Crackling is pig skin, cooked so that it’s crisp. Since skin contains, and is often adjacent to, a good deal of fat, it benefits from a long, slow, rendering process, followed by a quick, high-heat crisping process.
You can form perfectly good crackling while cooking a skin-on pork roast, so long as the meat beneath the skin is a cut that also benefits from a long, slow cook. Pork head, shoulder, and hock come to mind. After the slow cook, raise the oven temperature to 425°F and bake until the skin becomes brittle, almost glass-like.
You can also cut the skin from the meat, then render and crisp it on its own. This yields a product more like commercial pork … Continue reading.