Asian Inspired Porchetta



Recently we’ve been on a culinary quest to make a holiday pork roast with the most irresistible crispy, crackly, and bubbly skin possible–the type of crispy crackling that will have guests fighting over and craving for more. What immediately came to mind was the Italian style porchetta of San Francisco fame, Roli Roti, and the Vietnamese preparation of roasted pork belly called heo quay, also called sieu yuk in Chinese, and lechon kawali in the Filipino version.  The common thread among these versions is the unmistakable crackly skin, but how to achieve that in the home kitchen is another matter entirely.  The internet is replete with crispy roasted pork recipes advocating different techniques from deep frying, to salting, and basting with rice vinegar to achieve that holy grail of pork skin crispiness.

So in the last month, we’ve tried both the salt and vinegar method to see what works best. However, we also roasted one doing neither. The only method we didn’t try was deep frying. No doubt deep frying the pork skin works, but it can get quite messy and for our purposes of a big roast, not something we were interested in trying. After these attempts, we’re not 100% convinced that it’s the salt or vinegar that makes the skin crackly and bubbly. In fact, we also had great results doing neither.



From these attempts we’ve identified several key steps that consistently gets good results, but first let’s understand what this crispy, bubbly, crackly skin is all about. Essentially what this represents is a second degree burn of the pork skin. We have to have expose the skin to enough heat to burn through the thick layer of skin to get bubbly blisters without charring it. At the same time, this heat will render out fat and contract the skin, resulting in the desirable hardened and crackly and not rubbery texture.  The second key step is to make the skin as dry as possible.  Leaving the skin to dry overnight or 24 hrs in the fridge while the dry seasoning rub permeates on the belly side helps both in terms of crackly skin and flavor. Finally, scoring the skin helps render the fat, also helping to crispen the skin. However, there are also many ways to score the skin from diamonds to simple slits, to tiny pricks with nails. There is no one correct way, but we like to keep the skin intact so we use the tip of a sharp knife to prick the skin all over (some Asian markets sell meat tenderizers embedded with many nails).



A traditional porchetta is rubbed with a spice blend of garlic, rosemary, and fennel.  But typically for our holiday parties there is always a dichotomy of traditional “American” vs. traditional “Vietnamese/Asian.”  So to appease everyone, we instead rubbed it with a spice rub highlighted by 5 spice powder.  But feel free to substitute your spices and try our roasting method.  We also brined the pork tenderloin, but this step is optional, especially if you are salt adversed.

The crispy, crackly, and bubbly skin definitely passed the eye test of our finicky friends–and combining classic Italian porchetta with Vietnameses spices also passed the flavor test with flying colors.  Serve alone with your favorite sides or with focaccia bread with caramelized onions and arugula, either way we think this will be one of the best pork roasts you’ll ever tried, perfect for the holidays or special occasions.

This may be our last post until Christmas, so we want to thank you for supporting our blog and wish you and yours a healthy and happy holidays!


Asian Inspired Porchetta


3-4 lb slab of pork belly
2 lb pork tenderloin, cut to same length of the pork belly

spice rub
2 tbs Morton kosher salt
1 tbs 5 spice powder
1 tbs sugar
1/2 tbs garlic powder
1/2 tbs pepper
1/4 tbs ginger powder

optional brine solution
1/4 cup Morton kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tbs of seasoning rub above
2 quarts water

additional supplies: butchers twine, roasting rack


Using clean small nail or safety pin, prick the skin side of the pork belly all over. Rub the meat side of the pork belly along with the sides and ends generously with the spice rub. Rub off any spices that get onto the skin. Line baking tray with foil and place on tray and refrigerate uncovered over night or up to 24 hrs. If you are also brining the loin, prepare the solution in a non-reactive plastic container until dissolved and brine overnight (we take it out of brine overnight, about 8 hrs, regardless if we dry the pork for 24hrs). If you don't brine the loin, rub generously with spices and cover refrigerated with plastic wrap.

On day of cooking, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Take your pork belly and loin and tie in a roast (for examples look here and here) trimming any excess if necessary and rub additional spices on the ends of the loin. Tie it snug but not too tight. Place on roasting rack and roast until skin is golden brown (if necessary, rotate the roast periodically to make sure there is even browning). Depending on size of your roast and thickness of the cuts, this takes about 45 minutes or so.

When the skin is golden brown, turn the oven to high broil. Place the porchetta as close as possible to the heating element and within minutes, the skin will become bubbly and crackle. Rotate as necessary to make sure skin is evenly bubbled and crackly. Do not leave the porchetta unattended. When finished, you can double check the internal tempurature of the loin with meat thermometer (145 for medium). Allow porchetta to rest about 15-20 minutes before carving. After carving, it's also helpful to crack the pieces of skin with the the tip of your knife for easier consumption.

