A Guide to Mastering the Art of Crispy Pork Crackling

Words: Crush

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Let’s be honest, a pork roast is all about the crackling. That satisfying crunch, that silky layer of fat just underneath, these are the reasons that home chefs aspire to master the ultimate crispy pork crackling. Most chefs and home cooks have their methods for success but truth be told, it can be a tricky beast. Success can depend on the cut, as well as factors like how well the skin has been dried and how evenly your oven heat is circulated. There are a few simple ways to make sure that you get the best results that you possibly can though and in this step-by-step guide to crispy pork crackling, we show you how to ensure that yours renders and crackles to perfection every time.

A guide to crispy pork crackling

To achieve real crunch, the most important factors are time and the dryness of the skin, so for the best results, plan to air dry the pork uncovered overnight in the fridge.

What you’ll need:

2 kg boneless pork belly
Paper towel
A craft knife
Sea salt

Lay the pork belly on a cutting board and pat the skin dry with a paper towel.


Set the blade of the craft knife so that it’s just long enough to cut through the skin without cutting into the meat. Carefully cut parallel lines along the surface of the skin at even intervals.

Place the pork belly onto a wire rack on a baking tray pop it in the fridge overnight to dry out the surface of the skin, this will ensure perfect crackling. 

The Next Day

Remove the pork belly from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. 

Preheat the oven to 230 ºC. 

Rub the skin with salt and be sure to get it into the score lines in the skin. Once all of the scores have been salted, rub the excess salt off the skin. Brush with oil and immediately place the pork in the oven and set a timer for 30 minutes. 

After 30 minutes, drop the heat to 160 ºC and continue cooking for another hour. For extra pop on your crackling, you can brush the skin with oil and turn the grill on full for the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Keep an eye on it while it grills so it doesn’t burn. 

Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.  Carve your belly roast with crispy pork crackling and serve with roasted onions, garlic, apples and sliced pears. 

Love these SA pork recipes? Take a look at these other tasty pork recipes.

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