Most pork roasts in the United States are almost always sold with the skin and fat cap trimmed off — and because of this we miss out on so much flavor! Luckily, we still do have the ability to special order one from the local butcher. Even your local grocery store meat department should be able to order one for you (ask the meat manager) but if not, seek out a stand alone butcher in your area and special order this cut! Let me assure you, you will not regret making this Roasted Pork with Crackling! It’s simple and delicious!
I special ordered my cut from my friend, Russell. He is the owner and operator of Sunny Cedars Farm here in South Carolina. Sunny Cedars Farm raises heritage breed hogs that are pasture-raised fed only high-quality, specially formulated and hand-ground feed using local corn. His animals are free-roaming and are raised slowly without the use of antibiotics and hormones. All qualities that are important to me. Sunny Cedars Farm is based in Sumter, SC but they can be found in many places around South Carolina so check his farmer’s market schedule or visit them on the farm!
This recipe uses minimal seasonings to allow the flavors of the meat and crackling to be the prime focus. This approach is perfect because the roast and crackling are amazing. The crackling is like fried pork rinds but so much better with an intense bacon flavor! To achieve the crackling, the roast has to be scored and the butcher can usually do this for you. Otherwise, the skin is really hard to cut and the knife has to be both sturdy and sharp and because of this a box cutter style knife is safest and works best for this process.
The score marks should cut just through the rind and a little into the fat cap but should NOT extend down far enough to expose the meat below. Rubbing the roast liberally with salt is a very important step in the process. Make sue you get the salt down and in-between each of the scores. The salt dries out the rind and melts away the fat cap allowing the rind to become crisp and deeply golden brown. If you scrimp on the salt, the crackling will have an undesirable chewy texture so really work the salt into each of the score lines.
Irish Style Roasted Pork with Crackling
This traditional Irish style Roasted Pork with Crackling is well worth the extra effort to acquire the specialty cut from your local butcher.
5 lb pork loin with skin intact
black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
If the meat did not come scored from the butcher, use a craft knife or box cutter to score the skin in 1/2-inch intervals.Rub salt liberally all over the skin, making sure to work it in between each of the cuts in the rind.
Place the roast into roasting pan and place in the oven. After 40 minutes, begin basting the roast with the pan drippings every 20 minutes. After 90 minutes, remove the roast from the oven and increase the heat to 475°F.
Transfer the roast to a foil lined, rimmed, baking tray. Return the roast to the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes to crisp up the crackling. Keep an eye on this step so the crackling doesn't burn up. It crisps up rather quickly under the high heat. The new baking sheet is important so as to not burn and smoke the oil in the pan juices you've collected thus far.
Let the roast rest for 10 - 15 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute before slicing. Use the slices in the crackling as an easy guide for slicing the meat.
For our side dishes, we find that vegetables with a bit of a sweetness or earthiness to them seem to go very well with pork so we chose mashed carrots and turnips (rutabagas) for this typical Irish #SundaySupper.