As any good chef will know, a very important stage in the preparation and cooking of meat is the resting period. What many cooks are unaware of when taking a joint of meat out of the oven is that the temperature inside the meat will continue to increase even if taken out at the specified time. What we are aiming to do is allow the meat to increase in temperature and then fall again. But why is it important for the meat to cool down before we start slicing. Surely its better serve the meat piping hot. Well, what happens when the meat cools is that the collagen – the meats connective tissue – which weaves throughout the muscle fibres turns from liquid back to its original firm form. Thus, slicing when piping hot means you will lose much of the collagen and therefore liquid in the meat. How long one should rest meat depends on the size of the joint. For a small steak it may only need resting for a few minutes but for a large joint like a pork leg it’s advised of up to 20-25 minutes. But don’t worry; a joint of that size will retain much of its heat so that you won’t have to worry about the meat going cold.
One final tip with regards to producing a good pork carvery is that if what ever reason you find yourself in a situation where the pork crackling is not up to scratch and its looking rather leathery and unappetising, don’t worry there is a quick fix solution. I have found that when hog roasting you peel off big chards of crackling only to be disappointed because of the big layer of fat that is attached to it. Now, I have tried picking it off but this is usually futile. The best way to rescue crackling is to simply to put it in an oven at 180 C and cook for 15 minutes. What you find is that extra intense heat melts all the fat of the crackling and further crisps it up and you end up with the most perfect outcome.