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Pork crackling, part deux

You asked, “Why exactly would a hairdryer be used to prepare roast pork?”

Well, as a post-holiday gift to you, I’ll tell you the secret.

Shhh… lean in. Are you leaning in? Really?

Okay, so in order to make really good pork crackling, you need to get the pork as dry as possible.

According to Gastronomy Domine, after scoring the skin with a craft knife (we purchased a box cutter just for this occasion. We really are very crafty) and rubbing salt into the skin, the site recommends that you “take a hairdryer to the skin of the meat until it’s absolutely bone dry. Wrap your joint in a teatowel and refrigerate it overnight. (The atmosphere in your fridge is extremely dry, and this will help any more moisture to evaporate.)”

In short, that is why my husband went all Ken Paves on our pork.

We got some other tips here and used a little poetic license as far as the heat and timing was concerned.

But that is how we ended up with the crispiest pork rind west of the English Channel.


In praise of pig skin

Happy 2012! I hope you had a good New Year’s!

We had some friends over on New Year’s Day for a very big lunch. The main course? Pork tenderloin with crackling. It was no easy feat to find a butcher willing to sell such a piece of pork with the skin still on it. This is California, after all. The butcher asked repeatedly if we really wanted the skin still on it. He would be happy to remove it. It was really no trouble.

But no. We wanted the skin and it stayed. My husband prepped the pork the night before in some way that involved the hair dryer. I didn’t ask. Sometimes you have to leave Brits to their own devices. Sometimes you’re better off not knowing.

Photo credit: Felicity Cloake

What I do know: after the pig spent some time roasting in the oven the next day, it was simply gorgeous and my apologies that I had forgotten to take a photo. The skin had transformed into this thick, crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness that was indeed cracking good crackling. Blistered, buttery bliss. The crack cocaine of the pig world. We don’t eat like this every day, of course, but once a year, on New Year’s? Hell yeah!

And served with stuffing, roast potatoes, mashed carrots and swede (translation: rutabaga), red cabbage and apples, Yorkshire pudding (yeah, I know it’s not the usual accompaniment, but sometimes it’s just what is required), as well as a pavlova with fresh raspberries for dessert, we ushered in the new year with our bellies full and happy, thankful for everything that we have.