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Help in achieving crackling on my pork roast


Kim Shook
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I've ordered a smallish (about 3 lb.) pork roast with a good fat cap and skin from our fabulous lady butcher (she was a Chopped winner).  It will only be the three of us on Xmas Eve, so I want to make it really special.  I have a vague, but wonderful memory of pork roasts that my stepdad, @Ted Fairhead used to make when I was young and he could get a good pork roast from the grocery store.  They had an amazing piece of fat and skin that turned into beautiful crackling when done.  I would very much like to sous vide it and then do whatever I need to do to get a good crackling.  Is this possible?  I've used @gfweb's method of SV'ing pork roasts and plan to use the same method for this.  

 

Assuming that I can SV and afterwards get my crackling, if someone will assume that I am a complete imbecile and tell me step-by-step how to get the crackling, I would be eternally grateful.  

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PS: Just remembered my low brow country cousin version. Crock pot like SV kinda sorta. Then on Weber (or oven high heat) The beautiful soft meat against the snappy crackling - incredible. Took every once of willpower not to justify extensive "cook's treat" sampling. https://forums.egullet.org/topic/148874-cooking-pork-shank/?do=findComment&comment=1975930

 

Edited by heidih (log)
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From what @heidih posted and the other reading I've done, it sounds like what I will need to do is remove from the water, take it out of the bag and pop it in a 500F preheated oven and keep turning until I get the popped crackling effect.  Does that make sense?

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2 hours ago, heidih said:

Is the skin all around? Just do not "over hover" - let it go au naturel - lifted up on a grate/grill so it does not sit  in fat. We are "over 'splaining (cue Ricky)".  

You know, I'm sure it won't be now that I think about it.  The article you linked to was talking about a shoulder/butt and another article was talking about a hock.  I'll be getting a loin roast (I think).  So, on a rack, 500F until it "chicharrones"?

 

I've read in a couple of places that it's important to salt and dry the skin for a couple of days in order for it to get really crisp.  Is that true?  Does that mean that SV is not a great idea?  

 

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I've never done it sous vide but I score the skin rub with salt & baking soda a day or two before,  into a low oven until its about 130 internal temp -pull rest. Crank oven to 500 -then back in for 10-15 until its crunchy and finishes cooking (I like my good pork medium personally)

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12 hours ago, Kim Shook said:

You know, I'm sure it won't be now that I think about it.  The article you linked to was talking about a shoulder/butt and another article was talking about a hock.  I'll be getting a loin roast (I think).  So, on a rack, 500F until it "chicharrones"?

 

I've read in a couple of places that it's important to salt and dry the skin for a couple of days in order for it to get really crisp.  Is that true?  Does that mean that SV is not a great idea?  

 

 

I don't see that it should be a problem to SV it, then chill, take out of bag, dry off, and set in the fridge overnight. 

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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I personally would Sous vide, then use my butterball electric turkey deep fryer XL to crisp up the skin. But if you dont have, and you dont want to burn or over cook the pork, I have had really good results with a heat gun. Might be time consuming, but it wont burn the skin like a torch would.

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Sous Vide is overrated....oh damn, did I say that out loud??    I heard baking soda and salt.  But I think the key is if you have skin on top of the fat, and maybe salting and leaving the exterior exposed in the fridge for a day or two to help dry out ala poultry.

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2 hours ago, dcarch said:

Simple:

 

Remove skin, make crackling skin.

 

Sous vide pork.

 

Put skin back on pork.

 

dcarch

Why even bother putting the skin back on. I have made cracklins many times, and i can say without a doubt, no way are you getting that cracklin back on evenly. They curl up pretty fast. And if it hasn't curled up, then it aint cracklin yet. Your better off leaving it intact and shallow pan frying in a inch of oil and turning ever few minutes.(if you dont have a large deep fryer.)

Edited by FeChef (log)
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27 minutes ago, heidih said:

But I thought the point was to present a tasty roast pork with an enviable crackly skin - not a deconstructed though perhaps delicious assemblage. 

Exactly. Sometimes these Gastronomy Chefs take things too far, and lose sight of what made things great in the first place.

Edited by FeChef (log)
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From my experience you need to render the fat properly (preferable after giving it some means to escape, e.g. scoring or piercing the skin). This can be achieved by slow roasting in an low oven or by sous vide. If using the latter, an additional drying step (fridge overnight or brushing with salt water) helps drastically. Then application of high, yet distant heat (broiler at full, but quite some distance to the meat) to allow proper blistering without premature scorching.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, in spite of my determination to do it MY WAY, I failed at achieving crackling.  I'm pretty sure that trying to go from SV'ing to oven/torching was the culprit.  I was trying for the easy way out and this was all I managed:

IMG_4444.jpg.7d52b6c142af6a2dc9adf58adaae8378.jpg

Not at ALL what I wanted.  Ah, well, live and learn.  And listen to what more experienced folks are trying to tell you.  Thank you all for trying to steer me right in spite of my stubborn ignorance!  🙄

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22 minutes ago, Kim Shook said:

Well, in spite of my determination to do it MY WAY, I failed at achieving crackling.  I'm pretty sure that trying to go from SV'ing to oven/torching was the culprit.  I was trying for the easy way out and this was all I managed:

IMG_4444.jpg.7d52b6c142af6a2dc9adf58adaae8378.jpg

Not at ALL what I wanted.  Ah, well, live and learn.  And listen to what more experienced folks are trying to tell you.  Thank you all for trying to steer me right in spite of my stubborn ignorance!  🙄

Sorry. Shallow frying or deep frying is the only way i know of. Ive tried Air Frying but it over cooks the pork.

