I don't understand people who don't like crackling. What's not to love?
The earth-trembling shatter as you take that first bite, the footsteps-on-gravel-crunch as it turns into smithereens, the smatterings of salt you have to lick from the corners of your lips... oh yeah, baby.
And yet, when faced with cooking a roast pork yourself, the pressure to make the perfect sheet of crackling is unbelievably intense. A moisture-infused rack of pork--courtesy of Australian Pork [yes I really am trying to work on my back-log of posts!]--deserved a crackling show-stopper.
How to make roast pork crackling
Ask the internet "how to make roast pork crackling" and the answers are endless. Everyone says you must score the skin and you must use salt. Beyond that, the variations are endless. A selection of options include:
1. score skin and salt, dry it overnight in the fridge, remove moisture from skin, rub with oil then cook
2. score skin and salt, dry it overnight in the fridge, remove moisture from skin, rub with oil, seal the pork in a pan until skin caramelises and then cook
3. score skin, rub in oil, add salt and cook
4. score skin, pour boiling water over the skin (once or several times, depending on advice), rub in oil then salt and cook
5. score skin, boil the whole piece of pork, dry it overnight in the fridge, remove moisture from skin, rub with oil then salt and cook
6. score skin, do a spice rub on the meat and cold age in the fridge for three days, keeping the skin dry. Sprinkle the salt on the skin just before cooking. Make sure the salt doesn't dissolve. Cook at 220C for 20min then turn heat down and continue until cooked (suggested by 2-minute Noodle Cook)
7. Score the skin and then salt, drying it out in the fridge overnight. Just before cooking, pour over a full kettle of boiling water to open up the scoring. Rub with salt flakes (not table salt) and oil before roasting (suggested by Tina)
When it comes to cooking, there are suggestions to:
a) keep the skin on, cooking it at high heat (220C) for 20 minutes then turn down to 180C-200C and cook for 45-60min
b) keep the skin on, cover the skin with foil, cook it at 180C for 60min then remove the foil and cook at 220C for 20 min
c) remove the skin, place it directly onto the wire rack above the roast, cook at 220C for about 20min and then turn down to 180C-200C for 45-60min
Z) cook the pork on a rack above water
Y) cook the pork in a tray with water
I ended up doing option 1a, and because my oven is a bit temperamental at the moment, I put it under the grill towards the end to really push the crackling as much possible.
Because I had them in my pantry and they needed eating, I served my roast pork and crispy roast potatoes with a side of chokos. I'm quite a fan of chokos, their mild sweetness reminding me of pear.
There are constant jokes about chokos being used as apple substitutes in McDonald apple pies. It's an urban myth, they say, with the rumour never substantiated, but the link between chokos and apples gave me an idea...
Brien maple syrup
Maple syrup choko fries
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
2-3 teaspoons vegetable oil
Peel your chokos. To avoid the sticky skin on your fingers, use gloves when peeling, or peel the chokos whilst they are submerged in water in the sink.
Cut the chokos in half and remove the seed and surrounding membrane if mature. Slice into batons or fries.
Transfer the choko fries to a hot fry pan with a splash of oil. Pour in a few tablespoons of water and move the chokos around so they are all moistened.
Add a splosh of maple syrup, depending on how sweet you like your chokos. Remember the flavour will intensify and you can always add more later.
Turn the heat up to high and allow the chokos to cook through and caramelise.
Served as a side to roast pork.
Maple syrup choko fries
The maple syrup came courtesy of Brien in Quebec, Canada, a sample box of products that included maple sugar, maple chips, maple butter and maple candies. The smell of the maple sugar is particularly intoxicating. Taste-wise I though the Brien maple syrup had a lighter, more pronounced toffee flavour than the Camp and Queen maple syrups. The Queen maple syrup almost has a coffee-like smokiness to it by comparison.
I found the maple syrup worked well with the chokos which took the place of my usual apple sauce accompaniment to roast pork. It's a vegetable and condiment replacement in one. Or perhaps serve it with vanilla ice cream and turn it into dessert!
What's your recommendation on how to make the best pork crackling?
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8/08/2009 12:17:00 am