A pork rack or pork rib roast is a cut from the rib area of the loin, somewhat equivalent to a standing beef rib roast. Although it requires some preparation on the previous day, the combination of tender roasted pork ribs and crispy crackling along with vegetables cooked in the juices and fat from the meat will make it a family favourite.
Prep time 30 minutes (plus overnight drying)
Cook 1 hour 15 minutes (plus resting)
- 6-rib pork rack, skin on, about 1.5kg
- 1 garlic clove, ﬁnely chopped
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- Finely grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
- 2½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1kg sebago potatoes, cut into large wedges
- 2 small fennel bulbs, tough outer layer removed, cut into wedges, fronds reserved
- 1 brown onion or red onion, cut into wedges
1. Score the pork skin at 1cm intervals with a sharp knife or scalpel, being careful not to cut through to the meat.
2. Combine the garlic, orange and lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of the oil and half the fennel seeds in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and rub all over the pork meat. Place the rack skin-side up on a tray.
3. Combine the sea salt and the remaining fennel seeds in a bowl, then rub all over the pork skin. Refrigerate uncovered overnight for the skin to dry out. Remove it from the refrigerator 2 hours before cooking to come to room temperature.
4. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Combine the potatoes, fennel wedges, onion, half the orange juice and remaining oil in a roasting tin and season generously with salt and pepper. Set the vegetables on the lowest rack of the oven. Place the pork, skin-side up, on a clean, lightly oiled oven rack, directly over the vegetables: all the beautiful fat and juices will drip into the tray. Roast for 20–30 minutes until the skin begins to crisp and crackling forms.
5. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C and leave the door ajar slightly for a few minutes to help the oven to cool. Continue to roast the pork, turning occasionally if necessary so it cooks and crackles evenly, for 40–45 minutes until cooked to medium: internal temperature will read 58°C and the meat will continue to cook as it rests. Cover the pork very loosely with foil and set aside to rest for 30 minutes. Cover the vegetables with foil and keep them warm.
6. To carve, place the pork crackling-side down on a board and slice between the rib bones. Squeeze the orange and lemon juices into the resting juices. Serve the pork with roasted vegetables and resting juices, scattered with fennel fronds.
NOTES: You’ll need to begin this recipe a day ahead to allow the pork skin to dry out and create crisp crackling.
To calculate the cooking time for cooking temperature, allow 15 minutes per 450g for medium. The meat will continue to cook as it rests.
Any leftover pork and crackling are excellent in sandwiches. If there are leftover roast vegetables too, try making a salad: toss with bitter leaves, leftover sliced pork and a simple vinaigrette dressing.