Iron Range Porchetta (or porketta) seasoning is boldly flavorful, consisting of a bevy of Italian herbs and spices including basil, rosemary, and oregano that is traditionally used to season pork - but is also wonderful on beef, chicken, and turkey.
The single greatest culinary delight my husband introduced me to was Iron Range Porchetta (Porketta). I grew up in a part of Minnesota where it just didn’t exist (that I can recall). And it wasn’t until fairly recently that I’ve started to see it pop up on menus around the Twin Cities.
I love bold flavors and Iron Range Porchetta Seasoning is this earthy, Italian herb bomb. The basil, the rosemary, the oregano, the fennel! It’s so incredibly amazing, a bevy of Italian seasonings brought together to create one seriously stellar seasoning mix.
What is Porchetta?
Porchetta (or porketta) is most universally known as an Italian roasted pork dish, prepared with skin-on pork belly rolled into a roulade, spiked with bold seasonings including rosemary and fennel, and roasted to achieve a lovely crackling crust (as in this authentic Italian porchetta recipe).
My introduction to porchetta was Iron Range Porchetta, which is more a reference to the seasoning than the preparation.
What is Iron Range Porchetta Seasoning?
I first encountered porchetta in a grocery store called Zup’s on the Iron Range in the meat section as an aggressively seasoned pork butt. It was coated in porchetta “grass”, ready to be taken home, cooked, and eaten.
You can of course just purchase the porchetta seasoning, aka “the grass” on its own. The grass contains a host of beautiful Italian seasonings including fennel seeds, as well as dried parsley, oregano, and basil. Zup’s doesn’t let you in on how exactly the (porchetta) sausage is made. But after dabbling in making my own I’ve come up with a seasoning mix I’m quite fond of and hope you will be too. And if you’re feeling zesty, the addition of red pepper flakes heats things up (credit goes to Zup’s on this as well, upon falling in love with their spicy porchetta pork butts).
How do you make Iron Range Porchetta Seasoning?
And why have I been referring to it as “grass”? Porchetta seasoning is primarily made up of dried herbs - basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, etc. But it also contains seasonings that are physically smaller in size; a salt and pepper mix. You want to keep these separate from the “grass” as they will fall to the bottom of your seasoning container, resulting in uneven seasoning when using.
It’s best to keep the grass and salt and pepper seasoning in separate containers and make their use a 2-step process. Step one; liberally coat your protein with the grass. Step two; sprinkle on some salt and pepper mix.
To make my version of Iron Range Porchetta Seasoning, you will need the following ingredients. The red pepper flakes are optional here but highly recommended if you want to add some heat. You will also need two small containers to store the “grass” and the salt and pepper mix separately.
This porchetta seasoning recipe makes enough to season approximately three 3-4 pound pork butts.
How to Make Porketta Seasoning - INGREDIENTS
The Porchetta "Grass"
- 3 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 3 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 3 teaspoons dried celery
- 3 teaspoons dried parsley
- 2 ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes (optional)
The Porchetta Salt & Pepper Mix
How to Make Porketta Seasoning - DIRECTIONS
Add the basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, fennel seeds, dried celery, parsley, and red pepper flakes (optional) to a small lidded container. Shake to combine.
Add the onion salt, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper to a small lidded container. Shake to combine.
When ready to use, apply the grass first, followed by the salt and pepper mix.
A Note on Authenticity
This recipe isn’t claiming to be authentic; it’s more like authentic-adjacent. My recipe is heavier on the basil and fennel seeds than other recipes I’ve come across, simply because I prefer it. And as someone who loves spice, the red pepper flakes add a fiery new dimension.
How do you use Iron Range Porchetta Seasoning?
Traditionally, porchetta seasoning is used on pork. I typically use it to season pork butts before tossing them into my slow cooker or instant pot. But I can attest that it’s fantastic on chicken and turkey, as well as beef roasts.
To use, liberally apply the “grass” to the outside of your protein of choice. It’s especially okay to go heavy-handed on roasts. Then sprinkle on some salt and pepper mix, using restraint so you don’t overdo it.
I’m still exploring Iron Range Porchetta Seasoning applications, but I have to say a favorite is using leftover porchetta pulled pork as a taco and/or quesadilla meat. MMMMM.
And if you're looking for a thoughtful gift for someone, whip them up some of this porchetta seasoning. And gift it in a fancy seasoning jar or shaker.
A Spelling Speculation - Porchetta or Porketta?
Porchetta or Porketta? Why the different spellings? I have yet to unearth a solid answer on this but here is my speculation. Pork-etta is the correct pronunciation, and pork is also the protein that is traditionally used in the dish. It makes a practical sort of sense to call it “porketta.” I refer to it as Porchetta because that's how I've commonly seen it spelled on the Iron Range.
Porchetta Seasoning Storage
Store porchetta seasoning and salt and pepper mix in separate lidded containers in a cool, dark place, like a cabinet or drawer. For best results, use within a year.
If you like this, you'll also like:
- Instant Pot Porchetta Roast
- Porchetta Seasoned Pepitas
- Pepita Pesto
- Spicy Adobo Seasoning
- Roasted Garlic Chimichurri
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Iron Range Porchetta Seasoning
The Porchetta "Grass"
- Add the basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, fennel seeds, dried celery, parsley, and red pepper flakes (optional) to a small lidded container. Shake to combine.
- Add the onion salt, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper to a small lidded container. Shake to combine.
- When ready to use, apply the grass first, followed by the salt and pepper mix.