Iron Range Porketta Sandwiches
Note: Plan ahead as this takes at least 6 hours for the spices to do their magic. From “Big Flavors From Italian America,” by America’s Test Kitchen.
• 3 tbsp. fennel seeds, cracked
• 1 tbsp. salt
• 2 tsp. pepper
• 2 tsp. granulated garlic
• 1 (5-lb.) boneless pork butt roast, trimmed
• 1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded, bulb halved, cored, and chopped
• 8 crusty sandwich rolls
Combine fennel seeds, salt, pepper and granulated garlic in bowl.
Slice through pork parallel to counter, stopping 1/2 inch from edge, then open meat flat like a book. Cut 1/4-inch-deep slits, spaced 1 inch apart, in crosshatch pattern on both sides of roast. Rub roast all over with spice mixture, taking care to work spices into crosshatch. Wrap roast tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.
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 until meat registers 200 degrees and fork slips easily in and out of meat, 3 to 4 hours.
Transfer pork to carving board and let rest for 30 minutes. Strain liquid in roasting pan through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator; discard solids.
Shred pork into bite-size pieces, return to pan, and toss with 1/2 cup defatted cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide meat among rolls and serve.