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42 Responses to “Asian Inspired Porchetta”

  1. 1

    Jun Belen — December 16, 2010 @ 2:25 am

    WOW! This porchetta is absolutely mouthwateringly perfect! Happy Holidays to both of you!

  2. 2

    Liren — December 16, 2010 @ 5:59 am

    You have managed to make me, already full from dinner, dessert and some, ahem, after-dinner snacking, hungry all over again. What a vision of pork goodness!

  3. 3

    Spicy Green Mango — December 16, 2010 @ 6:13 am

    Hong and Kim! This is amazing and I am literally wiping the drool off my face as I'm typing this. The pork skin is golden brown and crispy–just the way I love my pork! Great job you two!

  4. 4

    Ravenous Couple — December 16, 2010 @ 6:15 am

    Jun, Liren, Chandra: Our favorite SF bloggers!! Thanks, guys!

  5. 5

    Skip to Malou — December 16, 2010 @ 6:54 am

    This is sinfully delicious! Ican't get my eyes off that skin… crackling crispy skin.. now if only I could taste it!

  6. 6

    Hungry Pandas — December 16, 2010 @ 7:18 am

    so glad you posted this! I was actually researching it yesterday in hopes of making it for Christmas. THANKS!

  7. 7

    Ninette — December 16, 2010 @ 12:09 pm

    My side (Asian side) of the family would love this. This is very similar to several Filipino pork (lechon) dishes like lechon kawali or crispy pata, but this isn't fried and it's a lot prettier. Thanks for the tips!!

  8. 8

    Nathan Manila — December 16, 2010 @ 12:46 pm

    Nice! I make something like this but I boil the meat in spices and then bake and broil it to make the skin crisp.

  9. 9

    Ravenous Couple — December 16, 2010 @ 5:52 pm

    @hungry pandas: you could have just asked, lol!

    @ninette and nathan: we're so glad to have the approval of all our filipino blogger friends!

  10. 10

    Gastronomer — December 17, 2010 @ 12:44 am

    Happy holidays to the both of you! This pork is looking FIERCE!

  11. 11

    Mei — December 17, 2010 @ 4:50 am

    WOW… looks great, beautifully cook! Yummy Yummy!

  12. 12

    Connie — December 17, 2010 @ 3:31 pm

    Beautiful! The skin looks perfect! Now I know exactly what to do next time, awesome!!! Nice spice combinations, too.

  13. 13

    lostpastremembered — December 17, 2010 @ 10:00 pm

    You guys should be arrested for that pork photo… it is obscene… and I mean that in the best of all possible ways;) Great looking roast and the spicing is genius… great post!

  14. 14

    Fresh Local and Best — December 18, 2010 @ 2:26 am

    This is fusion cooking at its best! Crispy pork skin that anyone would die for. And I agree with Deana, this porchetta is totally obscene!

  15. 15

    Table Talk — December 18, 2010 @ 10:33 pm

    I have a porchetta in the oven right now! (really) It's quite cold here and a perfect day for it. I use boneless pork butt and rub it with a fennel spice blend and stuff it with sauteed onions/basil/parsley/mint. It slow roasts for 10 hrs until it falls apart.
    I like the crackly skin version you have here. Anyway you make it, porchetta is sure to please.
    Happy holidays to you both!

  16. 16

    Nam @ The Culinary Chronicles — December 19, 2010 @ 7:13 pm

    OH-EM-GEE….you two are my heroes!

    I absolutely loved Roli Roti's Porchetta but think your 5 Spice spin is so brilliant! YUM!

    Fabulous job and thanks for sharing. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

  17. 17

    Norma — December 20, 2010 @ 4:32 pm

    Honestly guys, this is amazing.

  18. 18

    triplescoopdesserts — December 21, 2010 @ 12:52 am

    Sounds like a great recipe. I'll keep this bookmarked for my next dinner party! Have a Merry Christmas!

  19. 19

    yft — December 21, 2010 @ 6:10 am


    I love everything about this post. The multiple usage of the words pork, skin, crackly, crispy; the photos; the determination to find the best way of creating the perfect porchetta…LOVE! You guys are awesome.


  20. 20

    Cooking Gallery — December 21, 2010 @ 10:05 am

    Look at that slab of meat! Just perfectly done!!Yum!

  21. 21

    Jessica Lee Binder — December 22, 2010 @ 11:02 pm

    Such enticing photos! I can feel the juices running and skin crackling….

  22. 22

    high low — December 26, 2010 @ 3:46 am

    Love the crackling skin on your porchetta! With my parents on Christmas Eve, we got a nice crispy pork skin with just salt, pepper, and rosemary. I love your fusion version and have to try it out! Merry Christmas to you both and best wishes for a wonderful new year!!

