Get ready to jazz up your kitchen with a taste of the Big Easy. Today, we’re diving into the heart and soul of New Orleans with a recipe that’s pure Southern comfort: The Ultimate Crispy Pork Crackling from NOLA Head Chef Davyd Blacksmith. We’re talking about crunchy, golden goodness that’ll make your taste buds do the happy dance. So, roll up your sleeves, grab your apron, and let’s bring a little NOLA flair to your table.
Check out our favourite Sydney butcher – The Village Butchery – for the finest cuts.
1. Choose the Right Cut
Start with a good-quality piece of pork belly with even skin. The skin must be dry, smooth, and not punctured.
2. Prepare the Skin for Crispy Texture
There are two methods to prepare the skin for a crispy texture:
Scoring: Using a sharp knife, make deep, even scores (about 1 cm apart) on the skin without poking holes through it. This method creates lines or grooves on the skin’s surface without piercing it, allowing the fat to render and the skin to become crispy. Make sure not to cut into the meat.
Poking: Alternatively, you can poke small holes through the skin using a skewer or the tip of a sharp knife. This method allows the fat to escape more easily during cooking, producing crisp skin. Be careful not to poke through to the meat.
3. Salt and Dry
Generously rub the skin with salt (around 1-2 grams per square centimetre). Place the pork belly on a wire rack in the refrigerator, uncovered, for at least 4 – 24 hours. This helps to draw out moisture.
4. Turn up the Heat
Preheat your oven to about 220°C. Place the pork belly on a wire rack in a roasting tray. Roast it at this high temperature for 30 minutes to puff up the skin.
5. Reduce Heat and Wait
After the initial high-heat blast, reduce the temperature to about 180°C and continue roasting for 1.5 to 2 hours until the skin is crispy, and the internal temperature reaches around 75°C. Keep an eye on it to prevent burning.