Prefect pork crackling, for some people it’s a thing of legend and yore.
In reality it’s not that hard to muster up – there’s just a few simple things you need to do before you whack out the plates and eating irons. So without further ado; dig out your salt pots, tea towels and possibly even the hairdryer! Don’t be tempted to try using hair straighteners…
The meat: great crackling relies on a good dollop of fat right under the skin. On that basis if you’re really keen on getting the job done properly I’d suggest opting for pork belly. It has layer upon layer of meat and fat and as such is the perfect morsel for epically good crackling.
The scoring: you’ve got to score the meat – opting for lines or crosses is personal opinion but make sure you only score into the fat and not through to the meat otherwise those all-important juices will be lost forever! Stanley knives make the best scoring implements or if you don’t want the flavour of your workshop tools in your dinner ask a butcher to do it for you.
DRY: the skin has to be dry so always store your pork belly in the fridge wrapped in a clean tea towel, the towel allows the meat to breathe, absorbs any excess moisture and will be of great interest to the dog afterwards… Some people suggest that the skin should be doused in boiling water beforehand or even attacked with the hairdryer (just make sure you don’t do both at the same time).
Salt: For flavour and to help dry out the meat. Rub it into the skin of the meat before cooking and make sure it gets into all the scores. This stage is also really good exfoliation practice.
Heat: think Dante’s Inferno. A good first blast of heat circa 200 degrees to really get the skin and meat cooking is definitely in order, after that scale the oven back to a more temperate 180 degrees Celsius. After that you’re on your own as to how long to cook it for, purley on the basis that I don’t know what you’re cooking!