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Garlic and Herb Roasted Pork Loin with Crackling

Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Author: Emily Clifton - Nerds with Knives


For the pork loin

  • 4 - 5 pounds pork loin center cut with a thick rind/fat cap, skin intact*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt divided
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil like canola or grapeseed
  • 2 heads garlic cut in half across the bulbs
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary

For the spiced apple chutney

  • 4 apples peeled, cored and half-inch diced (recommended: Honeycrisp or Granny Smith)
  • 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger grated
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt


For the Apple Chutney:

  • Combine the apples, onion, ginger, pomegranate juice, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seeds, pepper flakes, star anise and salt and in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to simmer and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 45-50 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove the star anise and allow to cool.

For the Pork:

  • -3 days ahead, Rub the flesh with 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt, including where the bones pull away. Dry the skin as much as possible with a paper towel. Place on a sheet tray on a wire rack, skin-side up and place in the refrigerator, uncovered, to let the skin dry.
  • Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
  • If the butcher has not done it for you, score the rind with a very sharp knife, using long, parallel slits 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch apart across the width of the loin; be careful not to cut into the flesh. Rub the rind with the last 1/2 tablespoon coarse salt, ensuring that the salt is rubbed well into the slits. Coat the rind with 1/2 of the oil.
  • Flip the loin over and rub the flesh side with the remaining oil. Place the garlic, thyme, and rosemary up against the flesh. Using butcher's twine, tie the herbs and garlic to the loin. If you have ribs, tie ribs to loin as well.
  • Place the loin, skin-side up, on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 425 degrees F and cook until an instant-read thermometer poked into the center of the loin reaches 135 degrees F, about 1 hour. Skin should be puffy and crisp, if it’s not puffy enough, set the roast under the broiler for a minute or two until it puffs.
  • Remove from the oven and let the loin rest on a carving board for 30 minutes; the internal temperature will continue to rise about 10 degrees F, and the juices redistribute to make it moister).
  • Remove the ribs by cutting the remaining flap, discard the garlic and herbs. Carve the loin into slices following the scores so that each slice has a segment of crackling (approx 1/4-inch strips). Serve the warm pork loin with cracklings, Yorkshire Puddings and a bitter green salad.


The loin is easiest to find at a real butcher shop. Ask for “easy carve” which means the bones are mostly separated from the meat. You can also go completely boneless, but the ribs make a striking presentation. You can also have your butcher score the skin with parallel slits 1/4-inch apart across the width of the loin. If you can’t find a skin-on loin, you can still make the recipe (minus the crackling). Make sure you find a loin with a thick fat cap, or the meat will be dry.
Special equipment: butcher's twine, a roasting pan and rack
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