Traditional Roast Pork with Better Crackling

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Ready to carve - Traditional Roast Pork with Better Crackling www.compassandfork.comPork is going through a renaissance in Melbourne, with new cuts making a big impact on the local food scene. Pork Belly, in particular, is very popular in various Asian and European cuisines such as Spanish. As an avowed lover of pork this is a great thing. But let’s not disregard the old classics like plain and simple traditional roast pork with better crackling!

Today we feature an easy-to-make, traditional roast pork recipe that almost guarantees you achieve great pork crackling! Yes we know some people consider pork crackling not to be the healthiest food going around. But if there is a better taste anywhere in the world of meat roasting, then please let me know because I haven’t found that yet. And I have been searching for a long time! For this great delicacy, we can thank our founding British heritage here in Melbourne.

Today we also take a look at the impact of our British heritage with regard to Melbourne’s great, old architecture and the strong influence of the British on our diet. We also link to some great articles about where to eat great pork in Melbourne and nominate our favorite abode to enjoy a traditional roast pork with crackling.

Melbourne’s British Heritage

It’s no secret that the English settled Australia as a penal colony. The British brought their customs, laws, architecture and food and transplanted them onto the other side of the world into another hemisphere. It was only natural that buildings and food would resemble what they were used to in England. All the popular English vegetables, fruits and breeding animals for meats, were transported along with the convicts, guards and administrators. Buildings also resembled those back in England especially parliamentary and court buildings.

Luckily for Melbourne, gold was discovered nearby in the 1850’s. The gold rush brought huge money to Melbourne. Now there is a legacy of magnificent stone buildings from that era, both public and private, that is in plain evidence as you walk down Collins Street. A walk down tree-lined Collins Street is free and in my view a worthwhile highlight for tourists and locals alike.

Collins St Facades - Traditional Roast Pork with Better Crackling www.compassandfork.comMelbourne (and Australia), have the British to also thank for the great tradition of the Sunday Roast, with the popular choices being lamb, chicken, beef and of course pork. In Melbourne and particularly regional Victoria, the “Roast of the Day” is still a very popular menu item in pubs. I would hazard a guess and say that a roast is still the most popular meal prepared in the family home throughout Australia. Meat sold in Australia is of excellent quality. And pork in Australia is extremely popular.

Where to Enjoy Pork in Melbourne

Perfectly cooked, traditional roast pork is juicy and attached to the meat is the rich, golden, perfectly crunchy crackling. But where in Melbourne can the tourist or local get their fix of our British heritage roast meats? Surely the greatest contribution from Britain to the world food scene!



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Here is the Urban List’s 10 great places to enjoy a roast (not just pork) around Melbourne. Most of these establishments are located in inner Melbourne. The Urban List is a solid place for food recommendations.

Here is another list of great places to enjoy pork dishes around Melbourne, again most are in inner Melbourne. Note the prevalence of pork belly in this list.

My favorite for traditional roast pork? I would go to the Roast Kitchen in Kew. Enjoy!

Another popular menu item is (whole) suckling pig. November is good food month in Australia, the world’s biggest food festival. Many excellent, Melbourne restaurants offer this delicacy as part of the festival.

Can I have some Crackling with that Pork?

In Australia and Europe, when you buy a pork roasting joint it comes with the skin on and it is scored into the layer of fat between the skin and the meat. To make great crackling, you simply rub salt into the skin, making sure the salt gets into the cuts from the scoring. To achieve successful crackling, cook the joint in a hot oven for the first 20 minutes and then turn down to moderate for the remaining cooking time. That’s it. Dead simple. I have also had great success on a charcoal-fueled weber. Deliciously, juicy, and rich.

Collins Street - Traditional Roast Pork with Better Crackling

I point this out because often when I have been in the US, I have struggled to find pork roasts sold with the skin left on (except pork belly). Find yourself a good, local butcher (not the supermarket) and ask for the skin to be scored and left on (see the instructions below). And which cut of meat should you buy for good crackling? Popular choices are the leg, a rack of pork or pork loin (chine bone removed). Pork shoulder and pork belly also work well.


The “guaranteed” method of achieving crackling described below is a method detailed in, The Cook’s Companion, by Stephanie Alexander, a doyen of the Australian chef community. It is the single, best cookbook I have come across. It’s an 1100 page classic and you can get it here.

