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Roast Rack of Pork with Crispy Crackling

Roast Rack of Pork with Crispy Crackling

Pork Rack and Crackling

This easy pork recipe will show you how to cook a roast rack of pork and make the crispiest, crunchiest crackling. For these photos, I used a Frenched pork rack that weighed about 1.6 kg from our local butcher, Kelly’s, with the pork rind still attached.

rack of pork

Note the scoring in the rind

What is a rack of pork?

Well, as the name rather suggests, a rack of pork is a cut of pork with the bone still in it. It is also known as a pork rib roast and comes from the rib area of the loin, making it quite tender and tasty.

The piece I had was already ‘Frenched’, meaning that the meat had been cut away from the bone, exposing the ribs. It was quite a small joint, but more than enough for the three of us.

My butcher told me this cut had come from quite close to the shoulder area of the pig.

In some ways, it is the pork equivalent of a rack of lamb or a beef rack.

The joint I bought had a thick rind of skin on it, which was just what I wanted as I was itching to make some delicious crackling.

pork crackling

Tricks to making the perfect crackling

I suddenly realised that I had not had any pork crackling for several years. I used to love my Mum’s crispy crackling that we would all fight over when we were little.

We were lucky if any crackling ever got to the dinner table the way it would be pinched from the serving plate! 

pork rack

Crackling is the pig rind and layer of fat attached to it, that has been heated at high temperature so that the fat is rendered away and you are left with crispy pork crackling.

It should be hard and crunchy and such that it breaks under your teeth, which is why it is called crackling I suppose. If it is still elastic or bendy it has not been cooked properly. Be careful it does not break your teeth though!

Perfect crackling should look something like this:

prefect crackling

Hard and crunchy crackling

Hard, crunchy, brittle, salty and absolutely delicious.

There are a few simple tricks to making the perfect crackling crispy. 

Tips to make crunchy pork crackling

  1. Score lines in the rind so that the fat renders properly and can flow onto your baking sheet.
  2. Make sure the skin is dry before you cook it and the meat is at room temperature.
  3. Rub the skin with olive oil and salt before cooking.
  4. Cook the joint skin side up.
  5. Cook at a very high heat when you start cooking to render the fat and ensure the skin blisters.
  6. Do not cover the crackling in the oven or it may get rubbery.
  7. If when you have cooked the meat and the crackling is not yet crisp, then remove it from the meat and cook separately in the oven or under the grill on your highest heat until crisp, watching to make sure it does not burn. 

roasted pork rack

How long to cook rack of pork

Well, this depends on several factors, like the temperature gradient and consistency of your oven, the cut of meat, and how you want your meat done.

Some people cook pork for 20 minutes per pound, but this depends on all the above. For example, a cut of meat with the crackling rind still on it will take longer to cook than without, even though the fat will baste the meat nicely.

The length of the roast rack of pork joint will also affect the cooking time for example. Some people say cook for 1 minute per mm of length. In this case, I found that to be fairly accurate. I cooked a 130mm long joint for about 130 minutes in total and it was perfect.

We like to have pork well cooked – we do not like to eat pink pork meat. The recommendation by the USDA is that pork should be heated to an internal temperature of about 63C (145F) to make it safe to eat. But I tend to cook the meat to at least 68C (155F) to make sure it is properly cooked, and still moist and tender. 

rack of pork carved

Meat cooked through and still moist

In this case for a 1,6 kg rack of pork joint, it worked out at about 35 minutes per pound (with different temperatures).

My recommendation would be to keep an eye on the internal temperature of the meat, using a meat thermometer, and above guidelines to make sure you get it right.

pork crackling

 

What to serve with rack of pork?

Well, as with any roast dinner, there are some essentials I would say.

A rich gravy is obviously essential to go with your roast potatoes (some tips in the recipe card below).

Here I served the roast pork and crackling with some sauteed Brussel sprouts, some baked carrots and honey roasted parsnips that can cook in the oven with the roast and the potatoes, and some orange and cranberry stuffing. What a treat!

roast pork dinner

Good luck cooking your first roast rack or pork and crackling. I hope it works out well.

If you do try this recipe, please let me know how you get on in the comments section below!

How to cook a rack of pork in the oven

pork rack and crackling

Roast Rack of Pork with Crispy Crackling

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Rest Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

This recipe for a roast rack of pork shows you how to make a delicious pork roast dinner with a wonderful crunchy crackling. Watch out for your teeth on the crackling!

Ingredients

  • 1 Pork Rack (Frenched) (this one was 1,6kg)
  • 2 tbsp Pork or Chicken Dry rub (I used Sweet & Sticky Chicken Shaker from Cape Herb and Spice)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper (Freshly ground)

For the gravy

  • 1 chicken OXO cube
  • Bisto Gravy granules

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Let the pork come to room temperature before cooking. Pre-heat the oven to its maximum temperature (mine is about 230C).
  2. Cut through the pork rind in a square or diamond pattern with a sharp knife, stopping short of reaching the meat.
  3. Pat down the rind to make sure it is completely dry. Then rub your chosen dry rub seasoning into the meat all around the joint, except the skin.
  4. Rub the skin in olive oil and season the skin with plenty of freshly ground sea salt.
  5. Work out the total cooking time for your joint. I use approx. 35 minutes per pound, depending on the shape, as we like the pork well cooked. Or 1 minute per mm of length. My cut was 130mm and about 1,6 kg so I cooked this one for about 130 minutes in total.

Roasting

  1. Place on a roasting pan, skin side up, and put in the oven. Cook for 30 minutes on high heat. After this, the fat under the crackling should have started to render and the crackling should have started to blister and become a bit crunchy already.
  2. Then baste the joint in its own juices and reduce the heat to 180C and cook for 60 minutes.
  3. Baste again and cook for a further 25 minutes. Then remove from the oven and check the temperature of the meat. (63C (145F) is the safe internal temperature for pork, but I like to cook to at least 68C (155F) to ensure it is fully cooked).
  4. If your meat is not yet cooked, put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes with the temperature turned up high and check again. When it is ready the meat should be allowed to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.
  5. If your crackling is not yet fully crispy when the meat is ready, remove the crackling from the meat and cook it separately in the oven on high heat for 15 minutes, while the pork is resting, to crispen it up.

Notes

Serve up with some crispy roast potatoes, which you can cook in the oven with the roast, baked carrots and some greens.

Use the juices from the meat to make a delicious rich gravy. Let the juices settle first and skim the fat from the top. Then use the delicious liquid with an OXO cube and gravy granules and water to make a tasty gravy to go with your roast dinner.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 198Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 176mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 18g

This nutrition information was automatically calculated by Nutritionix, but may not be 100% accurate.

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