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Dublin: 9 °C Sunday 16 June, 2019
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Perfect pork - here's how to get it just right

And what is crackling exactly?

THE BIG QUESTION is – what is crackling, exactly? We’ll get there, we promise.

But first, let’s talk about pork. Pork is an unsung, versatile dinnertime hero, it has to be said. Depending on the cut you could make a different pork dish every day of the week if you so desired and why wouldn’t you?

Source: Pug Girl

You can…

  • roast it for Sunday dinner
  • slow-roast it for pulled pork BBQ sandwich of on-trend deliciousness
  • stir-fry it with plenty of veg for a more healthy option
  • stuff it
  • glaze it
  • bread it
  • marinade it
  • put it in a burrito
  • even add it to a noodle soup

Have we convinced you?

Source: jeffreyw

We spoke to William from Caherbeg Freerange Pork and the youngest member of SuperValu’s Food Academy who provided us with some tips for what cut of pork to pick, a delicious recipe and best of all tips on making the definitive pork crackling.

Mmm...noodle soup Source: stu_spivack

Over to William

Here’s a tip when going to the butcher – William recommends going for a shoulder as

it’s got a good layer of fat on it and fat running through the meat

which benefits the meat hugely when cooking – keeping it lovely and moist, and gets you that all important crackling.

Slow roasted belly pork with fennel salad and citrus jam Source: avlxyz

And now for the science…we mean crackling

Crackling is a thick piece of fat (1-1.5″ is good) with the rind or skin left on, that’s cooked to have a really crispy top layer, with a melting creamy layer of fat underneath. It’s apparently quite a contentious thing to cook as the only thing that everyone agrees on is that you must score the top layer of fat. But don’t go too deep or touch the meat at all, as you’ll allow the juices to escape – and you know that’s no good.

Source: Kai Hendry

William gave us this tip to really make the crackling crispy. After scoring,

put the meat in a bowl and pour boiling water over the skin to open the pores, then rub salt into the skin and sprinkle some mixed herbs over it.

After that it’s a slow roast at 30 min per lb at 160 degrees C plus 30 min and then for the final 20 min whack it up to 220 degrees – which is how you’ll get your crispy crispy crackling.

And for an unusual Sunday roast he suggests

 a pork steak stuffed with black pudding (sliced longways and using cocktail sticks to hold the pork steak around it) and slow-roasted at 20 min per lb at 180 plus 20 min.

Recipes

We’ve also rounded up a couple of recipes we thought were too good not to share. You’re welcome.

Slow roasted marinated pork with a carrot & parsnip puree

Source: SuperValu

Here’s a Sunday roast dinner with all the trimmings that’s guaranteed to wow any table.

 Easy Slow-cooked pulled pork

They weren’t kidding when they said it was easy…or that it’s a slow roast. But the gains outweigh any minor inconveniences of putting your dinner on 6-10 hours before you’re ready for it… Here’s the recipe.

Source: CHOW

Now it’s your turn – tell us your favourite way to cook pork, or let us know how these tips turned out for you.

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About the author:

Edel Corrigan

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