Andrew’s Guide To: Roast Pork
Roast Pork is a fantastic choice that can be often overlooked in favour of easy peasy chicken, or majestic roast beef. Scared of undercooking, leg meat can become dry, whilst people are often scared of the gorgeous, flavoursome fat that we find in belly and shoulder of pork.
For years our pork has been supplied by high welfare farm Dingley Dell, where the animals are fed a natural diet and a stress free life to the highest standards of health and hygiene. This, combined with how we hang and mature the meat, ensures the meat remains tender and succulent when roasted.
I want to show you that Roast Pork really can be both a delicious and economical choice for your family Sunday roast. Below I give you tips on choosing the right cut for your budget, how to cook the main roasting joints, and how to get the crispiest of crackling.
Shopping to your budget:
Roasting a whole joint of meat is always better value for money than steaks or chops, but pork provides especially good value for money, compared to say beef. However, of course prices differ as you choose roasting joints from different parts of the animal. Roast Loin of Pork at the top end of the scale, is great for special occasions: cooked on the bone, the meat is full of flavour and really succulent. Rolled Leg of Pork is very reasonably priced: succulent and with little fat and no bone, this is probably the best value for money when it comes to classic roasting. Cuts such as Rolled Shoulder of Pork and Belly of Pork have more fat running through the meat and are extremely economical. As the pork has been hung and matured in the right fashion this fat provides fantastic flavour and renders down when roasted gently and slowly.
Quick or Slow Roasting?:
Traditionally, pork has been considered meat that, like chicken, needs to be completely cooked through. This can often lead to overcooking and dry meat, which can put people off roasting pork, but that doesn’t need to be the case! The fact that you are buying high welfare pork that has lived a stress-free life is already going to make your pork much more tender than that of the supermarket. It also means you can allow your pork to be served ever so slightly pink. For loin and leg of pork cook for 20 minutes at 220C until crackling is crispy, then cook for a further 35 minutes per kilo at 190C. Rolled shoulder and belly pork can be cooked quickly like this as well, however are perfect for roasting slowly. This works particularly well on bigger joints of 2kg+. Simply place in the oven on a bed of root vegetables, with a splash of wine or water, and roast at 120C for 4-6 hours until the meat is tender and pulls apart.
The crispiest of crackling:
All of our pork joints have the dry skin needed for superb crackling, as they are always stored with plenty of air around them. For the ultimate crackling, I would recommend removing the pork from the packaging as soon as you get home and placing it on a plate in a cold fridge to let the air get to it. You could also pat it dry with kitchen roll and rubbing in salt before cooking, as the salt will draw out any natural moisture. The skin on our leg, and shoulder joints are already scored, and we are more than happy to score the skin on our roast loin or belly pork joints.