Ask anyone, and they’ll say the best part of a roast pork loin or rolled pork belly is the crackling. Crisp, crunchy and tooth-breakingly good, pork crackling is the coveted prize. But when it comes to your festive roast pork, how do you get good crackling?
Score for the win!
You want to start with a good-quality piece of pork loin that is already scored. If it’s not already scored, ask your butcher to do this for you as they’re more likely to have a knife sharp to cut through the skin – and are more skilled at scoring to boot.
If for whatever reason you need to score the pork yourself, you’ll need a very sharp knife. Some people swear by a Stanley knife as being the best tool for the job. You want to cut long lines across the skin, cutting down to the fat (but not as far as the flesh). Keep lines about a finger width apart.
Give it a scalding
Although everyone will tell you that the skin needs to be absolutely dry for good crackling, pouring boiling water over the skin is considered an essential part too. So pop the kettle on, place the pork skin-side up on a tray in a baking dish and pour the boiling water over the skin. You’ll see the scored skin open up ready to be salted. Drain well.
Dry as a bone
Now that the skin has had a nice warm bath. It’s time to get rid of all that moisture. Pat it dry with paper towel. Some people even pull out the hairdryer to make sure the skin is properly dry and moisture free.
Once you’ve dried it, pop it in the fridge for at least 4 hours, overnight if you can afford the time, so that the skin is as dry as possible.
If you don’t have time to refrigerate the pork after you’ve poured boiling water over the skin, then just ensure it’s completely dry before you cook it.
Give it a good rub
Just before you’re ready to cook the pork, rub salt and oil into the skin. You want to use a good amount of salt and properly massage it into the skin and the scored areas.
Turn up the heat
If you want that pork skin to blister and crackle, then you need make sure the oven is hot hot hot! Preheat your oven to 250°C or 230°C fan-forced. You want to cook the pork at this high temperature for about 30 minutes to get that crackling happening. Then drop the temperature to continue to cook the pork through.
How do you get good crackling?
If you follow the above tips and techniques, you’ll be enjoying crispy crackling with your next pork roast. Here are a couple of recipes and step-by-step videos to help you get perfect pork crackling every time.
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