Wednesday, July 08, 2009

1001 Kitchen Tips # 50 - How to make crispy crackling

Everyone (bar possibly vegetarians, pescetarians and vegans) loves crispy crackling - but how do you get it crispy everyone always wants to know.
If you are roasting your pork you'll need to score the skin really well with a sharp knife (butchers use a stanley knife for this), and salt it well - the salt brings out the moisture - and it's that moisture which will stop the crackling from crackling.

If you load up your oven with roast pork, roast potatoes and roast vegetables you're going to create a lot of steam - as outlined in an ealier kitchen tip, and the crackling needs dry heat.

There are several ways you can get round this:

  • I cook it seperately. Esepcially when barbecuing pork. Trim the skin and a little fat from the pork before you cook it. Cut it into strips and cook it in the oven on a baking tray on it's own on high heat - 240 oC. You can also do this under the grill but you have to watch it doesn't burn.
  • Sue, who works in the farm shop at Home Farm where I get most of my meat these days suggested cutting up the skin as above and mixing with the potatoes when roasting so the fat renders as it cooks, then both the potatoes and the crackling crisp up. I have yet to try that - but it sounds so good. These would need high heat too - see roast potatoes.

  • If you've left the crackling on your pork joint while roasting and it hasn't crisped up you can carve off the un-crackled crackling and finish it under a hot grill...... or microwave it. I know what you're going to say - but it works. If the crackling hasn't crisped up you can blast it in the microwave like cheese crisps and it crisps up. Haven't tried it for c. 13 years, but I remember it working on busy Sunday lunch services at Goblets.

One more thing - when cooking a whole pig, possibly the tastiest part of the whole animal is the snout, ears and trotters - try them next time.

3 comments:

History of Greek Food said...

Thank you, maestro!
And yes, ears and trotters are simply the most delicious part of the pig.

James said...

Still working myself up to the eyes......

Jan said...

Yum - I know it doesn't do you a bit of good but I LOVE crackling!