We’ve scoured the internet and researched what the experts say when cooking a roast pork, and the following 7 tips come up time and time again, as “must-dos” to produce the perfect crackling…
- Score the rind at around 1cm intervals or a finger width apart with long slits across the full length of the rind. This helps the heat penetrate the fat as it bubbles up through the cuts, and then bastes the top during cooking. Be careful not to cut too deep that it cuts into the meat, because juices then escape, making it less tender. The reason you should cut the rind before any other preparation, is because it hasn’t started to dry out yet, so the rind is still relatively soft and easy to score.
- Using a really sharp knife, such as a Stanley knife, makes a big difference. It will ensure you achieve clean, straight cuts through the rind and fat, to allow the salt and oil to get in more effectively.
- Once you’ve scored the rind, boil the jug, put the roast on a rack in the sink and pour the boiling water all over the pork, which shrinks the skin where the scoring is, helping heat, salt and oil penetrate deeper once you get to step 5. Try to avoid pouring onto any exposed meat, as it will just dry out.
- Now you need to dry it out. Wipe it dry first with paper towel. Pop it into the fridge on a plate uncovered for a day or two before you roast it! You’ll be amazed at the difference this one simple trick makes!
- Once it’s had a day or two in the fridge and you’re ready to cook it, lather the outside with salt and oil. How you apply the salt and oil is just as important as the other tips listed here, to get the perfect crackling. Make sure you get the salt into the slits of the score marks. The fat under the rind reacts with the salt, and makes the skin puff up and become crispy. If you don’t take the time to rub the salt in properly, the crackling will have that chewy texture.
- Now the pork is ready to cook, but there’s another trick to follow here, to get even better crackling. Always start with high heat, to get the crackling going! Try 20-30 minutes at 220c-240c then reduce the temperature to a medium heat for the remainder of the cooking (170-190C).
- Once cooked, leave the meat to stand away from the heat on a bench somewhere, for 10-20 minutes, uncovered. The juices, which have been driven to the centre of the meat during cooking, will then redistribute back through the meat, so that it loses less juice when you cut it and be more tender and juicier. (If you cover the roast in foil, the steam gets trapped around the pork and the crackling loses it’s crunch!)
Follow these tips, and you’ll be amazed at how amazing pork crackling can taste. Enjoy!