One of the fantastic side benefits of making your own bacon and having your butcher remove the skin from the pork belly is that you can use it to make some seriously awesome pork scratchings. Make sure when he does take it off that you still have a little bit of fat along the bottom.

By the way – pork scratchings, pork crackling, crackle – it’s all the same.

Pork ScratchingsMy method of making these seems to have become an amalgam of a few different ones over the years. Is used to hit them with oil and salt, and that was about it, but I found that it would burn way to easy. Then I just tried salt, which was OK but a bit underwhelming taste wise.

What I discovered is that the important element of crackling when you cook it is that you want to remove as much moisture as you can from it to make it crunchy and let the fat do the work. You can then apply different spices to get some great tastes.

What you’ll need:

  • Pork Belly Skin
  • 1 TBS sea salt
  • 1 TBS fennel seeds
  • 1 TSP white pepper

Method:

  • Score the skin in a criss-cross fashion
  • Grind up a teaspoon of white pepper, tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of fennel seeds and rub down the scored piece of belly, getting it into the cuts
  • Pop it into the fridge, uncovered for about a half hour. This will help draw out some of the moisture
  • Pre-heat an oven to 180c
  • Remove the whole belly from the fridge and use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to cut it into strips (if this is proving hard, pop it in the freezer for a half hour, will make it easy to cut)
  • Pop some baking paper on the bottom of a roasting tray and lay out the strips and pop into the oven for 20 mins
  • After 20 mins, drop the temp to 150c and cook for another 45 mins
  • Remove the strips from the tray, lay on paper towel to cool, and when cool break up into smaller chunks.

There you have it – perfect with an ale or a cider