In all other respects this is my recipe, but the idea to serve the pork with rhubarb comes from Jamie Oliver. The rhubarb cuts through the richness of the pork. It is a sublime combination.

Further Information

November is Melbourne month. Want to read more about Melbourne and its cuisine? Try here:

Roast Lamb is also extremely popular in Australia. Here is a great Roast Lamb recipe with a South American twist.


Traditional Roast Pork with Better Crackling Recipe


Traditional Roast Pork with Better Crackling


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Traditional Roast Pork with Better Crackling
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Here is a recipe that will deliver rich, moist, roast pork with almost-guaranteed golden, crunchy crackling. Together with poached rhubarb, roasted carrots and a side salad, here is a meal fit for a king.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
4people 20minutes 65minutes 1hour
Servings Prep Time
4people 20minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
65minutes 1hour
Servings: people
Servings: people
  1. If the skin of the pork has not already been scored, score it into the layer of fat underneath in criss-cross fashion about 1/2 inch (2 cm) apart. Use a Stanley knife (with clean blade). Place the pork into a clean sink (no plug). Slowly ladle the boiling water over the meat and skin. This will open up the scoring as the skin contracts. When finished, allow the meat to drain on a wire rack. Dry with kitchen paper and refrigerate skin-side up for a minimum 1 hour (overnight is perfect).Scoring - Traditional Roast Pork with Better Crackling
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 450 f (230 c). Rub the salt into the scored pork skin. Dribble the vinegar slowly over the skin, the salt will absorb. Combine the the pepper, fennel seeds, sage and nutmeg. Rub well into the cuts on the pork. Rub half the olive oil over the skin and meat.Crackling rub - Traditional Roast Pork with Better Crackling
  3. In a snug-fitting roasting pan or dish, place the onions, garlic, bay leaves and carrots. Sprinkle remaining olive oil over the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Place the pork firmly on top. Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 f (180 c) and roast for a further 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 160 f (71 c). Baste every 15 minutes with pan juices.
  4. Transfer meat and carrots to a warm place, covered loosely with foil. Reserve pan juices. After 15 minutes, slice into serving pieces.10 of the Most Popular Dinner Recipes from Around the World-Traditional Roast Pork with Crackling | Australia
  5. While the pork is resting, make the gravy. Tip all fat from the roasting pan, stir in wine and stock over moderate heat. Allow to reduce a little. Strain sauce pressing the onion and garlic to extract flavors.
  6. To serve, place rhubarb on plate, top with sliced pork and crackling. Add the reserved carrot. Offer sauce separately. Serve with a green salad.
Recipe Notes

With Rhubarb and Carrots - Traditional Roast Pork with Better Crackling

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14 Responses

  1. Lucy @ BakingQueen74
    | Reply

    Wow that crackling looks amazing. As a Brit myself it is great to read about the English heritage in Australia, as I haven’t visited yet. I have pork for tomorrow and will have to come back to this post for the crackling tips!

    • Editor

      Good on you Lucy. I do enjoy the crackling. The secret is to pour the boiling water over the scored skin to open up the scoring and then letting it rest in the refrigerator for a while. Thanks for your comment and enjoy that Roast Pork tomorrow.

  2. swayam
    | Reply

    Love that pork!! What a gorgeous crackling.. love the colors.

    • Editor

      Yes it came up very nicely!

  3. Dana
    | Reply

    This looks and sounds like perfection!

    • Editor

      Dana, it was most enjoyable. The secret is to find a good cut of meat!

  4. A crackling roasted skin is my favorite part! At home we add salt in the end, when the roast is done, but I will test how your method works next time. The images look promising… Happy thanksgiving!

    • Editor

      Krystallia, I’ve never tried salting at the end, I might have to give your method a try! Happy Thanksgiving to you too! Enjoy

  5. Ange
    | Reply

    It has suddenly dawned on my that you are fellow Melbournians! Your pork looks so good, and boiling water over the rind creates perfect results every time!

    • Editor

      Ange, Yes if it is good enough for Stephanie, then surely it will work for us mere mortals in the kitchen! If you are here in Melbourne we should meet up!

  6. Germaine
    | Reply

    Looks like perfect crackling indeed. Thanks for the process. Its always a tricky one….

    • Editor

      Germaine, Yes and always disappointing if it doesn’t crisp up!

  7. Leslie Rossi
    | Reply

    Delicious! My nonna makes something similar around christmas too.


    • Editor

      Leslie, Yes we often have roast pork at Christmas as well.

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