By way of this serendipitous life I lead, I found myself with both a black bear loin and a couple pieces of wild pork belly in my freezer at the same time. As I was trying to come up with some type of idea for how to cook each of them separately I had a revelation – why not cook them together, in the style of porchetta, a classic Italian preparation for pork belly and pork loin. In coming up with a name for this bear and pig combo I wanted to go with boarchetta, but it didn’t quite work since both the bear and wild pig were of the female persuasion.
There are two keys to pulling off this recipe. One, make sure the pork belly is dry before roasting to get a good, crisp skin. It also wouldn’t hurt to pound it a bit to tenderize it. The second is to monitor the internal temperature closely.
Roasting times will vary greatly depending on how big the bear loin is, so keep a close eye on things to make sure the roast doesn’t get too dry.
1 bear loin
1-2 pieces of pork belly
Kosher salt to taste
2 tbs. peppercorns
2 tbs. fennel seeds
1 tbs. red pepper flakes
1 tbs. rosemary
3 tbs. sage
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 300°.
Generously sprinkle skin side of pork belly with kosher salt, then lay skin-side down.
Toast peppercorns and fennel seeds in a skillet set over medium high heat, about 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar or spice grinder and crush.
Mix peppercorn, fennel seeds and next four ingredients. Generously rub mixture on inside of pork belly.
Center bear loin on top of pork belly and roll belly around the loin. Tie the bearchetta with kitchen twine using this classic technique.
Pat outside of rolled roast dry with paper towels and place into the preheated oven.
Roast 1 ½-2 hours, turning occasionally.
When internal temperature reaches 150°, raise oven temp to 500° and roast 10-15 minutes until skin is crisp.