The first rule of crackling club is that dryness is everything. At every stage you will do things to ensure moisture is banished from the skin. First, you’ll pat dry the meat with paper towel before you begin your prep. Next comes the scoring. Don’t be afraid to get busy with a very sharp knife or a clean box-cutter. The more parallel lines you have cut into your skin the crunchier your crackling will be so don’t hold back but do avoid cutting too deep and striking the meat below the fat.
Now for the ultimate crunch factor you’ll want to do this prep up to 48 hours in advance of your meal, putting the meat uncovered in the fridge to really dry out. Overnight is a good option too if you’re pressed for time. And don’t forget the salt. The salt also draws out moisture as the meat cooks so generously season the meat and skin, rubbing it into the score marks.
A low oven to begin banishes the last of the moisture standing between you and perfect crackling over two and half hours, but the final step involves a half-hour sentence in a very every hot oven to allow the skin to puff up. Hot tip for home players: pour off the excess fat from roasting before putting the meat back in the hot oven to prevent messy splattering. Rest your roast for 15 minutes, carve and serve, maybe with killer rosemary and garlic roast potatoes.
Pork is a meat that does its best work when given lots of time to get meltingly soft over heat, like in these Sticky Asian pork ribs, which spend two and half hours in the oven, or pulled pork, which takes three hours over low heat to become tender enough to shred apart with a fork for tacos, nachos or burgers.
Fancy some pork right now? You can’t go past a bacon butty with tomato sauce – ready in minutes and always delicious.