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Crackling - roast pork

Tonight… roast pork loin, from Sainsbury’s. On the pack it even says ‘Crackling roast pork’ - yet it isn’t crackling, but instead a lovely burnished leather. I’ve read all the advice, especially the Guardian Felicity Cloake, and yet - my pork refuses to crackle. For what it’s worth I have a fan oven that goes to 240C.

I’m 60 years old - and never achieved crackling nirvana. Any suggestions greatly received !


I have sometimes resorted to cutting it off the joint when the joint is resting and putting it back into the oven. Or worse under the Grill…

Admittedly shoulder delivers much better crackling.

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The secret is to plaster it with oil and then throw the salt on so it sticks, and put it low down in a very hot oven. You’ll probably need to open the door every so often to let the moisture out. Moisture is the killer.

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Take the meat out of the fridge and unwrap it a while before it goes in the oven. Oil and salt on the crackling. Cut the crackling off when the joint is cooked, put it back in the oven while the joint is resting.

Normally works for me.


Hah ! I didn’t use any oil.

It’s not too late - I shall cut it off the meat and shove it back in the oven.

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What is it coming out like? I’ve had success with quite a few different approaches, the one in the pictures below was salted overnight in the fridge, i frustratingly can’t find the recipe now but i think it claimed to be Cantonese.

I’ve had almost as good results with shoulder joints simply roasted at high temp (220ish) for about 30 mins, then low for the main cook before raising at the end. Not normally as consistently crunchy though and you sometimes have to peel off the crackling and roast it on its own after the meat has come out.


Yes, that’s the ticket for me too. Lashings of salt and long exposure in the fridge to suck out the moisture before cooking.

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When I’ve cooked roast pork belly, the choice has been (1) high heat first to form the crackling then long and low… or (2) long and low first then whack up the heat at the end.

Generally found (1) worked better and more predictable on timings etc.

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Get the butcher to score it, do not put anything on it save for salt which will draw out the moisture
Put oven on 220c and put in joint. Watch the skin bubble and crackle for 30 mins. Then turn oven down to 180. Cook till done.

Donald trump crackling. You see my problem.

This is after separating the meat off to rest, and putting the skin back in the oven. Tasted great, hard as glass and super crunchy - but didn’t have that bubbled up effect we look for.


Incidentally - I can do great pork belly with gelatinous rind.

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If all else fails you could always get a bag of pork scratchings!


Scraping the barrel…

On which note I have just opened today’s door on my best ever advent calendar.


If it’s pork loin, I tend to go with:

Pork taken out of the fridge for at least 45 minutes before, rub well with a mix of salt, pepper, olive oil (deep into the scores of the crackling).

Place on a trivet of veg scraps, onions and herbs, in a 200C fan oven for 65 minutes / kilo. Works fine most of the time, decent crackling.

Caveat from your picture - I never cook less than a 0.9kg joint, if you do cook smaller joints then the crackling may not have time to crackle. In which case the “take it off and put it in after” theory is the only way forward. Or, of course, scratchings. :joy:

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Perhaps finer salt may help? Large crystals may not have the same effect.

pouring boiling water on also helps dry the skin for the perfect crackling

Like others, I keep the joint uncovered in the fridge, well salted, for at least 24 hours. High heat for half an hour, then low (c 130 with the fan on) till cooked. No oil or anything else.

But… Sometimes it comes out brilliantly, sometimes not. Not sure why, maybe works better on joints with more fat under the skin?


Did you make sure skin was scored properly?

Depending on what effect you want - glass-crunch-crackling or crispy-juicy-crackling - one of these rather medieval tools with some time & patient effort can help lead to the latter.

Fancier C21 versions of tool available but they all do the same thing. And it’s crackling-by-a-thousand-prickles, so needs not only time & patience but a decent grip too.

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