Cooking a delicious porketta roast purchased from the store is easy with just a few simple steps. In this article, we will walk through everything you need to know to make this tasty Italian seasoned pork roast at home.
What is Porketta?
Porketta is an Italian pork roast that is seasoned with herbs and spices and then roasted until fall-apart tender. The typical seasonings used are rosemary, garlic, fennel seed, salt, and pepper. This gives the pork a distinct Mediterranean flavor profile.
Porketta can be made using a pork shoulder, also called a Boston butt, or a pork loin. It is roasted low and slow which helps break down the connective tissues in the meat resulting in a tender, juicy roast full of flavor.
This recipe has become popular for celebrations like Christmas, Easter, or other special gatherings. The delicious aromas from the roast and unique seasoning make it a standout dish.
Benefits of Cooking a Store Bought Porketta
There are several advantages to purchasing a pre-made porketta roast versus making it completely from scratch:
- Saves prep time – The pork is already seasoned so you skip this time-consuming step.
- Consistent flavor – Store bought porkettas use tried and true recipes to deliver optimal taste every time.
- Less waste – Pre-made roasts have removed excess fat and bone already.
- Easy to cook – You simply throw in the oven for a few hours.
- Convenient – Finding a high-quality cut of pork, trimming, seasoning and tying it yourself takes considerable effort.
Purchasing a pre-made porketta roast allows you to skip right to the easy cooking steps. You’ll end up with a flavorful roast worthy of any special occasion.
Choosing the Best Store Bought Porketta
Not all store bought porketta roasts are created equal. Here are tips for selecting the best one:
- Check the label – Look for all-natural pork without injections or added fluids.
- Examine the seasoning – You should see specks of fennel, rosemary, garlic and pepper.
- Look for good marbling – Some fat streaking through the meat ensures juicy results.
- Choose the right size – Pick a 2-3 lb roast for 4-6 servings.
- Consider boneless – This eliminates carving and speeds cooking.
- Watch the sell-by date – Try to cook within 4-5 days for maximum freshness.
The butcher counter at your local grocery store is a great place to find high-quality porketta roasts. Let the butcher know when you need it and they can provide recommendations based on your specifications.
How to Cook a Store Bought Porketta Roast
Preparing a store bought porketta roast is simple. Follow these easy steps for perfect results:
- 2-3 lb porketta roast
- Olive oil
- Chicken stock or broth
- Fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage)
- Roasting pan
- Meat thermometer
- Aluminum foil
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Remove porketta from packaging and pat dry with paper towels.
- Place porketta roast in a roasting pan. Rub all over with olive oil. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part.
- Pour 1 cup chicken stock or broth into the bottom of the pan. Add fresh herbs on top and around the roast if desired.
- Roast for approximately 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F for medium doneness. Baste and add more broth as needed to prevent drying out.
- Once the desired temperature is reached, tent foil loosely over the roast and let rest 15 minutes before slicing.
- Transfer roasted porketta to a cutting board. Slice across the grain into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick pieces. Serve warm with pan juices for moist and tender meat.
Use these general roasting times as a guide:
|Roast Weight||Uncooked Time|
|2 pounds||1 1/2 to 2 hours|
|3 pounds||2 to 2 1/2 hours|
|4 pounds||2 1/2 to 3 hours|
Always rely on a meat thermometer for doneness rather than time. Roasts often cook faster or slower than the estimates.
Serve Porketta 3 Ways
The simple flavors of porketta roast shine when served:
On sandwiches –
Sliced porketta, crusty bread, provolone cheese, onion, lettuce, and tomato make an Italian style roast beef sandwich. Add condiments like mustard, mayo or balsamic glaze.
With sides –
Pair slices of porketta with roasted potatoes or pasta tossed with extra virgin olive oil. Add sauteed spinach or other vegetables too.
As an appetizer –
Slice the roast very thin and serve on crackers or crostini topped with caramelized onions or peppers for an easy appetizer.
Get creative with how you use up leftover porketta. It makes excellent pizza or quesadilla fillings. The flavors even hold up well in fried rice or pasta dishes.
Storing and Freezing Porketta
Properly stored, porketta roast will keep for 3 to 4 days refrigerated. Be sure to tightly wrap any uneaten portions.
For longer storage, freeze extra porketta in an airtight freezer bag for 2 to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating gently in the oven or on the stovetop with a little broth.
Slice and freeze any individual portions to grab for quick sandwiches or appetizers. The meat holds up well to freezing.
Is porketta already cooked?
No, store bought porketta is raw. It needs to roast in the oven for at least 2 hours until it reaches the safe internal temperature of 145°F. purchasing pre-seasoned pork helps speed the prep work.
Can you cook porketta from frozen?
It’s best to thaw porketta completely before cooking. But in a pinch, add at least an extra hour to the roasting time for a frozen roast, checking often with a meat thermometer for doneness. The center will take longer to come up to temp.
What if my porketta is too salty?
Some store bought porkettas are saltier than others depending on the seasonings used. To counteract excess saltiness, serve with lightly dressed sides and garnishes instead of adding more salt. Acidic components like tomatoes or lemon can also help balance the flavor. And be sure to let people know salt is in the rub so they taste first before automatically salting their meal.
Can you use a pork loin instead?
Pork loin is leaner than a shoulder roast. It will still work but the meat may end up slightly drier. Compensate by basting more frequently and pulling it out of the oven when it hits 140°F for a tender, juicy loin roast.
What side dishes go well with porketta?
Here are some excellent sides to serve with porketta:
- Roasted or mashed potatoes
- Pasta with olive oil or tomato sauce
- Sauteed broccoli rabe
- Sauteed spinach with garlic
- Roasted root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, beets
- Steamed green beans
- Dinner rolls or focaccia bread
Choose sides that complement the Italian seasoning on the roast. Starchy carbs, bright vegetables and greens are all great pairings.
With a quality store bought porketta roast and this simple cooking method, you’ll enjoy mouthwatering Italian-seasoned pork for any occasion. Just pop it in the oven, let it cook low and slow, and soon your kitchen will smell amazing. Slice up the insanely tender porketta and serve for a fabulous, flavorful meal that tastes like you spent all day cooking.