Rob is a pretty amazing cook. More so than me, he can generally just combine a bunch of ingredients that he has rustled up in the house and turn them into something amazing. I on the other hand, prefer to take some time to think about what I want to make, go out and buy the specific ingredients I need and put together something very deliberate.
A couple of months ago, Rob decided he felt like a pork roast for dinner. Roast pork is not something that often features on our meal plan, as we tend to opt more often for a roast lamb or chicken. Nonetheless, Rob was pretty certain it needed to be roast pork, so I set off to do the groceries, with a very limited idea of what we would need to pull it all together.
Being a Sunday, I had wanted to embrace a ‘cook once, eat twice’ philosophy. Rob and I both work on a Monday so we always make a big meal for Sunday so we can have quick and easy leftovers after work. I had a quick google of what cut of pork I should buy, and decided to go for a pork shoulder. There are pros and cons of every cut of pork, but I find that the shoulder is an economical cut, and gives really great crackling.
Still unsure of what I needed to do with the pork, I texted a good friend (and resident pork boffin) to get a few hints and tips. That was all Rob needed to get started and from there he made this pork recipe his own. We have had a few pork roasts since his maiden meal and honestly it gets better every time and he has absolutely nailed the crunchy crackle!
The great thing about pork roasts, unlike other roast meats is that there is really very little to do in terms of seasoning / flavouring. Unlike lamb roasts with their garlic slithers and rosemary sprigs, or chicken roasts and their endless combinations of possible flavours, I find the best pork roasts are seasoned with oil and salt – that is all.
The recipe below is for a 1.8kg pork roast. You will of course need to adjust your cooking times depending on the size of your cut of meat, and whether it has bone in or not. We use the following website to guide us on cooking times which you will find handy when planning when your roast needs to go in the oven.
1.8kg pork shoulder roast, with fat on
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp salt
mixed vegetables to roast
salt and pepper to season
For those of you with newer model ovens, you may have different cooking settings to choose from (e.g. bake, fan bake, grill, roast etc). If you do have a ‘roast’ setting, definitely pick that! The roast setting in our oven definitely contributes to the crunch of the crackle. However, if you don’t have a roast setting, no stress, you can still get a delicious pork roast!
Preheat oven to 250C.
Score the fat of your roast, being careful not to cut into the meat.
Pour boiling water over your roast for a few seconds until you see the skin starting to open up. Pat the skin completely dry using absorbent paper towel. Make sure to get the skin as dry as possible – soggy skin = soggy crackle!
Once the roast is dry, rub 1 tbsp of olive oil over the roast, focussing mainly on the top layer. Next, add 1 tbsp salt and rub onto the top of the roast. Add some pepper if desired.
Place your roast onto a wire cooking rack and into a baking tray. Wait until your oven is fully preheated before placing in the oven. Cook the roast for 30-35 mins at this high heat, keeping an eye on your roast to ensure the top does not burn.
While your roast is cooking chop up your roast veggies. If you are planning to have roast potatoes, par boil these so that they are well and truly cooked through when the pork is ready – nothing worse than ‘crunchy’ underdone potatoes!
After 30-35 minutes, remove from the oven and turn the heat down to 180C. Add your veggies to a baking tray – depending on the size of the roasting tray you are using for your pork the veggies might go under the wire rack holding the roast or in a separate tray. Drizzle your vegetables with a small amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Return to the oven and cook for a further 35 minutes per kg of meat. Remember to refer to the cooking guide for cooking times which will vary based on your cut of meat.
Once the meat is cooked, remove from the oven, wrap loosely in foil (keeping the crackle exposed) and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. We use this time to finalise the cooking of the veggies.
Once rested, remove the crackle, cutting away as much fat as possible and slice into pieces. Carve the meat and serve with roast vegetables. Top with pieces of the salty, crunchy crackling as well as gravy!! YUMMMM!! 😋😋😋 Enjoy! 💜