Tips for Perfect Roast Pork

Roast Pork Joint. Joff Lee / Getty Images


Roast pork is a favourite Sunday Roast, second only to the national favourite, Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding. Often I am asked how to cook perfect roast pork; it is very easy as you can see with these handy tips.

What Makes a Roast Pork Perfect?

A 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.

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 flavour, 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.

Joints like shoulder and collar are better slow cooked.

How Much Pork Do You Need?

For 4 - 6 people you will need about 1 kilo of meat (including fat). Never worry if you have too much, pork is delicious cold in sandwiches.

Cook for 25 minutes per 450g/1lb, plus add a further 25 minutes at 200°C /400°F/ 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 62°C / 145°F according to the 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 from the roasting tin and place onto a serving plate, cover loosely with foil and place in the oven with the door slightly ajar.

If you need to keep the oven hot (i.e., for cooking potatoes or maybe Yorkshire Puddings then wrap the meat completely in foil and keep in a warm place.

Important Tips Before Cooking the Pork and for Crisp Crackling

  1. 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 and a must if you want crisp crackling, so uncovered is best. 
  2. At the time of cooking, the pork should be at room temperature, not cold straight from the fridge so remove for several hours and leave covered in a cool, not warm, place.
  3. Using kitchen paper, dry the pork thoroughly including the skin. Always throw the paper away once used for hygiene reasons.
  4. Even if your butcher has already scored the skin, it helps to add a few extra slashes.
  5. Use a Stanley, or Craft Knife or very sharp paring knife to slash the skin to give a good clean cut.
  6. Do not cut through to the meat, half way down the fat is sufficient.
  7. Use your hand to massage the oil and the salt into the skin and make sure it runs into the cracks of the skin
  8. Always put the pork into a preheated oven and cook to the correct temperature. See below.

Best Roast Pork Recipes