How to Cook a Pork Leg in the Oven

The hind leg is one of the four primal cuts of pork, the other three being the loin, shoulder and belly. Also called the ham -- and often by that name already cured -- a full pork leg can weigh about 20 lbs. Unless you're cooking for a crowd, use one of the smaller roasts into which a leg is commonly cut -- the shank or the sirloin, preferably the shank, advise the editors at "Cook's Illustrated." Choose a roast with skin on, which will help keep the meat moist.

A roasted pork leg on a board. (Image: saknakorn/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2

Use a sharp knife to score the surface of the roast into a diamond pattern. Cut the skin and fat only, avoiding the meat.

Step 3

Rub the roast all over with a mixture of herbs, if desired. The editors of "Cook's Illustrated" suggest a mixture of sage, parsley, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper blended to a paste in a food processor. Or just rub the roast generously with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 4

Put the roast on the rack in the roasting pan, and cook at 500 F for 20 minutes.

Step 5

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F and continue roasting until a meat thermometer registers 150 F, about 2 to 2-1/2 hours.

Step 6

Remove the roast and allow it to rest another 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 155 to 160 F. Carve and serve.

Things You'll Need

  • Bone-in, uncured pork leg roast, 6 to 8 lbs.

  • Knife

  • Roasting pan and rack

  • Herb rub (optional)


Like poultry, pork leg benefits from brining -- soaking in a water and salt solution -- before roasting. A basic brine solution is 1 cup salt to 1 gallon water. You can season it further with ingredients such as sugar, bay leaves, garlic and peppercorns. Using a large pot or clean bucket, submerge the roast in the solution and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.

Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.