You need to start this the day before you cook it, but the end result is well worth the effort. The combination of Fresh and Dried Fennel (seeds) really impart a flavour that has to be tried to be understood and the pan juices? Amazing – Only matched by the crispiest crackling you’re likely to taste!


Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 1 day 4 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8


  • 3 - 4 kg pork shoulder boned and rolled with rind on
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • Fresh fennel fronds from the top of two fennel bulbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10 tender fennel branches
  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  • 2 cups water


  • The day before you are wanting to cook the pork, unroll the shoulder and place rind side up on a large board. Pat the rind dry and score it at 2cm intervals diagonally ensuring you don't cut down to the flesh (or the juices of the pork will escape when cooking and it will dry out your pork)
  • Turn over and season the flesh with two handfuls of sea salt flakes and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper. Dot the 10 garlic cloves on the flesh, pushing them into the flesh where possible. Sprinkle all over with fennel seeds, dried chilli flakes and fennel fronds (in that order).
  • Gently and tightly re-roll the shoulder (noting that it will be harder to roll with the filling) and tie with butchers twine (or re-use the elastic twine if your pork came with it). Place on a rack, lightly cover with cling film, and place in your fridge overnight.
  • Remove the pork from the fridge two hours before you want to cook. 30 minutes before your pork goes into the oven, preheat it to 220 c.
  • Drizzle the olive oil on the pork 1 tablespoon at a time and massage it into the scoring. Then, taking 2-3 generous handfuls of sea salt flakes and press it into the rind ensuring you have a visible layer of salt on the rind. Ensure you have a roasting tray with a roasting rack large enough for your pork. Cut your fennel branches in half, then lay them on the roasting rack making a bed for your pork, and transfer the pork to the tray. Into the bottom of the tray pour 2 cups wine and 1 cup water.
  • Place in the oven and bake at 220° for 20 minutes, then turn down the oven to 180° and roast for 40 minutes per kilogram - turning it around every hour or so and adding the remaining wine and water halfway through.
  • Remove from oven and transfer the pork to a large board. Cover with aluminium foil and rest for 30 minutes before serving. To serve, remove the crackling, breaking it up into pieces. Slice the pork in large rounds and serve with the pan juices.
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Posted on Categories Pork