When ever I cater for a wedding with a hog roast as part of their menu one of the most important thing for the bride and groom is the crackling. I often get asked 'will there be enough for everyone?', 'Is it going to be crispy' and 'Can you make sure there is plenty for us.' It always surprises me how much people love crackling but I can see why it's such a unique flavour and texture.
The Fat Hog and Big Pan use a confit oven to cook the pig slowly for 8 hours. Cooking the pig slowly on a low temperature with the heat circulating creates a perfect environment for crackling but there are some other things you can do to help put the crispy in the crackling,
These are my top 5 tips for getting crispy crackling when cooking at home.
1. Bring the meat at room temperature before cooking.
2. Score the skin with a very sharp knife all over (score it deeply but don't pierce the flesh). Score to create diamond pattern over the skin this will make perfect chunks that are easy to take off and eat immediately after cooking.
3. Rub plenty of salt into the skin.
4. Put the it in a pre heated oven on a high heat for the part of cooking- roughly for the first 5th of the full cooking time (this will vary depending on the size of your meat).
5. For extra crisp take the crackling off the meat once cooked, put the crackling back into the oven on a medium to high heat while your meat rests.