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Pork Cracklin's...soooo evil....

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Being back in Los Angeles has really given me some great opportunities to make food connections...one of which was finding a Mexican grocery store that frequently has decent cuts of pork at a great price.  So recently, I picked up some pork shoulder/picnics to stock up on breakfast sausage.  With the great price comes a little effort and I had to butcher the meat...not too much of a hassle really.

But I was left with a few pounds of pork fat and pig skin.  What to do?  I de-fatted the skin as best as possible; cut it into squares; slow baked them with some salt; and they will soon be fried up for chicharrones.  

The fat, I rendered the fat all day today and was left with a few quarts of golden pork fat and some cracklin's.  Now this is my first time rendering this much fat and having this many crunchies left over--I usually just toss them.  But this time I decided to drain them and set them aside to cool.  I was curious what they tasted like, so I put just a hint of salt on one of the pieces and WOW!  Flavor explosion!  My mind is still reeling, trying to comprehend what it just experienced. 


Yes, I know, I know...I know that what I was eating was not the healthiest stuff in the world.  In fact, I know that this stuff could kill ya!  This is not something I would EVER eat in bulk.  But the idea of tossing some of these cracklins with a green salad and onions...or maybe even topping some sauteed green beans with them....I am just blown away by these things.  Where have they been my whole life?
post #2 of 12
Quote:
Where have they been my whole life?

East Los.

BDL
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post #3 of 12
You usually toss them? Even just a little bit are the cook's reward!

I freeze them, so that I don't kill myself immediately :lol:. Right now, I have some from goose and some from pork in my freezer. When I need them, I thaw them out, reheat to recrisp, and use as needed. Well, that assumes they are needed -- of course they are, for flavor!
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #4 of 12
I had a large hunk of fat w/skin leftover last time I did pork belly.  Decided to render it.  Once the cracklings were cool, well, time to try one, right?

At which point, reptile brain took over and there was absolutely no way I was going to do anything but stand there at the stove and eat all of them (it was only a little handful).

Haven't used the lard yet.
The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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post #5 of 12
 Has anyone tried making Pork Rinds? I was wonder what the technique is for them ever since I had them at The Publican in Chicago. I believe the skin is blanched and the scored and deep fried?

My favorite pork belly is fresh bacon after it has been smoking for a couple hours and has that wonderful smoky crispy exterior. I just love to cut some of that off and munch away.
Thanks,

Nicko 
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All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
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post #6 of 12
i can make the perfect Pork Crackling when cooking a whole loin of pork boned and rolled

how i cook it is to place the pork loin in a deep roasting tray and make searing cuts on the skin about 2cm apart, i coat the skin with plenty of vegetable oil and then sprinkle a generous amount of salt onto the skin and some cracked black pepper, then put some fresh sage and thyme in the roasting dish surrounding the pork, cover the roasting tray with baking foil and bake the loin for about 2 hours at 190deg celcius, and halfway through cooking i remove the foil and baste, it never fails to make the best pork crackling

   
we're as good as our last meal.
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we're as good as our last meal.
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post #7 of 12
Hey, speaking of bacon, I was at the awesome Surfa's today with a mind to pick up some pink salt for curing.  They had some, French stuff, sodium chloride & potassium nitrate (nitrite?) - 8 bucks for 5 ounces.  Is that expensive?  I was under the impression that the stuff is dirt cheap.
The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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post #8 of 12
cracklings sprinkled on a salad... ruins the low fat thing but sooo tasty :lol:
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Nicko, I will be making the pork rinds (chicharrones) tomorrow and will let you know how they turn out.  Generally, though, you take the skin, salt it a bit, dry them out a bit, and then fry them up.  There are few variations on how to get there.  Once you have fried them up, there are several recipes for further cooking. 

My only plan for tomorrow is to fry them up and have a snack for the weekend.  I'll keep ya posted!
post #10 of 12
   Hi all,
  
   I'm getting ready to make some pork rinds as well.  I made them once before with so-so results.  I suspect that I didn't render the fat down enough.  They were good...but a bit fatty.

   Right now I've got 30lbs of pork belly curing in the fridge for BACON!  Consequently I have alot of pork skin.  I plan on making smaller batches this time and render the fat out and then deep fry.  I had rendered the skin in the oven with decent results but I've also heard of people rendering the fat in the fryer at lower temperatures (@250f).  I'm not sure which is better...but I do know if I render it in the oven I get to reserve the fat (big plus!)

    I'd love to hear if anyone has any other thoughts or suggestions...

  thanks,
  dan
post #11 of 12
Originally Posted by Nicko View Post

 Has anyone tried making Pork Rinds? I was wonder what the technique is ... I believe the skin is blanched and the scored and deep fried?

Nicko and GF,

You guys have the right ideas, although Gone Fishin is perhaps a little closer.  Typically the skins are cleaned -- but usually not perfectly.  Then, sometimes scored -- a good idea but optional. 

Next, slow cooked for a long time at a low temperature in an oven (say 3 hours at 250F), in a pot of water (2 hours at a simmer), or poached in oil or lard (poached in lard, the more trad Mexican way).  The idea is to render all of the fat out of the skin, and to tenderize it as well.

But some people omit the slow cook, and just do a good job of cleaning and then pop them in the hot fat. 

Finally, deep fried until fluffy and crisp in hot lard or oil.  A matter of a few minutes.

In Mexico the fried chicharrones are often stewed in sauce which itself can be used to sauce things like tamales, as a main course, served as a taco filling, etc.

BDL
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What were we talking about?
 
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post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
OK Nicko, below are the results of the pork rinds from today.  They came out crunchy and flavorful. There were only a couple that were a little soft, but I think that was my fault due to impatience of wanting to taste them!  All I did was trim extra fat off the skin; oven dry the pieces with salt; and then today, I deep fried them.   (still getting used to the new settings on the server...hopefully the pic below is not TOO big!)  Enjoy!

Here are the results of the chicharrones today:  Chicharrones/pork rinds
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