It may not be the pinnacle of pork’s gastronomic potential, but the humble pork scratching is a guilty pleasure enjoyed by many. A simple creation made from cooked and seasoned pork rind, no one is going to claim it’s the healthiest snack available, but it is one of the most tempting.
Sometimes referred to as pork crackling (a variation which involves multiple cooking cycles for a crispier, puffier result) it’s a firm favourite of pub snack connoisseurs everywhere. Despite what you may thing, however, you don’t have to head down to your local pub or supermarket to pick up a bag. With a choice of simple recipes available, it couldn’t be easier to whip up a batch of scratching, using off-cuts from your next pork dinner. Here’s how…
Pork Scratchings Oven Recipe
One of the easiest way to cook pork scratchings is in the oven. First, pre-heat your oven to 180° (gas mark 4), then while waiting for your oven to heat up, place the rind on a chopping board with the skin facing down, and make a series of diagonal scores across the top. Next, grind up a teaspoon of fennel seeds with a tablespoon of sea salt, and rub the seasoning into the scores. Finally chop the rind into chunks and bake for an hour, dropping the heat down to 160° (gas mark 3) after 20 minutes. If you prefer a softer, puffier crackling, simmer the rind in boiling water for 15 minutes before seasoning, and dry it out at your oven’s lowest setting for 60 mins before following the baking steps above. Once cooked and crispy, dry your scratchings/crackling off on a double layer of kitchen towel before serving.
Pork Scratchings Air Fryer Recipe
Technically, pork scratchings can be shallow fried in a pan, but it’s not the best cooking experience. Only the rind touching the oil in the pan will cook properly, so you need to keep an eye on them and turn them regularly. The main reason to avoid the frying pan however is because the oily rind spits constantly, threatening tiny burns, ruined clothing, and a messy clean-up of your oven top. A much quicker, cleaner and easier method is to turn to the increasingly popular air fryer – the newest addition to many home kitchens. Simply cook the rind for 4 minutes at 230° for four minutes, then cut and season as per the recipe above, and return to the air fryer for another five minutes. Check the scratchings and drain on kitchen towel before serving. If any are looking less well cooked, just return to the fryer for two-minute blasts until it’s all finished.
Whichever cooking method you choose, your freshly cooked scratchings will be delicious hot or cold. Just add extra salt as required and enjoy with a cold beer.
Here at The Roasting Pig, we’re specialists when it comes to roasting pork. With our hog roast catering service, we provide show-stopping banquets which are perfect for parties and events of all sizes (and there’s no shortage of crispy crackling). If you’d like to know more about our fully catered service, or simply hire one of our hog roast ovens for the day, be sure to get in touch.