We’re asked so many times, “how do you make crackling”? The answer is this:
- Make sure the fat is well scored on top of the joint of pork. Ask your butcher to do this, or if you’ve purchased a joint of pork from your local supermarket and it hasn’t been scored, be very careful and use a sharp knife to create scorelines about 10 – 15mm apart across the pork. You can also go in the opposite direction to create small squares. Be careful not to cut all the way through the skin and into the pork.
- Rub a good dose of ground sea salt mixed with oil into the fat. Try and get it in between all the score marks. The oil will help dry the skin out more. If you can, it is best to do this 24 hours before you intend to cook the pork. If you’re not ready to cook, place in the fridge until you are ready to turn the oven on.
- Place in the centre of your pre-heated oven and cook at the recommended temperature for the joint you are using and for as long as is recommended. Many people turn the heat up at the start of cooking to try encourage the crackling. This doesn’t work and you run the risk more of over-cooking your meat. Test the meat throughout cooking and 10 minutes before it is ready turn the temperature up.
Tip: If the meat is ready and you still don’t have crackling, don’t leave the pork in the oven. You will simply end up with dry pork. Take the pork our and with a sharp knife, carefully run the knife around between the top of the meat and the underside of the crackling to remove the crackling from the pork. Place the crackling on an ovenproof tray and place back in the oven (uncovered) until you’re happy with the crackling.
How will I know if the crackling isn’t ready?
To test whether you have crackling, simply tap on the top with your finger, if it is hard then you have crackling, if there is any softness, it isn’t ready.
What is the best pork to use for crackling?
Crackling is simply the skin/fat of the pork that is dried with salt and cooked. So therefore you can get crackling from most joints of pork where you have fat. However, the top four are the leg, shoulder, loin and my personal favourite – the belly. The belly and the shoulder are best with a longer, slower cooking process so coupled with the crackling you also have the succulent, juicy, tender pork flavour.
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