How to make pork scratchings at home in your oven.
This is our second attempt to make pork scratchings at home in the oven and frankly, it was a total success.
So, if you do decide to try this method, we do think you'll find it's pretty easy. And we don't think you will be disappointed. Good luck and read on dear friend.
More Methods Coming Soon
Going forward, we will be adding a few other variations on this method. This is the best method we have tried, the scratchings were crispy and salty, just perfect. But as time has passed, we have now tried a few different ways to prepare the rind, used different cooking fats and oils. We have used salt during cooking, and added flavourings during and after cooking. All of these things affect the end result. So as soon as we get some time we will be adding more and more methods to this section!
A few people asked us if we'd tried to make pork crackling in a frying pan, so we thought we'd give it a go. The method is not the same as the one below for a few reasons.
1. we did not brine the raw pork rind.
2. we microwaved the pork rind so it was easier to cut.
3. we only used a frying pan.
So if you need to make pork crackling without an oven, then click here to see our easy frying pan method.
Don't forget to wear an apron. Pork scratchings can spit as you stir them around to evenly cook them, so get a porky apron here.
Keep in touch
If you would like to be kept informed of our recipe endeavours, then why not follow us on twitter / facebook. Or, why not sign up to the newsletter here. We will let you know as soon as we have more to read about this fascinating subject!
How to make Pork Scratchings
- An Oven
- A Heavy Iron Roasting Dish or Pan
- A Wooden Spatula
- An Apron (to keep yourself clean)
There is only one ingredient
- 855 grams Pork Rind for Crackling the size of this in unimportant
The other stuff you should already have
- 1 litre Water for brine
- 50 grams Salt for brine
- 5 grams Salt for flavour
- Buy some raw pork rind. Most traditional butchers will be able to sell this to you. Some supermarket will be able to as well. Morrison's Supermarket sells the skin by itself. This is where we got ours from.
- Remove any wrapping from the pack and recycle it or dispose of it correctly. You can see that ours is ready scored which helps a lot!
Cutting & Brining
- Cut up the rind into pieces. make them as big as you want, but remember that they will shrink after they have been cooked. Then soak the rind in very very salty water (called brine). We left ours in the brine for one whole day (24 hours). The smell is not very nice.
- Next, pour away the saltwater brine and rinse the rind under cold running water until all the brine has been washed away. Sieve the pieces and allow them to dry for a short while.
- Then turn the oven on, turn it on HOT... 200°c. Pre-heat a heavy iron dish until it's nice and hot. Take the dish out of the oven and add the dry cut-up pieces. They will sizzle and steam as any remaining water boils off. You do not need to add any extra oil or fat, but you can add a little if you prefer or your rind has a particularly thin layer of fat under the skin. Return the dish and the rind to the hot oven.
To Fat or not to fat?
- When I originally made these, I did not add any oil or fat to the dish. But recently, I have noticed that the rind I get from Morrison's is a little thin on the fat side of things. So, If you are using rind that doesn't have much fat, then I advise adding some fat or oil. It helps to keep things from becoming dry and sticking together. I have used sunflower oil in the past and it has worked just fine. I'm sure that lard would also work well and may give a little bit of extra flavour.
- After about 10 minutes, the pieces should have started to cook, and they will be dry. No water will remain. Every time we opened the oven, hot steam came out, so don't stand too close to the oven or you may get a hot blast in the face! Opening the door to let out the steam seems to help, as the dryer the air is inside the oven, the crispier the crackling becomes.
- After 30 minutes some of the fat should have rendered away from the skin. The liquid fat is now helping to cook the pieces more evenly. This is usually why it is not necessary to add any extra oil or fat.
- Soon, they are starting to look a lot like proper pork scratchings!
- As you can see from the image, they are now bubbling away nicely. Give them a stir to allow for even cooking. Beware at this point the scratchings may pop and spit hot fat at you when you move them, so you may want to wear gloves, as well as an apron. Stand well back.
- After a while, the bubbling fat sound seems to change and become less vigorous. They are bubbing gently, a little bit less than at the start. They are also starting to smell like proper pork scratchings (which is a relief).
- Every time you open the oven to have a look, keep moving and stirring them. This really does help with even cooking.
- It can seem difficult to work out exactly when the scratchings are ready. It's also very easy to overcook scratchings and burn them. We recommend that you err on the side of caution and take them out earlier rather than later.It's too easy to keep cooking them in the oven for a little bit longer, just because you see one piece that's not done. But by trying to cook the last piece, you will ruin the rest. This is why we remind you to keep moving and turning them. It really helps with even cooking.They won't necessarily be hard either, which may seem odd. Because they are warm they will be a bit bendy. Trying one straight out of the oven is not the best way to work out if they are ready or not.
- When you are happy with the way the scratchings look, take them out of the oven for the final time. Pour off the excess fat, but be careful, it's still very hot.
- Take the pork scratchings out of the dish and put them on some kitchen paper to absorb as much remaining fat as possible.
- They are looking good...
- They are really looking very good now...
- Put a few scratchings in a bowl and add salt to taste. The salt should stick to the pieces. As the scratchings cool, the salt is less likely to stick, so add while warm.After a short while, they should be cool enough to eat.
Then eat them warm, nice!
- If you don't eat all of the scratchings in one go, then you will need to store the rest of them.Add salt to the remaining scratchings to taste (to taste = as much or as little as you like).Find an adequately sized plastic container that can be sealed. Add a few layers of kitchen paper to the bottom of the container, this will absorb any remaining fat from the scratchings.Then put the remaining scratchings into the container and seal it properly.Always store the container in the fridge. This will extend the shelf life of your homemade pork scratchings.Eat them sooner rather than later - you have been warned. Pork scratchings go stale fairly quickly. Don't let them get stale!
Do not take medical advice from a pork scratchings website.
Click here to read more about pork scratchings on a low carb/keto diet. Remember, if you don't have an oven or would rather use a frying pan, this is also possible, we have the perfect frying pan method too!
Below are a few quick links to recommended equipment that you may need for cooking perfect pork scratchings at home on the oven. We can't find any links to the roasting dish that we used. It was given to us as a gift and sadly dropped on the floor, where it broke in two!
Le Creuset Enamelled Cast Iron Roasting Dish
If money is no object, then this is the one you looking for!
Staub Oval Roasting Dish - Graphite Grey
Middle ground between the cheaper and more expensive options
Argon White Rectangular Baking Dish - Cast Iron
A more cost effective solution that the Le Creuset option
The Wooden Spatula
Plastic is bad for the planet and silicone toold are not sturdy enough. Sometimes the scratchings stick to the bottom of the roasing dish, so a wooden spatula is the best option. It's also good because it won't damage any non stick surface that your dish may have.
Tala FSC Certified Beechwood Set of 3 wooden Spatulas
Cheap, cheeful, perfectly adequate for the job in hand. FSC certified too to help the planet a little bit. If you ignore the carbon footprint of the amazon shipping process!
Invisible Footprints Bamboo Cooking Utensils – Dishwasher Safe & Planet-Friendly
I like bamboo, and these look good too.
We had to mention this, because here at Hairy Bar Snacks, we have made the most appropriate pork scratchings apron possible. If you love pork scratchings then this is the unisex apron you need!
Click the image or click here to have a better look.