Roast Pork with Perfect Crackling and Apple Sauce

How to get the best crackling on roast pork is the subject of much debate in the kitchen. The secret of success is a good layer of fat beneath the rind. Also, the rind should be scored evenly all over. It helps if you choose a larger joint so there is more time in the oven to develop crisp crackling. Follow our guide to produce perfect roast pork served with a simple Bramley apple sauce and gravy.


1.5-2kg joint of pork, either leg, loin or shoulder
Olive oil, to rub on joint
Fine sea salt and black pepper

For the apple sauce

500g Bramley cooking apples
25g butter
3 tbsp caster sugar

For the gravy

2 tsp plain flour
450ml pork or vegetable stock


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Place the pork in a roasting tin, pat its skin with kitchen paper and leave for 30 minutes for the skin to dry. Check that the skin is evenly scored, adding more using a very sharp knife, if needed.

2. Lightly brush the skin with oil and sprinkle with a thin, even layer of salt and a little pepper. Calculate the cooking time, 35 minutes per 500g, plus an extra 35 minutes. Roast for the calculated time.

3. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Peel and cut the apples into quarters, place in a pan with 3 tbsp cold water. Bring to the boil

then reduce to medium, cover and cook for 6-8 minutes, until the apples are soft and pulpy.

4. Remove from the heat, beat with a wooden spoon until the apples are smooth, mix in the butter and sugar. Return the pan to the heat and cook gently, stirring until it thickens slightly, if needed, then spoon into a serving bowl.

5. Transfer the cooked pork onto a serving plate. Cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes, while the gravy is made. Spoon off as much surface fat from the pan juices as you can. Place the roasting tin on the hob and reheat the juices, remove from the heat and stir in the flour. Then cook gently for 2 minutes, before gradually adding the stock, stirring all the time until it thickens. Simmer for 5 minutes, then taste and season if necessary.

6. Using a sharp carving knife remove the crackling from the joint and place on a board and cut into pieces. Then thinly slice the pork and serve each portion with some crackling, gravy and a generous spoonful of apple sauce.

Cook's tips

Make sure you allow 20-30 minutes to preheat the oven before adding the meat.

Resting the meat before carving gives it time to relax, which will make carving easier and give you moist, tender results.

The apple sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in the fridge in a covered container.

For successful crackling, choose an even-shaped joint with a good layer of fat beneath the rind. Make sure that the rind is dry and rubbed with salt. The joint must be placed in a hot oven. Crackling is formed as the fat gets hot and melts, pushing up through the rind.

If you do not get even crackling by the end of the cooking time, remove the crackling from the joint using a large, sharp knife and place on a baking sheet. Increase the oven temperature to 220°C, gas mark 7 and return the crackling to the oven for a further 15 minutes while the meat is resting.

Make sure that you cook the pork thoroughly, until piping hot and the juices run clear when pierced with a fork. Cool any leftovers to room temperature, place in the fridge within 2 hours and consume within 2 days.

Wash hands, work surfaces and utensils thoroughly after handling raw pork.

For perfect roast potatoes to serve with the pork, peel 1.3kg floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper or King Edwards, then cut into large chunks. Place in a pan with cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly, then add to the tin around the joint for the last hour of the cooking time, basting them with the pan juices.

Kitchen tools

Kitchen paper
Large sharp knife
Roasting tin
Small sharp knife
Chopping board
Small saucepan with lid
Wooden spoon
Small serving bowl
Serving plate
Sharp carving knife and fork

  • Preparation time: 20
  • Cooking time: 2 hours 30 minutes - 3 hours
  • Total time: 2 hours 50 minutes - 3 hours 20 minutes, plus resting 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 20 minutes

Serves: 6-8

Nutritional Info

Typical values per serving:

Energy 2,045kj/490kcals
Carbohydrate 14.7g
Sugars 13.5g
Fat 24.9g
Saturated Fat 10.7g
Salt 1.2g

1g fibre 41.6g protein

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4 stars

Average user rating Based on 174 ratings

This recipe was first published in Sat Mar 01 00:00:00 GMT 2003.