• Fresh, well-raised Aussie pork makes for the best loin roast. (Sharyn Cairns)Source: Sharyn Cairns
If you love crackling, or those dark chewy ends on a roast...
4 Sep 2017 - 12:52 PM  UPDATED 29 Jul 2019 - 7:40 AM

If you've ever been lucky enough to eat porchetta in Italy, you'll know what we mean. Tender juicy pork that's been stuffed with aromatic herbs and roasted until falling apart and busting with flavour, it's one of THE best ways to enjoy roast pork. 

Now we can't all roast an entire rolled pig on a spit - as Paul West does this week on River Cottage Australia (If you missed the show you can catch up here) - but tender pork packed with flavour can be be yours. Whether it's tender porchetta (no spit required) or a joint from a well-raised pig roasted in a home oven and covered with crackling, here's how to nail it. 

Overnight roast pork

If you love those dark, chewy deeply caramelised edges on your pork roast.... this is for you. A glazed pork shoulder gets an initial blast in the oven then cooks at a low temperature for 8-10 hours. "The next morning, we woke in a cloud of garlic, sugar, and pork aroma — like bacon on steroids. The surface of the roast was burnished and crisp, and when I went at it with two forks, the meat virtually fell apart," says Merrill Stubbs of this overnight magic. 

Paul West's crackling pork loin with cider gravy

The secret to get outstanding crackling? The day before you want to cook the pork, use a sharp knife to score the skin at 1 cm intervals, then place the pork onto a tray in the fridge, uncovered. "Moisture in the skin is the enemy of great crackling and the low humidity environment of the fridge will draw the moisture out," Paul explains. 

The pork you start with matters too. "I thought that I knew what pork tasted like, that was until I raised and killed my first pig on the farm. The difference in flavour was akin to the gulf between bitter and sweet, and once you have tried pork that has been bred for flavour and lived a life full of grass and sunshine, there is no going back to its grey, dry and factory-produced counterpart," Paul says.  "I can’t stress enough the importance of finding a high-quality producer when it comes to pork. It’s undoubtedly more expensive, so is best treated as an occasional treat."

Fresh, well-raised Aussie pork makes for the best loin roast.

Cuban pork

There are several stages here - marinating, frying and roasting - but it makes for pork with flavour and good crackling. 

Porchetta (slow-roasted pork)

Porchetta is rolled, spiced pork with crackling that, put simply, just makes you happy, says Maria Pasquale, author of the I Heart Rome blog and book. It takes four hours of cooking to achieve this tender, rich meat and it's worth every minute. 


Matty Matheson's porchetta. It's super juicy and packed with herbs and other good things to give it flavour. But what you're probably noticing more than anything else is THAT CRACKLING. Here's how he does it, with all the tips.

Roasted pork belly with pickled green mango

This Filipino roast pairs crackling-topped pork with pineapple and pickled green mango.

And if you're after the ultimate pulled pork...

Watch as Tom Kerridge  explains how to make outstanding pulled pork, get the recipes for Tom's perfect pulled pork and then turn it into his outstanding toasted sandwich.

What’s the secret to making tender, juicy pulled pork?
You might want to make twice what you think you need. It's that good.

More roasts with the most
Roast pork and crackling

A piece of pork with all the fat and skin still attached, roasted until unbelievably crisp is enjoyed on occasion in many parts of the world. This is also the case in the Nordic region but most importantly in Denmark and Norway.

One big difference between the Norwegian and Danish roast is that the crackling is most often cut differently. In Denmark it will be cut straight across in thin strips, while in Norway it will be cut into 3–4 cm squares. 

Rolled deboned rabbit stuffed with herbs
 (coniglio in porchetta

An Italian take on classic Sunday roast, this rolled rabbit is literally stuffed with flavour. The meaty filling of pancetta, rabbit liver and pork sausage – subtly laced with thyme and fennel seeds – is almost a meal in itself! If you haven't cooked with rabbit before, don't be daunted by the task. Ask your butcher to do the deboning and reserve the livers for you.