Porchetta [porˈketta], also sometimes spelled porketta in American English, is a savoury, fatty, and moist boneless pork roast of Italian culinary tradition. The body of the pig is gutted, deboned, arranged carefully with layers of stuffing, meat, fat, and skin, then rolled, spitted, and roasted, traditionally over wood. Porchetta is usually heavily salted in addition to being stuffed with garlic, rosemary, fennel, or other herbs, often wild. Porchetta has been selected by the Italian Ministero delle Politiche Agricole, Alimentari e Forestali as a prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale (“traditional agricultural-alimentary product”, one of a list of traditional Italian foods held to have cultural relevance).
Although popular in the whole country, porchetta originated in central Italy, with Ariccia (in the Province of Rome) being the town most closely associated with it. Elsewhere, it is considered a celebratory dish. Across Italy porchetta is usually sold by pitchmen with their typically white-painted vans, especially during public displays or holidays, and it can be served in a panino. It's a common street food in Rome and Lazio served as a filling for pizza bianca. It is also eaten as a meat dish in many households or as part of a picnic.
Porchetta from Umbria is stuffed with the pig's chopped entrails mixed with lard, garlic, salt and plenty of pepper and wild fennel.
Porchetta trevigiana (from Treviso) was developed in 1919. In it, pig is slaughtered when one year old, then its meat is stuffed with salt, pepper, wild fennel, garlic and white wine. It is then roasted inside an oven for seven hours at 200 °C. The porchetta is today a popular dish in Venetian cuisine.
Porchetta was introduced to the USA by Italian immigrants of the early 20th century, and is sometimes referred to as "Italian pulled pork". It is, in many places, served on a sandwich with greens (broccoli raab or spinach) and—controversially—provolone cheese.
Porchetta is also very popular in Northern Ontario (notably Sudbury) and Southern Ontario (in areas such as Hamilton and St. Catharines), and the term "porchetta" is widely used by Italian-Canadians, instead of simply "roast pork". Porchetta (sometimes spelled "porketta") is also popular in the Upper Midwest, having been brought to the Michigan and Minnesota Iron ranges by Italian immigrants.
The porchetta culture in Sudbury runs perhaps deeper than anywhere outside of its native Italy. Italian settlers passed on their love for porchetta to their children and friends in this region. Old family secrets of spicing, rolling and roasting are passed on, extending commercially into butcher shops as well as in the form of fast-food sandwiches offered in various locally owned shops. "Porketta Bingo", a variation on the traditional Canadian meat draw, is a popular Saturday afternoon activity in Sudbury. Game winners receive one pound of porchetta and a sourdough bun. There are usually between four and seven rounds of six games each, depending on the establishment. Proceeds of Porketta Bingo usually go to a local charity or are donated to local hockey associations.