How to roast pork: How to cook roast pork with crackling

Roasting pork just got easy thanks to this step-by-step guide!
  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • If you're wondering how to roast pork then you've come to the right place. From how long to cook to how to make pork crackling, we've got your covered.

     Our simple step-by-step roast pork recipe is full of helpful advice on how to prepare and roast a whole joint of pork, with mouth-watering results. We’ve also included tips from our Test Kitchen experts – including their secrets to creating the perfect pork crackling.

    Perfect on a Sunday afternoon, this tasty roast pork recipe also includes advice on how to make a delicious apple gravy, which is the perfect match alongside the meaty joint of pork – a tasty sweet and savoury combination. We made this version using enough ingredients to serve around six people. If that’s too much for your gathering, don’t worry. We also have loads of ideas for roast pork leftovers too.

    Love a good roast? For more recipes, including how to make the perfect gravy and roast potatoes, take a look at all of our roast dinner ideas. 

    How to roast pork

    Best cut of pork for roasting

    Pork leg, shoulder or loin all make good joints for roasting. A piece of meat that’s been boned and rolled is easiest to carve, and you might want to consider investing in a sharp knife.

    As, when roasting the pork, you’ll need to pierce the flesh –  if the juices run clear, the pork is cooked; if it’s still pink, it needs cooking for longer. Generally, outdoor-reared, free-range pork has a thicker layer of fat, which keeps the meat more moist during cooking. 

    Do you cover pork when roasting?

    If you’re cooking a joint of pork, which has a fatty layer of skin you want to make into crackling, definitely do not cover your pork. It will make the skin soft and chewy. Some joints of meat require covering to ensure that they do not dry out or brown too heavily. This isn’t a problem with roast pork because the fat keeps it lovely and moist and you want the top of the skin to crisp up. If you remove the skin to make crackling separately then you might want to cover the meat to stop it from burning at the end of cooking.  

    Once you’ve have finished cooking the roast porkyou might want to cover it to keep it warm when resting. Resting is important because it makes the meat juicy and more succlent. We prefer to take the crackling off before covering in foil, so that any steam coming off the joint doesn’t cause the crackling to go soft. 

    How long does it take to cook a 1kg or 2kg joint of pork?

    As a general rule of thumb, it takes 30-35mins per 500g plus around 30min on high at the beginning to cook a joint of pork. If you are used to lb rather than grams then 500g is just over 1lb. The high temperature at the beginning is important because it gives the crackling a good head start before cooking the meat.  

    So, 1kg of a joint of pork will take 1hr to 1hr 10 minutes + 30 minutes high at the beginning.
    And, 2kg will take 2 hr to 2hr 20 + 30 minutes high at the beginning.

    If you have a meat thermometer, check to ensure  the pork is at least 75C. Other meats will not need to be as hot but it is very important that pork is cooked properly. The UK Food Standards Agency say pork needs to reach an internal temperature of 75C for 2mins in order to kill off any harmful bacteria. Don’t let this worry you though, pork is safe to eat as long as you cook it properly.

     

    How to roast pork

    What temperature should roast pork be cooked at?

    Our Test Kitchen recommend that you give pork an initial heat blast at 220C/Gas 8 for 30mins before reducing the heat to 180C/Gas 4 for the rest of the roasting time (30mins per 500g/1lb).  This is for a pork roasting joint such as rolled shoulder, leg or pork loin.

    Some joints of pork, for example pork belly, are cooked for much longer at the same temperature of 180C/Gas 4. Jamie Oliver cooks his pork belly for up to 1hr per kg, but gives a slightly longer heat blast at the beginning – around  40-50mins. Gordon Ramsay cooks his slow roast pork belly for 2.5hrs per kg with no heat blast.

    If the skin hasn’t become crispy by the end then you can put the heat up to 220C for a further 20-30mins but be careful not to overcook the meat. Our Deputy Food Editor, Rose, like to remove the skin from the meat at the end and put the skin back in the oven on it’s own (while the meat rests) at a higher temperature to make sure it’s super crisp.

    How to make pork crackling?

    The key with crackling is to make sure the skin is super dry. You can achieve this in a number of ways. Deputy Food Editor, Rose Fooks, likes to store the joint in the fridge over night after scoring the skin to really dry the skin out and then get it out an hour before cooking to ensure an even cook. Food Director, Elisa, likes to pour boiling hot water over the skin before cooking then pat dry again with a tea towel before re-seasoning and roasting immediately. Our Food Editor, Samuel, is always careful when scoring the skin to ensure that he doesn’t cut through to the meat which can release juices on to the skin and stop it from crisping up.

    If the skin is struggling to get crispy then you can, as Rose does, separate the skin from the meat and cook it at a higher temperature whilst the meat rests.

    How to roast pork

    Carving pork

    How to roast pork with crackling

    Ingredients

    • 2.3kg whole boneless pork leg joint, rolled
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
    • 1-2tbsps sea-salt flakes
    • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
    • Handful of sage leaves
    • 1 cooking apple
    • 500ml pork stock
    • 1tbsp plain flour
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper