How to crack crackling in four simple steps; ensuring that you have the perfect roast pork. We've used boned and rolled pork belly here, but these crackling tips apply to any fatty pork joints for roasting that you want a good crackle on.
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Here's how you do it
Four things to bear in mind when wanting the perfect crackling are; moisture, temperature, scoring and salting. The joint needs to be as dry as possible, so take the meat out of its packaging the night before serving, put on a plate and leave uncovered in the fridge overnight. Fridge air is very drying. You could also use a hairdryer (on the cold setting!) to draw the moisture out; it's always a comical sight in the kitchen.
Preheat the oven to 250°C; the oven needs to be scorching hot at first to get the best crackling.
Score the fat: get a good score by using a sharp knife to cut lines into the fat; about a fingers width apart. Careful not to go too deep; you don’t want to score the meat, just the fat. During cooking, when the fat starts to melt, it will seep through to the meat to moisten it beautifully.
Salt the joint liberally; salt helps to draw out even more moisture (remember moisture is the enemy here). Massage a handful of sea salt into the fat, once it’s been scored, to get the maximum benefits.
Now time for the roasting. Put the joint into a roasting dish and roast at 250°C for the first 20 minutes, then turn it down to 190°C for the remaining time, in this case for a further 30 minutes. Take out of the oven and rest for 10 minutes before serving.