The Art of Making Perfect Roast Pork Crackling

In the midst of roasting a joint of pork in the oven, I was chatting on Facebook with Vinny Khullar, she told me that she makes Pot roast – roasting a joint in the pot. I never do this as it does not result in perfect crackling. Thus followed an online tuition on making a perfect crackling interspersed with video clips from Youtube.  This quest to make a perfect cracking has taken me quite a time.

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My crackling not only includes salt but also masala and chilli, which goes down very well with drinks before the meal. Simply put, it’s in three steps:

  1. Score the skin with a sharp knife ensuring the knife does not cut into the meat but parts the fat. Criss-crossed scoring ensures perfect diamond shaped crackling, easy to break and crunch.
  2. Sprinkle sea salt into the crevices in the pattern. I also sprinkle mixture of garam masala, chilli, coriander and cumin powder into it. Never add turmeric, as it has a pungent taste if baked. Other variations include sprinkling with mixture of herbs – thyme and oregano.
  3. Smear it with olive oil.

Next, preheat the oven to 200 degrees, place the joint in the oven and after about 40 minutes turn over the joint and let each side cook evenly. Increase the temperature to 250 degrees and let the skin sizzle into crusty, crisp crackling. I usually remove the joint and prise away the crackling skin from the joint, wrap the joint in the foil and put it back in the oven. The crackling is allowed to cool down and harden. It can be either served with the Roast pork or partaken with drinks before the meal.

Today I just oven baked gammon knuckle to make my own roast ham for sandwiches. The crackling was perfect and so was the roast ham. One must ensure that too much salt is not smeared into the fat to make crackling as the meat will become too salty to eat.

Karam Bharij

a lecturer, freelance photo-journalist afflicted with the travel bug, sampler of fine wines and an avid cook of Kenyan, Indian, Chinese, Greek and French cuisines particularly fusion recipes. He has travelled extensively in Tunisia, the Far East, Europe, Turkey and the Greek Islands in the Aegean and Iona sea. All his travels are off the tourist beats to savour different cultures and foods. He's even crossed the desert with a Bedouin caravan a few years ago living on a rustic diet of Harrissa (ground red chillies with garlic), tomatoes and flat breads.