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The Perfect Pork Roast with Crispy Crackling

Some of the mysteries of the elusive pork crackling revealed !!!
For some people that crispy pork crackling is difficult to achieve, and certainly many mysteries and recommendations surround its creation. Almost all have merit, but I have tried a few variations to see which one I liked best. This is what I came up with...

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 40 mins per kilo, plus 20 minutes.


INGREDIENTS for SIX PEOPLE
: Meat: One Pork Shoulder Roast, around 200 to 250g per person, to be prepared by Boris and his team, rolled, trussed and scored. The skin must be left on and it must be well scored so that the underlying fat may escape leaving the skin to crisp up on its own.


METHOD
For the Pork: Make sure the skin is dry...this is very important. Some chefs recommend that it is dried off with a hair dryer to leave it bone dry. Then rub with salt, normal table salt or the slightly coarser cooking salt. Do not rub with rock salt, salt cystals or fancy salt flakes. Optionally you may cover the skin with hot vegetable oil before rubbing on the salt. Make sure the salt is well rubbed in, as you will be relying on it to draw the moisture out of the meat under the skin in order to leave it dry for crackling...

Preheat the oven to 220deg C and also preheat the roasting tray. Place the pork roast on the tray and cook for half an hour at this high heat. This will shock the skin into the first part of the crackling process, ensuring it is readied for crispiness !!

Then lower the heat to 160deg C and cook for 40 minutes a kilo, until the skin has turned to crispy crackling and the juices run clear when pricked.

If, for some very strange reason, you still have not got crsipy crackling, then you may finish the skin off under a hot grill until it has browned and crisped up.

OPTIONS... some people recommed that the skin be scalded with boiling hot water before being padded dry and rubbed with salt. I found that this did not make any material difference to the end result. I found that the hair dryer did work well and gave the best results of all.

Pork Belly and Pork Loin will also give you good crackling, but these cuts are more expensive and arguably not worth the extra....

I always make a quick APPLE SAUCE to go with the pork. Skin, core and slice up a couple of apples...any type will do, and put into a frying pan with some butter and a good spoonful of sugar to help the caramelisation process. Cook over a medium heat until the apple is soft and brown. Put the apple in a food processor along with a dash of Worcestershire Sauce, a big teaspoonful of English Mustard, a slosh of wine vinegar and blend to a rough paste. Return to the pan, season and add sugar to taste. It should be sweet and slightly tart at the same time. You may also add honey, or raisins, or soy sauce, or ginger, or even some cinnamon. Pork is rich, so it is a good idea to balance the richness with the slightly tart flavour of the apples.

SERVING!!!! 

Remove the pork roast from the oven and let it sit for half an hour.

Slide a sharp knife under the crackling and run it along underneath in order to remove it. The fat under the skin should have been rendered out through the scores made by the butcher. Try to remove it in one big piece and break it up to suit each person's needs.
Carve up the rest of the roast as you would do normally.

Serve with Apple Sauce (see above), Roast Potatoes, and for vegetables, again it is important to balance the richness of the pork with fresh, sharp tasting veggies such as Mashed Swede, Mashed Celeriac, Braised Cabbage, Roased Red Capsicums. Best of all is arguably Red Cabbage Braised in Vinegar with Raisins.