieldy hunk of meat. Amanda attempts to tame it.
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Rubbing the paste into the meat.
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We didn't have a baggie large enough to hold the pork so we heaped it in a bowl and covered it for its day-long resting time.
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Too many cooks in the kitchen? We never think so!
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Merrill skillfully rolls the shoulder into a log. A giant log.
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Next, we tied it at 1-inch intervals.
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We slipped the bay leaves under the twine, and in place of the pork skin we used pancetta and just laid 9 slices over the top of the porchetta like fish scales.
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The pancetta curls up like butterfly wings in the oven. We thought it looked pretty fabulous.
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Merrill reduced the pan juices with some vinegar.
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Truly one of the most gorgeous and satiny pan sauces we've seen.
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Before slicing, you remove the pancetta and if you're a virgo, you arrange it in a perfect overlapping row.
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Here's we're debating the thickness of slices. Aliwaks says 1/4-inch thick slices. So does Merrill. Amanda says thin, thin, thin! She loses.
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Don't forget to serve the pancetta (or skin if using it) with the porchetta. Enjoy!
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