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Iron Range Porketta


Serves 8

Pork butt roast is often labeled Boston butt in the supermarket. This recipe calls for granulated garlic, which has a well-rounded garlic flavor. It is golden and the texture of table salt. Garlic powder is paler, with the texture of flour, and can be acrid. Don’t confuse the two or substitute garlic powder in this recipe. To crack the fennel seeds, spread them on a cutting board, place a skillet on top, and press down firmly with both hands. The porketta tastes best when the raw meat sits for a full 24 hours with the spices.

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  • 3 tablespoons fennel seeds, cracked
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 (5-pound) boneless pork butt roast, trimmed
  • 1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded, bulb halved, cored, and chopped
  • 8 crusty sandwich rolls


Adapted from


Step 1

1. Combine fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons pepper, and garlic in bowl. Butterfly pork and cut 1-inch crosshatch pattern, ¼ inch deep, on both sides of roast. Rub pork all over with spice mixture, taking care to work spices into crosshatch. Wrap meat tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 or up to 24 hours.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Unwrap meat and place in roasting pan, fat side down. Spread chopped fennel evenly over top of roast. Cover ­roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil. Roast pork until temperature registers 200 degrees and fork slips easily in and out of meat, 3 to 4 hours.

3. Transfer pork to carving board and let rest for 30 minutes. Strain liquid in roasting pan through fat separator. Shred pork into bite-size pieces, return to pan, and toss with ½ cup defatted cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide meat among rolls and serve.

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