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I tried after watching this Marco Pierre White video on youtube. 


I didn't work. 

 

I then made another attempt using a Chinese recipe. That didn't work either. 

 

Finally, I tried using America's Test Kitchen. And IT WORKED!!! yes. It was a success. The told me the science stuff going on and that the high temp of an oven can dry out and achieve crackling but it will dry out the skin too much and make it tough, hard, chewy. This is exactly what happened to me in the past.

 

So ATK would use low oven heat to dry out the surface just enough and cook the pork on a cast iron saute. This high heat and direct contact with the fire will crisp the skin fast without drying it out has hard and chewy and you'll get the cracklings. 

 

I was so pleased. Here's the free vid. 

 

 

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Well, I did my last attempt at getting cracklings.  I slowly cooked the fat cap slices to render the fat and shallow fried the skin.  They tasted wonderful and were crisp (they actually reminded me of fried hog jowl that I ate as a child in NC), but I didn’t get that puffy, bubbly crackling I was after:

IMG_4672.jpg.0d9b4fdbdd028ec31077b147edba16e1.jpg

But then I messed around with it so much – broiling and torching – that I probably ruined any chance of having it work. 

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10 minutes ago, Kim Shook said:

Well, I did my last attempt at getting cracklings.  I slowly cooked the fat cap slices to render the fat and shallow fried the skin.  They tasted wonderful and were crisp (they actually reminded me of fried hog jowl that I ate as a child in NC), but I didn’t get that puffy, bubbly crackling I was after:

 

But then I messed around with it so much – broiling and torching – that I probably ruined any chance of having it work. 

You are persistent!  If I really want the total bubbly crackling with maybe a touch of met I do street vendor or Mexican deli counter - to die for. 

Making it Official: How L.A. Street Vending Became Legal | KCET

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Sooo ... I made a pork (belly) roast today and thought I’d document the process. This is not specific to pork belly, any roast works with adjusted cooking times. The first cooking phase can be also done via SV.

 

This is a 1 kg pork belly - regular local product, nothing “heritage” about it.
 

77331587-40F3-42C7-9764-2F8FA149E356.thumb.jpeg.7e13f13eb104bb7608818c2426cf35e4.jpeg

 

Salted & peppered, then skin side down into a roasting pan filled with with some stock (water works as well).

 

D023834B-B968-4FDB-809B-83A0C8D093A7.thumb.jpeg.c936d0299326d4847b0fdd698769cddd.jpeg

 

Cooked in the oven at 140 oC for 1h, then taken out and scored in a crisscross fashion (or whatever you like) to allow the fat to render out. Then placed skin side up into the same roasting pan, filled up with a nice local beer.
 

F815D03A-5677-4BE4-BF58-1F52809CA87F.thumb.jpeg.e75ec1597a6581aabae7e5c77dac8b63.jpeg

 

2E57BFD0-C513-4E88-A9B5-448AE87544E4.thumb.jpeg.5f1c90f7ba27e7e3a7e64ea8fe2a490d.jpeg

 

Temperature upped to 170 oC and back into the oven for 1.5h more. By this time, it looks like this. Meat is fully cooked and fat has rendered out. Skin has shrunk a bit in the process.
 

16A88485-E2C1-4225-884E-F840DEACDD61.thumb.jpeg.cfa170fc164ca7acd0f016002ce25a96.jpeg

 

 

Oven cranked up to 250 oC and “gratinate” function, the meat is resting outside while the oven is coming up to temperature ... and back into the oven, waiting for the skin to pop. Took about 6-8min at the lowest position in the oven.

 

0C1F942B-071C-4033-9FCB-9919DA204EBC.thumb.jpeg.541e446b02bff95a8ac0244f3d66660a.jpeg

 

Most of them popped “regularly”, some expanded more violently (similar to popcorn). All of them were crunchy ...

 

DB7E179D-8F89-4404-A5CB-FF52C1355575.thumb.jpeg.621b534ad2914d8c4fe34678a1386bb1.jpeg

 

Juicy & crunchy - sliced and ready to be served (full meal in the Dinner 2021 thread).  
 

DFDECBC4-DE85-4CF0-AA84-7EA571D14211.thumb.jpeg.1739e00b5b10800099f61c7f002e84e4.jpeg

 

5022C920-5466-4774-8F01-3BFCB7E45947.thumb.jpeg.ed6e6ffe2449178e0084e3aacc3d9575.jpeg

 

 

 

Edited by Duvel (log)
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