Spit roasting is a real labour of love and the ultimate in barbecuing. This porchetta is made with a perhaps large cut to feed a big crowd - a whole side of pork, which includes the belly, loin and eye fillet - though you can easily halve the side to feed fewer people (the cooking time should remain the same). You'll need to order either cut ahead from your butcher. You'll also need an electric rôtisserie spit; some butchers have them for hire, or you can buy them at barbecue shops. The small electric ones can take up to 10kg of meat and that's what we used here. The key to spit-roasting is to distribute the weight of the meat evenly on the rôtisserie rod so it's balanced and turns easily. You may need to cover sections of the meat with foil as it cooks to protect it from the fat flare-ups.
- 12 garlic cloves
- ½ cup (firmly packed) rosemary
- 1/3 cup (firmly packed) oregano
- 1 pork loin with belly (about 7kg)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 1 cup (firmly packed) coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tbsp small capers in vinegar, rinsed, and drained
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1Fill your spit’s tray with charcoal beads (about 3 coals deep; this spit used 4kg charcoal) or make a wood fire; when the coals are ashed over you’re ready to cook (about 40 minutes). Meanwhile, pound garlic with a mortar and pestle to a smooth paste (or use a food processor), add herbs and lemon rind, and pound to a coarse paste. Season and set aside.
- 2Score the skin of the pork at 1cm intervals using a safety knife, then rub with lemon halves and sprinkle generously with salt, rubbing it into the cuts. Turn the meat over, and rub the flesh with the herb paste. Roll the belly flap over the loin to form a log, then tie securely at intervals with kitchen string, positioning the string in the cuts to prevent it burning. Push the rôtisserie rod through the centre of the meat, distributing the weight evenly, then slide the prongs onto each end of the rod to hold the pork securely. Using fine wire, tie the pork at intervals, then cover the loin with foil. Arrange the coals around the edges of the spit (see note) and roast pork until a meat thermometer reads 75C, or a metal skewer inserted for 20 seconds feels hot when touched to your lip (5-6 hours). You’ll need to top up the charcoal as it dies down.
- 3For the salsa verde, blend garlic, anchovies, parsley, capers, vinegar and lemon rind to a coarse paste in a food processor. With the motor running, add olive oil in a thin steady stream, then season to taste.
- 4Remove the foil from the pork, then lower the rod so the pork is closer to the heat. Taking care not to burn the skin, rôtisserie until skin is crackled (15-20 minutes). Rest porchetta for 15-20 minutes, then serve it with rolls, salsa verde and rocket.
Note For indirect grilling, arrange hot coals around the outside of the barbecue so the heat isn't directly under the meat.
Drink Suggestion: A rustic farmhouse scrumpy. Drink suggestion by Max Allen