With the cooler weather creeping in, the weekend roast returns to our house with much celebration. Everyone in our house loves roast dinner with crunchy roast potatoes and all the trimmings. One of the kids favorite and I have to admit mine to, is roast pork. Of course the crackling has to be perfect and the meat juicy and tender but with a little care it is easy to produce the perfect pork roast that will leave everyone with that wonderful contented feeling on a Sunday afternoon that only a gathering round a roast can do.
I've known people who were a little scared of the roast pork process. Saying their roast was either dry or didn't crackle. I have witnessed a friend slicing the un-crackled skin off the cooked pork roast, then down on her knees hold it up to the grill in the oven on folks to try and get it to crackle. Be scared no more!
Here comes the science! OK, so as you cook your roast at a heat it causes proteins to uncoil and join together and the release of water/juices from the meat. This can result in the meat becoming dry. By placing it in a brine before you cook it the salt in the brine reacts with the proteins causing them to unwind and then swell and water to attach to the proteins. As its cooked this water gets trapped giving you a more juicy roast finish.
1lt cider (get a good quality traditional cider avoid the sugar rich back sweetened ones)
1 cup of kosha salt (or plan non-iodized salt)
1/2 cup rich dark brown sugar or maple syrup (depending on your preference)
3 tbs coriander seeds
2 tbs juniper berries
2 tsp black pepper corns
4 bay leaves
2 kilo pork roast
You will need
small frying pan (for toasting seeds)
Pestal & mortal
A 3 lt plastic box or non-reactive container
Place 500ml of the water in a saucepan with the salt and sugar (or syrup) heat, stirring until all is dissolved.
Pour it into your box and add the rest of the water plus your cider.
Toast the pepper corns and coriander in a dry saucepan, then grind them and add to the brine.
Crush the juniper berries and add to the brine along with the bay leaves.
Chill, the brine must be cold before you put your meat in!
Once it is well chilled place your pork in the brine and place a weight on top to keep it totally submerged. I find a side plate normally does the trick!
Chill for 6 hours.
Take out, pat dry and let it sit at room temperature for an hour.
Make sure the skin is dry. Score the skin into the fat (but not into the meat). Grind a little salt and pepper over the top.
Put it straight into a very 250degC oven. Check it after 15 mins. Once you see the skin starting to crackle you can turn it down to 170degC.
It is ready when the internal temperature reaches 71degC