How to get crispy pork crackling
Anyone who’s ever made a pork roast can tell you that the biggest disappointment is if the crackling doesn’t come out crispy. Avoid soggy, chewy pork rinds and get crunchy crackling every time with these simple tips.
1. Score the skin carefully
Score the skin every 1-2cm, just cutting through the skin. Avoid cutting all the way through the white fat and into the pink meat at all costs! Wherever you accidentally cut into the meat, the juices will bubble up and you’ll have a soggy spot of skin. Avoid this by using a very sharp small knife, or ask your butcher to do it. You can leave the skin unscored too.
Note: Sometimes, supermarkets will pre-score the skin for you. This is great if done right, but if they cut too deep you won’t know until you bring it home. Purchase at a butcher or at the deli section to make sure the skin is intact.
2. Dry out the skin
Unwrap your pork, pat it dry and it and leave it uncovered in a deep tray in the fridge – skin side up. Do this at least two hours before cooking, or up to 24 hours ahead.
3. Season with oil and salt
For this step, it's best to get your hands dirty to ensure the oil and salt are evenly spread over all of the skin, including in the scores (if you've scored it). Use about two tablespoons of oil and one to two tablespoons of salt. This not only seasons the roast, but the salt helps to create puffy crackling, so make sure to coat every part of the skin thoroughly.
4. Properly preheat the oven
High heat is the final key to pork crackling. Don’t rush the process at the final hurdle, let the oven preheat for at least 20 minutes to 230°C. Put the pork in quickly but carefully so the oven stays hot. Depending on the size of your meat, it can take between 30-50 minutes to crisp up completely. Watch to see when the crackling has puffed up, then turn down the oven to 160°C finish cooking.
Extra tips: Calculate cook time by adding 25 minutes for every 500g of pork. The internal temperature will read 63-65°C once cooked.
The great thing about crispy pork crackling is how it contrasts with the juicy, tender meat. The recipe below includes a stuffing that not only helps keep the pork succulent inside, but it also adds amazing flavour. Plus, there are glazed apples and seasonal fruits to serve alongside the pork, which provide that delicious sweet and savoury balance that make pork roasts so fantastic.
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