Porchetta-style Roast Pork with Salsa Verde

This week, I’ve had a love affair with pork. All parts of the pig – its loin, its shoulder, its butt.

It started on our drive home from Tofino, when we swung by Meat & Bread between ferry dock and highway. It’s worth the trip – or pilgrimage, even – for a porchetta sandwich with cracklings, served with salsa verde, a brilliant green slurry of fresh Italian parsley, garlic, lemon and olive oil that acted as a bright, fresh, citrusy foil against the rich pork.

I became preoccupied with said porchetta, and so when I went for coffee with our new neighbours, Cafe Gravity in Inglewood, and the owner, a recent transplant from the corporate world who went to India, had an epiphany and decided to open a cafe, pulled up a chair and asked for menu advice, I suggested he might be able to easily roast pork in his teeny kitchen for real-food sandwiches.

A pork shoulder is a little more low-maintenance than a pork loin, which could be susceptible to drying out – pork shoulder needs only to be rubbed with flavour (a spice rub, garlic, chopped fresh herbs, oil, salt & pepper – any combination of these), seared to caramelize the exterior and then set to cook over low heat for 3 hours or more, its fat keeping it moist, and tough connective tissues breaking down with time and heat. Roast pork with salsa verde is a classic pairing, and so we gave it a go this past Friday, just to try – we roasted 5 shoulders and whizzed up salsa verde, and served up a free lunch to hungry hoards, alerted to our goings-on purely via Twitter. Andy put out a donation jar for a local charity, and a good time was had by all.

Note: This isn’t authentic porchetta, which has great cultural relevance in Italy – pork is deboned, layered with stuffing, fat, and skin then rolled, spitted, and roasted – and I’m sure it’s pretty ambrosial, in no small part because you’re eating it in Italy. But this version is just as heavenly, particularly when it’s finally warm enough to eat in flip-flops and not worry about drips. Roast pork, let me tell you, makes a pretty fab sandwich, loaded onto focaccia or a soft roll; but my fingers make the best delivery system – I recommend crispy bits picked straight from the cutting board, dripping with garlicky salsa verde.

Porchetta 4
Porchetta 4

Porchetta-style Roast Pork with Salsa Verde

Recipe link


April 23, 2012

Adapted from two different issues of Bon Appétit.


For the pork:

1 4-5 lb. boneless pork shoulder

canola or olive oil

5-6 garlic cloves, crushed

spice rub of your choice, or a tablespoon or two each finely chopped fresh rosemary and sage

coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper (if you aren't using a salty rub)

Salsa Verde:

2-3 garlic cloves, peeled & chopped

1 small bunch fresh Italian parsley, leaves chopped (discard stems)

zest and juice of half a lemon

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1/2 cup good-quality olive oil


1On a cutting board, pat your pork dry with a paper towel, then drizzle with oil and rub all over to coat. Rub with garlic, then sprinkle with spice mixture or herbs, salt and pepper and rub them in too.


3Preheat oven to 450°F, or preheat your grill to high. Put the pork in a roasting pan and slide it into the oven, or grill it all over, turning with tongs, until nicely golden on all sides. If you're doing it in the oven, roast for 20-30 minutes, then turn the heat down to 300°F. If you grilled it, turn the oven on to 300°F, transfer the pork to a roasting pan or baking dish and put it in the oven.


5Cover and roast for 3 1/2-4 hours, until very tender. If you think of it, take the lid off when you have about an hour left to go. Transfer pork to cutting board and let rest 15 minutes. Slice and serve with pan drippings or salsa verde.


7To make the salsa verde, in the bowl of a food processor, pulse everything but the olive oil until well blended and chopped. With the motor running, add the olive oil through the feed tube. Add a pinch of salt, and dribble on porchetta sandwiches.


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18 comments on “Porchetta-style Roast Pork with Salsa Verde

  1. Avery
    April 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    This looked great when I saw it via Twitter… sorry I missed it! I love how something so simple can be so impressive. Can’t wait to see if this makes it onto Gravity’s regular menu…

  2. JulieVR
    April 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Finally! I was getting all worked up that no one had commented yet…!

  3. JulieVR
    April 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    And thanks :)

  4. Elaine
    April 24, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Holy crapoly, this looks awesome. Sounds like an excellent sandwich for transitional seasons–the salsa verde’s bright enough to be springlike, but a juicy roast pork is comfort embodied. Aaaand, now I know what I’ll be making (and subsequently picking at) this weekend.

  5. Diane
    April 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Julie
    This looks so fantastic…and it brought back the memories of the heavenly sandwich I had at “Meat and Bread” last November. Just wondering, do you think that I could serve this to 50 adults for my husbands surprise 40th next weekend (or should I stick to the good ol’burger and dogs?) I feel like an adventure…but what is your professional opinion?
    any other suggestions?
    a big calgary fan

  6. JulieVR
    April 24, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Hmmm… my professional opinion? Absolutely! In fact, I think I’m going to do the same this weekend for the Star Trek cast! I think it would be perfect for feeding a crowd!

  7. Renee
    April 24, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Those crispy bits off the cutting board are always the best, hey? This looks pretty darn amazing. Wish I had a sandwich to tuck into right now!

  8. Dan @ Dan's Good Side
    April 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I’m going to Meat and Bread tomorrow!!!! Yes!!! So excited! That being said, I did eat this roast and verde at Gravity last week and it will be hard to top! 😉

  9. Stephanie
    April 25, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Nice knife!!

    I have Meat and Bread on my “to-go” list on my next Vancouver trip, it sounds amazing

  10. Diane
    April 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Julie, just wondering if your pork shoulders were trimmed of rind and fat…don’t you need the rind to make a nice crackling? A little concerned that the meat will be dry without the extra fat layer. thanks

    • JulieVR
      April 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      Diane – I used pork shoulder, but traditionally porchetta is made with pork loin with crackling. It’s not something you generally find at the grocery store though – in fact you have to request it from a butcher, and even then it can be tricky – so I went with a pork shoulder, which is inexpensive and easy to find at most grocery stores. It won’t dry out like a loin can – shoulder is very marbled and moist!

  11. Diane
    May 7, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Just thought I should tell you that your “porchetta” recipe was fantastic. My guests LOVED it. We made the sandwiches in large batches and passed them around on platters. It looked good, smelled good, and tasted over-the-moon. Went very well with all the snow on Saturday. Forget backyard BBQ, let’s just crush into the house and eat sandwiches!
    I have lots of leftovers even after sending meat care packages home with a few people….wonderful sandwiches all week. Thanks so much for the inspiration.
    (I’d also like to plug the great service I had at Spragg’s Meat Shop and such delicious product.)

    • JulieVR
      May 8, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      Aw, so glad to hear!! I’m so glad! Thanks for letting me know!!

  12. Tim
    June 4, 2012 at 7:43 am

    I have been wanting to try this since I first saw this post and finally had a chance this weekend. I also used a pork shoulder, seared it off on a hot gas grill and finished roasting it in a charcoal grill with a small chunk of apple wood – not too much smoke, just a little wood spice. The result was fabulous and the salsa verde makes an awesome accompaniment. Thanks for this!

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