Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Preparing pork rib: How to crack the crispy crackling code

Well, here we are again! The annual race to commemorate our mothers Christmas pork rib with crispy crackle is on. Last Wednesday I made my first of the year, and I did it just the same way as last year. Prebaking it in a very low oven, increasing the heat, using the fan-function in order to get that xtra crunch.  

Many Norwegian eat pork rib for Christmas. The ultimate icing on the cake (or rib) is the sensation of a crispy, crunchy crackling. Most prepare their pork rib as demonstrated in the YouTube video above. Even though in Norwegian, you get a pretty good idea just to look at how they prepare the rib.

One important step in the preparation is to season ahead of baking, in fact most allow the rib to marinate overnight in refrigerator with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Do remember to make incisisions through the pork skin. Jamie Oliver once cut the rind in very thin strips. Traditionally we cut in two directions into squares.

As a busy working man, I decided to buy pre-marinated rib. These are offered at several supermarkets, but as last year my local REMA 1000 supermarket offered it at 39,90 per kilo (USD 3,45 per lb). Sadly they had not cut the rind, and the marinade had not given enough flavour to the meat.

I had to prepare my rib ahead of time, as I had little time before my guests arrived. Monday I placed the rib on a grill in a low oven (100C / 215F) for four hours. I poured a small amount of hot water in a tray below the meat. I baked the rib for 4 hours before taking meat out, cooling it then placing the rib in the refrigerator.

Collect the dripping, cool down and heat to serve it to your rib.

On Wednesday I placed the rib back in a low oven for 30 minutes, placing potatoes, traditional meatballs and sausages under it to be fried in the dripping. After thirty minutes I increased the heat to 175 C / 320F for another half hour. I then removed the other ingredients, turned on the hot air fan-function of my oven, and watched the crackling puff up like popcorn. It is vital that you stand by the oven, removing the meat before the cracklings burn.

Success!! I had cracked the crispy crackling code again. My guests claimed that it was the best rib they had eaten for ages, served with meatballs, sausages, pickled red cabbage and dripping. My mother would been proud  

More stories on the quest of crispy crackling pork rib at Enjoy Food & Travel
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