Recipes from the big food monster
Joking aside, it all depends on how many people you need to feed. Personally, i prefer leg, which takes longer to cook and gives a better crackling. The downside being, it’s huge and will feed a whole batallion! It probably wouldn’t fit in your domestic oven anyway. Even a half leg is probably too large for a small family unless you want cold pig sandwiches for a year. And cutting it down into a two pounder will give you something that resembles a large steak, which isn’t any good for roasting either. So, for large get-togethers, huge families or hog-roasts, leg is best.
Otherwise, you’ll be better off using loin… The loin is also a big boy, but being a lot thinner is a good roasting joint when cut in half or even into three or four. For smaller joints your crackling is in the lap of the gods but cooking it on the bone will benefit you in three ways. One – it takes longer to cook so the outside should yield better crackling. Two – the bone sheet will protect the normally “open” side of a boned and rolled joint. Because the loin contains little fat, the open side is easily over-cooked. Ever heard people whinge that their crackling was lovely but the pork overcooked? Cooking on the bone will help. Oh, and don’t be afraid if your pork is a little rosé in the centre; this is a bonus and perfectly safe. But please remember… i said ‘a little rosé!’ Three – bones add flavour to stock. Why should you cook your loin on the bone? Flavour.
Ask the butcher to “chine” the loin for you (meaning take off the part of the backbone to which the “rib” bones are attached. Then, once the pork is cooked, you can eather leave these bones on, in which case you will be cutting your pork into cutlets, or simply slide a sharp knife between meat and bone and cut them off.
Fat for flavour…
Supermarket brainwash-pork has no fat but looks really nice in a pretty packet. So what? You don’t eat the packet! ‘Old’ breeds are coming back strong, (at least they are in England) and i would go for Saddle-back, Gloucester Old Spot or Middle-White in that order.
They are all proper pigs with a proper layer of fat between How to reheat steak and the skin. This fat melts during the cooking process, helping to keep the meat moist, the crackling crackling and also adds flavour. Please don’t be afraid of fat. ‘Ok, already! How do i cook it?’ There is absolutely no secret to cooking pork, and the ritual for preparing all joints for the oven is the same. Make sure your butcher has not only scored the skin but cut right through into the fat. Rubbing salt into the wounds is normally a bad thing but in this case it is absolutely necessary. Ok, here’s what you need…
Pork. See above. Then weigh it.
About ½ teaspoon of salt per pound of meat
Pepper to taste
A few tblspn of vegetable oil
Drizzle the oil and sprinkle the salt and pepper over the pork, then rub it all over the surface and into the cuts. Place a rack into a roasting tray and sit the pork on top. Add a few peeled carrots, an onion, a stick or two of celery and some fresh herbs. And that’s it, ready to cook. Cooking.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 °c.
It really doesn’t matter which joint you use because you’re going to cook it by weight.
For every pound your pork weighs it needs to be sat in the oven for 22 minutes PLUS 22 minutes added to the total cooking time. Once cooked, take the pork out of the tray and sit it on a plate, cover loosely with foil and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving. But don’t throw the tray into the sink just yet. Stick it on a medium heat for a few minutes to allow the meat juices and residue to stick to the bottom and caramelize, then pour off the fat (You can use this to roast your potatoes). Add a splash of cider and half a pint of stock to the tray. Let it bubble up and give it a whisk then strain it into a jug.
Voila! There’s your gravy. All you need now is apple sauce…