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How to Debone and Roast a Pork Leg

Pork Leg
Buy a budget-friendly whole leg and prepare in these ways.

Fresh Leg of Pork

Pork leg, also called fresh ham, is the animal's hind leg. Once deboned (see how to below), you could cut into roasts. 

To do so, separate each muscle in the leg by cutting along the natural seams that divide them. Now cut each piece of meat into the size of roasts you require. If you like crackling (crispy, roasted skin), cut and set a piece of the skin you saved when deboning the leg and set on each roast. Tie roasts with kitchen string. 

The meat could also be sliced into thin cutlets, or be cubed for use in stews, braised dishes and kebabs. The meat could also be ground and used in sausages, meatballs and other dishes. 

No matter how you've prepared the leg, tightly wrap, date and freeze what you don't plan to cook within the next day or two.

How to Debone a Pork Leg

If you'd like turn a whole leg into smaller roasts or other cuts, you'll have to debone it. Here's a guide:

Step 1:

Set leg skin-side up. With a sharp knife, carefully cut off the skin and reserve, if desired. Turn the leg over. With a sharp boning knife, remove the flat aitchbone by carefully working the knife around it.

Step 2:

Starting at the narrow end, position your knife directly above the leg bone. Make an incision there to expose the bone. Now make an incision that runs the length of the bone, which will become exposed as you go along and be easy to follow.

Step 3:

Carefully work the knife around the leg bone and remove, doing your best not to poke the meat too many times. The meat is now ready to cut, as you like. Freeze the bones and add them to enrich the flavour of chicken stock when making it.

Roasting a Whole Leg of Pork

If you need to feed 10 or more friends, roasting a whole pork leg can be a juicy and impressive thing to serve. It's not difficult and there's no need to debone it. 

To prepare, set leg, skin-side-up, in a large roasting pan. Use a sharp knife to cut through the skin and score the leg in a diamond pattern, making criss-crossing cuts 2-inches apart. 

Season simply, with salt and pepper, or enhance leg with a favourite spice rub. Warm leg at room temperature 1 hour before roasting.  

Preheat the oven to 450˚F. Roast pork 30 minutes, and then lower oven to 325˚F. Now roast until the internal temperature in the centre of the leg reaches 150°F (65°C) on an instant-read meat thermometer. How long the leg will take to cook depends on its weight, but count on about 15 minutes per pound. For example, a 20-pound leg will take about 5 hours to cook. 

During cooking, baste leg with pan juices and rotate the pan a few times. Cover the leg with foil if it becomes overly dark in the latter stages of cooking. 

Let the leg rest at least 20 minutes before carving and serving. Make gravy with the pan juices, if desired.

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