Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Fat Lot of Good: Even When I Follow the Experts' Advice, I Struggle to Make Good Crackling, Writes Nicholas Clee

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Fat Lot of Good: Even When I Follow the Experts' Advice, I Struggle to Make Good Crackling, Writes Nicholas Clee

Article excerpt

The best bit of roast pork is the crackling. That is what we fans of crackling say, although it cannot be quite true--pork without crackling would be preferable, surely, to crackling without pork. But it is certainly the treat that lifts the whole meal. My problem is that my success rate when cooking it is about 30 per cent.

The frustrating thing about a culinary shortcoming is that the advice of experts rarely cures it. You can follow their instructions devotedly, only to find that what produces perfect results for them will not work under your own, amateurish hands. So it is with me and rice; and so it is, more often than not, with me and crackling.

For example, Richard Ehrlich, author of the invaluable The Perfect ... (Grub Street), says that you can get the crackling process started by holding the joint, skin-side down, in hot oil. That has never worked for me. I have tried, too, putting the joint under the grill before roasting it, also without success.

Do you need oil at all? Most writers say yes. A few believe it to be unnecessary: the layer of fat under the skin, they think, should perform the necessary crisping. To encourage it, you score the skin first--or, preferably, get the butcher to do it--with a Stanley knife. Some enthusiasts encourage the skin to contract by pouring boiling water over it. The risk in this procedure, I should imagine, is that you melt and disperse some of the fat, which you want to keep.

A mass-produced joint of pork, sweating under polythene, is never going to crackle. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.