Did you know that you can derive seriously tasty cooking fat from just one batch of perfect pork crackling?
There’s no other fat which is easier to derive, for your average home-cook, than animal fat.
Yes, there are lots of healthy fats out there, but can you physically pick your own olives or coconuts and make oil from them in your own kitchen, within 30 minutes? Probably not. Albeit natural, there’s still a process involved. But with animal fat, it’s as easy as baking some deliciously crunchy pork crackling and reserving the liquid fat.
If you love roast pork and crackling, then you will love pork lard too! Use it in place of all savoury cooking fat. It smells like roast pork, it’s inarguably the best! Just think: there’s duck fat potatoes, how about pork fat potatoes – they are delicious! You can also use it in stir-frys, to cook omelettes and so forth.
So lard aside, the crackling is also amazing! The prefect pre-dinner snack, though full of [healthy] calories, it’s fairly rich and filling, so go easy! It stores well in the fridge too and if cooked to perfection, will be just as crunchy the next day, however, eaten fresh out of the oven is still the best option.
What sort of pork do I need?
I recommend using organic, free-range pork. If you can’t get organic, make it a priority to use free-range. This is because fat stores toxins, so pasture-raised piggies are therefore healthier and likely to carry fewer toxins in their fat than their grain-fed pals.
In terms of the cut – I often buy a pork shoulder (to slow roast) and separate the skin to make the crackling + lard separately. Otherwise, you the skin and the first layer of fat from a pork belly. Some retailers even sell just the skin (just for making crackling) so keep an eye out for these too.
Crackling: serves 4-6
Lard: approx 150 ml
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
- Baking dish (with side, to retain fat)
- 200 ml clean glass jar with lid
- 1 sheet pork skin with fat (e.g. removed from pork shoulder or belly)
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Preheat a fan-forced oven to 220 degrees Celcius.
- Pat the pork skin dry and score with a sharp knife.
- Rub the skin with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Place in a clean baking dish and bake in the oven for up to 30 minutes, until the crackling is bubbly and golden.
- Remove from the oven and place the crackling on paper towel to cool a little, before breaking into pieces.
- Meanwhile, pour the liquid fat (lard) into the jar and allow to cool before securing the lid and placing in the fridge, ready for use.
- that lard can be used for any savoury cooking from stir fries, to omelettes, roast potatoes and so forth.
- store the lard in the fridge, it will last for weeks
- crackling is best eaten soon after cooking
- if required, store crackling in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hrs