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How to make pork crackling

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Discover how to achieve perfectly crisp crackling on your Sunday lunch roast pork by scoring, rubbing, roasting and carving

Learn how to get the perfect crispy pork crackling with our step-by-step video. We've used a rolled loin joint, but the same method can be applied to any piece of pork with skin that you want to make into crackling, including pork leg, shoulder or pork belly.

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How to make pork crackling

  1. Brush the skin liberally with oil – as the pork cooks, this will render the fat out of the skin and encourage it to blister
  2. Season with salt
  3. Score the skin with a sharp knife, being careful not to go through to the meat – this helps the fat escape during cooking
  4. Pat the skin dry, then rub with salt and oil – this again helps the fat render, but also pushes the skin to puff up and crisp
  5. Weigh the joint to determine the correct cooking time. Roast for 25 mins at 240C/220C fan/gas 9, then turn the oven down to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and roast for another 25 mins per 450g.
  6. Rest the meat for 10-15 mins before carving

Why is my crackling not crispy?

There are several reasons why you might not be getting perfectly crisp crackling.

  1. Not enough salt - use the full amount specified in the recipe to cover the pork belly rind when dry brining as this is what causes the crackling to puff up and become crispy when the salt reacts with the fat. You can mix it with some oil to help it coat the pork if you need to. Rub it into the skin really well, including into the scored grooves.
  2. The skin wasn’t dry enough. Make sure to pat the pork completely dry before rubbing in the salt and oil as excess moisture will stop it from crisping up.
  3. It's important to score the skin if you want it really crisp. You’ll need a sharp knife for this, or ask your butcher to do it for you.
  4. Insufficient heat will make it hard for the skin to get really crisp. Make sure to take the pork out of the fridge 30 minutes before you cook it so that the meat reaches room temperature. A high starting temperature (240C/220C fan/gas 9 in this recipe) is essential for crisping up the pork. We recommend turning the oven on about 10-15 minutes (depending on your oven) before you’re ready to start cooking.

What is the best way to cook pork crackling?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to cooking methods for the perfect crackling:

  1. Start with a really high oven temperature and then lower this down after around 25 minutes.
  2. The other is to start with a low temperature and then heat it up at the end.

We prefer to go with the first method as there's less chance of the meat drying out if you aren't heating it up at the end. Saying that, if the crackling is not perfect by the end of cooking, you can always turn the heat right up to allow the skin to blister.

For more inspiration, see how to make pork belly and how to cook pork shoulder. Discover easy dinner ideas with our pulled pork guide and pork chop recipes.

See our collection of ultimate pork recipes for more ideas.

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Find more crispy crackling recipes:

Spiced pork crackling straws
Malt-glazed roast pork & crackling
Italian-style roast pork with crispy crackling
Herb rolled pork loin with crackling

TIPS

PERFECT CRACKLING
If you find that the crackling isn't as crispy as you'd like near the end of the roasting time, turn the heat up and cook for a further 10-15 mins. Be careful not to overcook the meat though, as it will become dry.

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