Kitchen Tips

Crunch Time: How to Get The Crispiest Pork Crackling

We’ve all been there. You’ve spent hours trying to cook the perfect roast pork –you know the one, where the meat is tender and juicy while the crackling is bubbled and blistered to golden crackling perfection – but all too often the crackling falls short, coming out chewy and fatty rather than shatteringly crisp.

To help avoid looks of disappointment next time you serve your Sunday roast, we’ve researched two cooking methods for your crispiest pork crackling yet.

Roasted Pork Belly Recipe

Chinese-style roasted pork belly

Make like the barbecue masters of Hong Kong with this Chinese technique for roasted pork belly.

1. Cook pork belly in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Make a seasoning mix by combining 150g oyster sauce, 2 tsp salt, ½ tsp five-spice powder, 2 tbs shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine) and 2 litres of water in a larger saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes.
3. Add drained pork belly to seasoning and cook for 45 minutes.
4. Remove from seasoning and allow to drain on paper towel.
5. Use a metal skewer to pierce the skin of the cooked pork belly.
6. Preheat oven to the highest setting.
7. Wrap the pork belly meat in aluminium foil, leaving the skin exposed on top.
8. Sprinkle the skin with a thick layer of coarse sea salt.
9. Roast at highest temperature for 25 minutes.
10. Remove pork from oven, then remove and discard salt, taking care to scratch out any burnt skin.
11. Return the pork to the oven for a further 40 minutes or until the skin is golden, crisp and bubbled.

Classic roast pork shoulder

This versatile method works a treat on pork shoulder, and is also handy for pork loin or rack, although these two cuts are leaner and so require a shorter cooking time.

1. Place the pork, skin-side up, on a clean work surface. Using a sharp Stanley knife, make 1cm incisions in the skin – take care to cut through the fat, but try not to cut the meat. (You can ask your butcher to score the skin for you if you like.)

2. Pat the pork dry with paper towel. Rub coarse sea salt into the skin and slits. If time permits, leave in the fridge overnight.
3. Remove the salt with paper towel, then rub olive oil and lemon juice into the skin and slits.
4. Preheat the oven to the highest setting. Cook the pork for 30 minutes or until the skin is blistered and golden. Reduce the heat to 160°C and cook for 2-6 hours (shorter for loin and rack; longer for shoulder) until
the meat is cooked through.
5. Turn the heat to 180°C for the final 10 minutes to re-crisp the skin, taking care not to burn the pork.

For more professional kitchen tips, learn how to make dumplings from scratch, butterfly a chicken, and cut vegetables like a pro.

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