Cumin-Rubbed Cuban Porchetta Recipe

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Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller, the husband and wife team behind San Francisco's The Fatted Calf, have just released the book In The Charcuterie, an extremely thorough guide to making sausage, salumi, pâtés and other meat treats for the home cook. We're sharing a few of their recipes with you — try this Latin spin on Italian porchetta, then try not to make a sandwich with it. Check out their pro tips for stocking your pantry, and get cooking.

Whole, boneless, skin-on pork middle is a cut we generally reserve for porchetta, the traditional Italian pork roast rubbed with garlic, showered with fennel and herbs, then rolled, tied and roasted until its skin turns mahogany and so crunchy it breaks off into terrifically greasy, impossible-to-resist shards. The Cuban is a new-world approach to an old-world classic: same delicious pork middle, same beautiful brown and crispy crackling but seasoned with a vibrant mixture of cumin, orange, chile and herbs.

Reprinted with permission from In The Charcuterie

Cumin-Rubbed Cuban Porchetta Recipe
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  • 1/2 skin-on pork middle
  • 3/4 cup garlic pounded to a fine paste in a mortar
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons peppercorns
  • 5 allspice berries
  • 1/4 cup cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup medium-hot (agridulce) pimentón de la Vera
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup coarse sea salt
  1. Bone the pork middle.
  2. Lay the middle on a cutting board and rub the garlic into the meat, making sure to get into the grooves where the ribs were removed and into the pocket where the shoulder blade was removed.
  3. Spread the orange zest over the meat, then liberally season with fine sea salt followed by the pepper, allspice, cumin, pimentón, oregano and parsley.
  4. Although you can tie the roast alone, it is easier to tie it if you can enlist an extra set of hands. Roll the loin toward the bottom of the belly, pressing it tightly as you go. Tie the roast perpendicular to the light score marks, using double lengths of twine at 2-inch intervals.
  5. Refrigerate the roast uncovered or loosely covered with a tea towel for at least 1 day or for up to 3 days to allow the flavors of the seasonings to penetrate the meat. Do not wrap in plastic wrap, as moisture trapped between the plastic and the skin can prevent the skin from crisping in the oven. 
  6. Remove the roast from the refrigerator and allow it to temper for 1 to 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Outfit a roasting pan with a rack.
  7. Place the roast on the rack. Rub it on all sides with the olive oil, then sprinkle it evenly with the coarse salt.
  8. Transfer to the oven and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and crispy.
  9. Turn down the oven temperature to 300°F and continue to cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the loin registers 140°F. This can take from 2 1/2 to 4 hours, depending on the thickness of the roast.
  10. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 30 minutes before carving.
  11. Cut into slices to serve, using a serrated knife to cut through the crunchy exterior of the skin.
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