How to make perfect pork crackling

Who doesn't love golden, crunchy pork crackling? We show you exactly how it's done with these must-know steps. It's a great one for entertaining.  


The first thing to do is to get the pork into a roasting pan or a rimmed baking tray. For the rind to crackle, it’s essential to get it really dry - so pat it dry with paper towel. 


Check the scoring on the pork (the little incisions that have been made into the rind). You’ll need a sharp knife or a new box cutter for this. Even if the roast comes pre-scored, deepen those cuts and add more. The more scores you make, the crispier the crackling, so don't be scared to cut them quite close to each other. Aim for close parallel lines. Make sure you’re cutting through the skin of the pork and into the fat, but not so deep that you cut into the meat. To check, see if you can spread the cut open like that. This is going to let the fat from the pork render while it cooks. 


Next, it’s a good idea to air-dry the pork. This just means putting it in the fridge uncovered to rest and dry out. Overnight is good –aim for at least 12 hours and up to 48 hours. Remember, the rind has got to be beautifully dry for perfect crackling. 


Rub sea salt flakes all over the rind that you’ve scored and into the cuts. This isn’t just to add flavour – the salt is going to draw out moisture and dry out the rind as it cooks. That’s what’s going to give you super crispy crackling. So be generous and rub it in everywhere. 


Make sure the rack is in the centre of the oven, then preheat it to 150 degrees Celsius or 130 degrees if you’re using a fan-forced oven. You probably know that to get your pork to puff up and crackle, you need to blast it with high heat. Start by slow-roasting the pork, so the rind will dry out even more while the meat stays tender and juicy. Get your pork in the oven and roast it for 2 to 2½ hours. The best way to test it is with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the centre – it should read 50 degrees Celsius. 


Once you’ve taken the pork out, turn the oven up to 250 degrees. It needs to be this hot for the rind to puff up and crackle. You’ll see there’s a lot fat that has rendered out of the pork and into the roasting pan. Pour that off before you put the pork back in the oven. Then roast it for another 30 minutes. It’s ready when the rind is crisp and crackling and the internal temperature reaches 60 degrees. 


All that’s left to do is get it onto a carving board and let it rest for about 15 minutes. It’s important to rest meat after roasting to keep it succulent and juicy. Then grab a serrated knife to get through that crackling easily and cut the pork into slices, about 2 centimetres thick. And before you serve it up, get yourself a little taste of that beautiful crackling.

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