Porchetta: The Original Pork Roast

Crackling skin. Succulent meat. What’s not to love? These days, chefs and home cooks around the country are rediscovering porchetta. You can find it on menus, food carts and even in the oven of a very thoughtful friend kind enough to share the goodness with you.

The country’s recent and burgeoning love affair with this Italian pork roast is just the latest chapter in the grand history of porchetta.

Back in the day, porchetta was Italy’s original street food. And by back in the day, think 2,000 years. Vendors would set up mobile shops on the streets of ancient Rome, roast a whole boneless suckling pig and slice the resulting deliciousness to be served simply between two slices of bread.

These days, you can still find porchetta throughout Italy, especially in the Lazio region, home of Rome and a tiny town called Ariccia that’s considered the homeland of porchetta. But instead of whole suckling pig, Italians and porchetta lovers around the world have adapted the recipe to consist of skin-on pork belly (crackling is crucial) wrapped around other pieces of pork.

Cristiano Creminelli created his own version of porchetta for his American-based salumi company, Creminelli Fine Meats. In fact, he got special permission from the town of Ariccia to use their special (and secret) recipe for seasoning and cooking. Cristiano uses the same heritage Duroc pork he uses in his award-winning salami, in this case seasoned pieces of sirloin encased in the pork belly.

The result is an ancient tradition brought to life. It’s now available across the country in deli cases like Mollie Stone’s. Fully cooked and ready-to-enjoy, try it sliced thin and served cold with the skin on. It’s ideal for antipasto and sandwiches or panini. Buy it in larger chunks or a whole piece for an incredible roast to showcase at dinner.

Serving ideas: Sandwiches, panini, whole roast entrée item, filling for lettuce wraps (especially good for gluten-intolerance) and tacos (al pastor tacos, Italian-style!)