Tips for Perfect Roast Pork

Roast Pork Joint. Joff Lee / Getty Images


Roast pork is a favorite Sunday roast, second only to the British national favorite, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. Perfect roast pork should have lovely moist, evenly cooked meat surrounded by crisp, sharp crackling. The crackling can be either left on or removed at the end of cooking and served separately. Cooking perfect roast pork is easy once you know the right tricks.

The Best Cuts of Pork to Use

Loin, belly or leg make great joints for roasting. Choose fresh-looking meat, preferably with a thick layer of fat. Many people shy away from joints with fat on them, but this fat helps keep the joint moist while cooking (dried out pork is one of the major faults when cooking pork) and helps with the flavor, you don't have to eat it unless of course, you want to. Free range and organic pork will always have a thick layer of delicious pork fat. As for what to avoid, joints like shoulder and collar are better slow cooked.

How Much Pork Do You Need?

For four to six people you will need about 2 pounds (1 kilogram) of meat (including fat). Never worry if you have too much—pork is delicious cold in sandwiches.

Before Cooking

Use these tips to prepare your pork for roasting and ensure you get crisp crackling:

  • If the pork needs to be stored before cooking, leave it unwrapped in the fridge on a lower shelf. Pork cooks much better when the skin thoroughly dried. This is a must if you want crisp crackling, so uncovered is best. 
  • At the time of cooking, the pork should be at room temperature, not cold straight from the fridge, so remove it for an hour or more and leave it covered in a cool, not warm, place.
  • Using kitchen paper, dry the pork thoroughly, including the skin. Always throw the paper away once used for hygiene reasons.
  • Score the skin with a very sharp paring knife, craft knife or Stanley knife. Do not cut through to the meat, halfway down the fat is sufficient. Even if your butcher has already scored the skin, it helps to add a few extra slashes.
  • Use your hand to massage oil and salt into the skin and make sure it runs into the cracks of the skin.
  • Always put the pork into a preheated oven and cook to the correct temperature.

Cooking Roast Pork

Cook for 25 minutes per 1 pound (450 grams), plus an additional 25 minutes at 400 F (200 C) or Gas 6. These temperatures are based on a conventional oven, adjust accordingly for your oven.

If possible, use a meat thermometer to ensure the pork is cooked right through. Pork should reach a minimum temperature of 145 F (62 C) according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Resting Roast Pork

An important part of cooking any meat is once it is removed from the oven the meat must rest. Once cooked, remove the pork from the roasting tin and place it onto a serving plate. Cover it loosely with foil and place it in the oven with the door slightly ajar. If you need to keep the oven hot (i.e., for cooking potatoes or maybe Yorkshire pudding) then wrap the meat completely in foil and keep it in a warm place.

Best Roast Pork Recipes

Put your pork roasting skills to use with these recipes: