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.
Roast Pork with Perfect Crackling and Apple Sauce
- 1.5-2kg joint of pork, either leg, loin or shoulder
- Olive oil, to rub on joint
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the Bramley Apple Sauce:
- 500g Bramley cooking apples
- 25g butter
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- For the Gravy:
- 2 tsp plain flour
- 450ml meat or vegetable stock
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Take the pork out of the fridge and remove all wrappings. Set on a plate and rub the skin all over with kitchen paper. Leave for half an hour for the skin to dry. If the skin is moist it will not make crackling. Check the skin is evenly scored. If it is not, make further cuts in the flesh with a large, very sharp knife.
- Brush the skin very lightly with oil, rubbing off any excess with kitchen paper. Sprinkle the skin with a thin, even layer of salt and a little pepper. Calculate the cooking time, allowing 35 minutes per 500g, plus an extra 35 minutes. Set the joint in a roasting tin and roast for the calculated cooking time.
- Meanwhile, make the Bramley apple sauce. Cut the apples into quarters using a small, sharp knife. Peel, core and slice the quarters then place in a pan with 3 tbsp cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan with a lid and cook for 6-8 minutes, until the apples are soft and pulpy.
- Remove the apples from the heat and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth, then beat in the butter and sugar. If the sauce is too thin, return it to the heat and cook gently, stirring until it thickens slightly. Transfer to a serving bowl.
- When the pork is cooked, remove from the oven and transfer to a large serving plate. Cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes while you make the gravy. Using a large spoon, remove as much surface fat from the pan juices as you can. Don't worry if you leave some fat, as it will add flavour. Place the roasting tin on the hob and reheat the juices. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour. Return to the hob and cook gently for 2 minutes. Gradually add the stock, stirring all the time until the gravy is slightly thickened. Simmer for 5 minutes, then taste and season if necessary.
- Using a sharp carving knife and a fork to steady the meat, remove the crackling from the joint and place on a board. Cut the cracking into pieces (you can do this with kitchen scissors). Carve the pork into thick slices and serve each portion with some crackling, gravy and a generous spoonful of apple sauce.