Last weekend my brother and sister-in-law were in town for a short stop on their way to Napa (jealous!). This, of course, called for a special dinner (on top of birthday pizza of course). A few weeks ago I managed to stop at my favorite meat purveyor, Prather Ranch, in the now famous Ferry Building in San Francisco. They have humanely raised meat like the standing Berkshire rib roast I purchased frozen and tucked into my freezer. If it was closer I would get all my meat there. It is more expensive but I just eat less of it.
I’ve been seeing Italian Porchetta in a lot of places so I wanted to approximate those flavors. I also wanted to try one last style of cooking on my now infamous Green Egg: roasting. These “grills” are essentially ceramic ovens and as such can be used much like a wood fired oven. Especially when you have the “plate insert” which acts like an oven floor protecting whatever you are cooking from the fire. 72 hours before cooking I followed a Zuni technique (cookbook review here) to season the roast. The day before (while the children were partying) I prepped the Gnocchi so they would be quick to finish and the morning of I purchased some fresh corn that I roasted in the oven alongside the pork (wow, corn roasted in husk is awesome).
I don’t know if it was the 72 hour marinade, the ceramic grill, the heirloom meat, or the wine consumed during cooking but this was unbelievably good! Here’s a before cooking shot.
Tip: Season the roast at least 24 hours before, 72 wins you a prize
Tip: Pull the meat from the fridge one hour before cooking. This gives the center of the roast half a chance of cooking before the outside gets over done.
Standing Pork Rib Roast (Porchetta style)
4 lb pork roast (happy pork is best)
4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp peppercorns
rosemary sprigs to taste
4 garlic cloves minced
If you have a mortar and pestle, crush the peppercorns, fennel seeds, and coriander and then add the garlic and rosemary (about 1 tbsp chopped) and continue working into a paste. Add a bit of olive oil to make the paste something spreadable. If you don’t have a mortar use a spice grinder to grind the spices and chop the garlic and rosemary as finely as possible and mix it all together with some olive oil.
Carefully bone the roast slicing as close to the bone as possible and working your way to the bottom without separating the bones from the meat and open it up carefully. Salt the entire roast being sure to salt the thicker sections more. Do the same with the spice rub putting 2/3 of the mixture “inside” where you cut and spreading the rest over everything else. Using twine, tie the bones back onto the roast. Tuck some more rosemary sprigs in if you like rosemary like me :). Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours but preferably longer.
One hour before cooking pull from the fridge. Heat your grill (indirect or green egg 🙂 ) or oven to 375-400. I use a probe that can stay in the roast and attaches to something outside to decide when meat is done. I placed the roast in a hot skillet and placed it into the grill which had a bit of applewood to provide a little smoke. The roasting took about an hour to get to 135-140. Pull it out and let it sit 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!