One of the fascinating things about all the core Sunday Roast meats, is that they each have their nuances if you’re looking for perfection. Pork is clearly all about nailing that crackling.
Perfect crackling is a lot easier than a lot of people think it is. The key to success is understanding a little bit of what happens during the cook, and remembering the golden rule – moisture in the skin is the enemy of crunchy crackling. Fat and salt are also important. It is the reaction of the salt and the bubbling of the fat under the skin that makes crackling.
There are 4 key points to hit for perfect crackling:
- Plenty of surface area
- Properly dry skin
- Plenty of salt
- Plenty of initial heat
Now let’s consider Plan B – for when you don’t have 24 hours, only really required for joints of pork, not skin strips. I’ve experimented with half a dozen techniques, the most consistent appears to be to score, then scald the skin with a kettle full of boiling water. You’ll have to thoroughly pat dry after you do it, then give it as much time as possible to dry out, but with a little oil and salt on the dry skin you should still have a good end result.
I recommend you consider skinning joints of pork and cooking the skin separately like this if the joint is on the small side (less than 1kg or so).