  23. 23

    taste tester — December 27, 2010 @ 8:07 pm

    WOW the porchetta looks amazing … I can almost taste that crispy skin! Maybe you can give Roli Roti a run for their money 🙂

    Happy holidays to you both!

  24. 24

    Kim — December 28, 2010 @ 12:12 am

    Hi guys! I hope you had a happy holiday with your families. This pork looks delicious – Since you went through all the effort of testing out the skin bubble method, the least I can do is sneak this onto this week's menu (since we're trying to detox with a vegetarian diet on 1/1). 🙂


  25. 25

    Cindy. Lo. — December 28, 2010 @ 6:07 am

    Oh my god,
    What is this thing!
    So huge and makes my mouth watering!

  26. 26

    Manju — December 28, 2010 @ 12:43 pm

    OMG! We might have to have this for New Year's…
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe. Just discovered you on Serious Eats… love your site!

  27. 27

    Kung Food Panda — December 30, 2010 @ 6:31 am

    I will personally vouch this porchetta was friggin amazing! In fact, I kinda wish I had a piece right now!

  28. 28

    Pinoy Panda — December 30, 2010 @ 7:12 am

    I agree with KFP…I want some right now!! This porchetta was fantastic, especially the lovely crispy skin. I will definitely make this for NYE dinner.

  29. 29

    canadian — February 17, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

    I agree with KFP

  30. 30

    Charlie — June 30, 2011 @ 6:12 am

    Hello! Congratulations on your wedding. May God truly bless you!
    This is my first time to your site (Thank you Adora) and I’m liking it very much!
    This recipe intrigues me as it is very much like another recipe I have, but this one does include deep frying, but well worth it.

    The recipe I have is from

    The chef is Neil Perry and the recipe is “Pork Hock With Chilli Caramel Sauce”

    I hope you check it out!

  31. 31

    Maria — July 11, 2011 @ 10:37 am

    Hi….LOVE your site!!! I am not a good cook a but am drooling as I look at these pictures. What Vietnamese side dishes can you serve with this fabulous meat dish? Thanks!

  32. 32

    Pork: The Vietnamese Way — November 7, 2011 @ 8:11 am

    […] the cuts we like for thit nuong and nem nuong. Thịt ba chỉ (pork belly) is great for thit kho, roasted pork belly heo quay, or just pan fried, the sườn (ribs) are great for sườn xào chua ngọt, the loin and […]

  33. 33

    Luc — December 8, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

    You guys are my savior ?!!! The Porchetta was a hit!

  34. 34

    Mya — February 20, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

    This looks so amazing and at first glace, its a recipe that I would definitely have to attempt. I was just wondering, what are some good sides for this dish ?

  35. 35

    The Ravenous Couple — February 21, 2012 @ 1:26 pm

    something light, like goi!

  36. 36

    Mya — February 22, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

    I was trying to imagine what the taste is like, is it like thit heo quay ?

  37. 37

    Que — December 5, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

    Hi, Love this recipe. However, 45 minutes were not enough to cook this much meat when rolled together. When I repeated the recipe, I roasted for 45 minutes, but then turned the oven down to about 300 degrees for about 1.5-2 hours (internal temp 145 degrees). Then place under the broiler as you suggested. Thanks. Love your website and looking forward to more recipes.

  38. 38

    Serena — May 13, 2013 @ 5:43 am

    Hi, what do you do with the pork tenderloin? lay on top of the pork belly’s meat side to roll it inside of the pork belly? Sorry, it’s not very clear on the instruction for me. Thanks in advanced for your reply!

  39. 39

    Maria — April 10, 2014 @ 11:02 am

    Is it necessary to rinse your meat after the brining process? Just wondering if it will be too salty.

  40. 40

    Recipe Testing: C’era una volta la ‘turketta’ | Edible*Times — May 26, 2014 @ 12:20 pm

    […] Recipes : Turkey pot pie via BBC Food ~ Asian Inspired Porchetta via theravenouscouple.local ~ The Food Lab: How to Make a Turkey Porchetta via […]

  41. 41

    Linh Kieu — July 7, 2014 @ 1:01 pm

    This looks so good. I made porchetta the other day too and it turned out great. I put it in a 300 degree oven for 1.5-2 hours then finished it off the grill. Tasted amazing with pesto and ciabatta bread.

  42. 42

    Coenie Breytenbach — June 2, 2016 @ 1:01 pm

    After it is baked in the oven, do the following for the crisp crackling.
    Take a small gas torch used by plumbers to solder copper tubing and slowly
    scorch the crackling for about 5 minutes, playing with the flame until it is perfect.

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