How Do I Roast Pork Properly?
Hello again! It’s time to do that apron and put on your chef’s hat as we take a look at the best way to cook pork. If you’re like me then the most important aspect of a pork lunch or dinner is getting your teeth into that delicious cracking!
How do you like your pig?
Like most meats, your choice for roasting depends on your individual personal taste. If you really like a good bit of crackling, try leg and loin joints which have lean meat and are excellent for roasting. If you prefer something with a richer flavor then choose a cut with a higher fat content that can be rendered down to tender meat during cooking like pork belly or shoulder joints.
If like me you are sometimes a bit lazy or hungover, choose a nice piece of pork fillet because it’s really easy to prepare and cook. It will roast in 30-40 minutes while you watch football on the telly. Here’s a good idea, wrap the pork in slices of Parma ham before roasting it, really tasty.
Here’s a good tip. Always buy a piece of pork larger than you think you need as the larger cuts shrink less when you roast them. If there’s too much save it for a next-day sandwich or give it to the cat. To get yourself a lovely layer of crackling, buy an even shaped cut with a nice layer of fat underneath the rind. Score the rind down its length using your finger to measure the gaps, I except zero responsibility for anyone chopping their finger off but can recommend a recipe for finger hot dogs. If you’re looking at a piece of the beast to serve around 6 people (good for you, I don’t have that many friends) buy around 1.5 – 2kg of boneless loin, leg or shoulder joint and the job’s a good ‘un.
Now it’s time to prepare and get ready to cook
Of course, the best bit of the pig is the crackling, and to get the best bit of crackling known to humanity follow my advice. Take the cut of pork out of the packaging as soon as you get home, dry the beast as well as you can taking special care to thoroughly dry the rind. Then, loosely cover the joint with a tea towel or similar and put it in the fridge. If it’s a large joint, grab it from the fridge about an hour before you want to cook it so that the cut can get up to room temperature. Dry the rind again and rub a tablespoon of salt into it about half an hour before you plan to cook.
Grab a roasting tin that’s a little big bigger than the joint, make sure it’s not too big or the delicious gravy juices will evaporate. Peel half an onion and then bung it in the roasting tin, this will caramelize and add loads of extra flavor to the gravy. If you’re a fan of herbs the best ones to use are thyme and sage, apples also go well with pork (obviously) so you can also slice up an apple and throw them in the tin. Lightly sprinkle the crackling with a bit of extra salt before putting the tin in the oven.
Watch your meat temperature
Don’t forget to preheat your oven to 428°F/Gas 7/fan 392°F. I advise that, for a big joint, you roast on high heat for the first 30 minutes so that it penetrates the pork quickly (for crackling joints, 20 minutes for no crackling but then you would be crazy to not want crackling). The best crackling is formed when the fat beneath the rind melts and bastes it to a lovely crisp. If you want perfect pork and crackling it’s of extreme importance that you check the cooking temperature of this joint as it cooks.
WARNING! Do NOT cover pork crackling joints while they are in the oven or the result will be crackling so soggy that even the cat will not eat it. There’s never any need to baste the cooking pork but you can brush the crackling with a little oil.
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Resting the joint
When you have finished cooking it’s time to test to see if your joint is cooked to perfection. Push a skewer into the thickest part and the juices should run completely clear without any hint of pink color. Then get your thermometer and push it into the pork as close to the center as possible and probe the meat without touching the bone. Leave it 20 seconds and take a reading, the cooked pork’s internal temp should read 149-158°F.
Rest the meat
This process is far more important than anybody thinks as resting the pork allows the juices on the outside to seep back into the middle and will make it much juicier and easier to carve up. Take your cooked pork joint and put it on a warm platter, then cover it with foil. Let it rest for 20 minutes before carving and serving, I use this time to make gravy and finish off the trimmings.
To cook the perfect boneless leg joint, loin roast, shoulder or pork rack cook it for 30 minutes, then reduce the pork roast temp to 356°F/Gas 4/fan 320°F for the remaining cooking time.
For a pork fillet roast set the timer for 45 minutes per 500g and add an extra 45 minutes.
Have a lovely meal and don’t forget to join us again!
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