The joy of pork crackling is in the wonderful texture – burnished gold and blistered to the touch, it should be as dry and crisp as the best kettle chip.
We asked chef and food writer Tess Ward to show us how to make pork crackling perfect every time.
Try your hand at this awesome slow cooked pork with apples and a cider sauce.
The Cut Pork Belly, 1.5kg
Prep To get the ultimate pork crackling, start off by pouring just boiled water over your pork to help dry out the skin. Leave for a few seconds then pat the meat dry with a little paper towel. This will encourage the pork to shrink back from the rind giving you a crispier pork crackling.
Scoring Using a small knife, score the pork fat in a criss-cross pattern, being careful not to go into the actual meat. This allows the heat right into the fat giving you a really crispy pork crackling.
Seasoning To make pork crackling the seasoning is everything. The Sea Salt draws out any excess moisture and helps to flavour the crackling. Vigorously massage sea salt into every nook and cranny of your pork and finish off with a light coating of oil. Ideally cook straight away, but if you need to wait don’t cover your pork, otherwise the meat sweats and ruins your perfect crackling.
Cooking Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7/475ºF and transfer the pork belly to the roasting tin. Sit the pork onto of a couple of thinly sliced onions and pour 350ml of cider or stock into the base of the tin to help keep the meat moist and make a perfect gravy later. Cover with foil and put into the hot oven. Reduce the heat to 150°C/gas mark 2/300ºF and cook for 3 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling apart.
Finish off The crackling won’t be much to report just yet. But to make the perfect pork crackling, remove the pork from the oven and crack the heat up to full. Whack the trey back into the oven and cook for a further ½ hour to crisp up the skin to a crunchy golden pork crackling perfection.
For more information visit tessward.com