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Cracking Crackling

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11.04.2006

Advantages:
Tasty and crunchy

Disadvantages:
Salty and fatty

Recommendable Yes:

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Crackling is easily the best thing about roast pork. Here's how I make my crackling:

SELECTING MEAT:

I think the best crackling comes off leg, but if you prefer belly or are affluent enough to get loin, then go for it. The following will still apply.

The joint needs skin and fat on it. Without these, you're never going to get crackling, no matter how hard you try. I try to get a joint with two to three centimetres of fat between the meat and skin.

PREPARE THE SKIN:

Pork must be kept refrigerated. But if you're able to, take the joint out the fridge at least an hour before cooking to let it "warm up" a bit.

Take a sharp knife and score the skin. You should cut quite deep, but not so deep that you reach the meat. Cut a row of slits about two centimetres apart. Next add salt to the skin and rub it in. After this, I leave the joint for about five minutes. The salt will begin to draw moisture from the skin which will make the crackling nice and crisp. After five minutes, return to the meat. It should look as if it's been sweating. Dry it off by dabbing with kitchen roll. I like to add a bit more salt at this stage, just to be sure.

NB Don't salt the raw meat, only the skin. You want to draw the moisture from the skin only, not from the meat itself.

COOK:

Pork needs to be well done. Weigh the meat (or read the label on the packaging) and cook the joint in a pre-heated oven for 35 minutes for every 450g of meat, plus an extra 35 minutes. I think it's best to cook at 220 degrees (gas mark seven) for the first 20 minutes, and then turn the oven down to 180 degrees (gas mark four) for the remaining time. This quickly seals the joint and keeps the meat moist.

At the end of the cooking time, the crackling should be crisp, golden and tasty.


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Comments about this review »

woodnymph 05.05.2006 18:20

Mmm, that pic is making my mouth water. Great review, on one of my fav things!! Must go, I'm salivating too much!! Lol Niki Xx

Sgathach 24.04.2006 15:42

Ashamed to say I've never cooked a joint of pork as I don't like the smell of it cooking, but now I know exactly what to do I may try again. S

coleecip 19.04.2006 14:27

Damn right - that is the way to make crackling - have to reserve myself on crackling as I'll never run / cycle again if I have to much, but this review is perfect. So easy to get it all wrong. Happy Days - Lord Platinum

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