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.

  • 1 4-pound boneless pork shoulder with the fat cap and skin still on or a 4-pound pork shoulder and a separate pork belly
  • 20 fresh sage leaves
  • 3 leafy sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
  • 3 leafy sprigs rosemary, stemmed
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons fennel pollen (swap out for dried fennel if you can't get this)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons medium coarse sea salt 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
    * optional:  I like to add a couple of tablespoons of lemon zest to the herbs. I really like lemon with pork.
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup dry white wine


  • Heat oven to 250 degrees F.
  • Use a sharp knife to score the pork skin in a cross-hatch diamond pattern, making ⅛ inch deep cuts, about an inch apart.
  • Finely chop the sage, thyme, rosemary and garlic and stir it together with the fennel pollen, salt, and pepper (I ground all his up together in 30 seconds in my food processor).  Add the lemon zest, if using.
  • With a paring knife, making 10 incisions (about ½ inch deep) all over the pork and stuff those slits with a third of the herb mixture. Tie the pork and brush oil all over the skin and rub the pork with the remaining herb mixture. (If you are using the skinless pork shoulder and pork belly, do the same scoring to the pork belly and the same seasoning steps and then wrap the pork belly around the pork shoulder and tie.)
  • Set the pork in a roasting pan, fat side up, and roast for two hours. Pour the wine over the pork and baste with the wine and pork juices. Continue roasting, basting once every hour, until the skin is well browned and the meat is spoon tender 2½ to 3 hours more (the internal temperature should be between 170 and 180). Remove from the oven, turn the oven temp up to broil and return the pan to the oven just for a minute or two until the skin is extra crisp. Remove again and let the meat rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

The Italian Dish