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Making Pork Rinds or Cracklin'!

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gonefishin View Drop Down
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    Posted: 25 October 2013 at 18:45
    Pork Rinds or Cracklin'...I need some help!


    Hello All!

  Since I'm making some bacon again, I've got the left over skin.  So, it's time to attempt pork rinds again.  usually, I'll make the bacon and my brother does the pork rinds...but we haven't had real good luck making them so far.

    Has anyone got some real world experience making pork rinds?  I'd love to hear about your process.  Alternately, if you don't bother with pork rinds and go right to cracklin'...love to hear that as well.

   Thanks!
  Dan
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 October 2013 at 21:11
Only time I've made them was when rendering lard, Dan. But I imagine the process is the same.

You want to start with a little water in the pot. As it heats it starts the rendering process, so the fat melts without scorching. Then, with the oil rendered, the skin actually fries, turning crisp and brown.

First time I heard about using water to jump start the process I sort of scoffed. But it does make a difference.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 October 2013 at 02:15
I've never made cracklins myself, but that certainly sounds like good advice from Brook.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 October 2013 at 05:35
I've had home made pork rinds although I've never made them myself. The skin was trimmed of fat, boiled for a long while till almost falling apart, cooled and cut into pieces then dried. Like dehydrated dried. Dropped into hot lard for just a short time and they puff up crispy and light.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 October 2013 at 05:45
Chicharones. I know I'm spelling that wrong. These were what was available in the Mercados in the SW. I'm pretty sure they took skin on pork belly and such and cut into largish chunks and then into a pot with water and spices where it boiled for quite a while till all the water was gone leaving the chunks to fry out in their own rendered lard. These had tougher skins but I never turned them down.Tongue
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote MarkR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 October 2013 at 06:51
Originally posted by Rod Franklin Rod Franklin wrote:

I've had home made pork rinds although I've never made them myself. The skin was trimmed of fat, boiled for a long while till almost falling apart, cooled and cut into pieces then dried. Like dehydrated dried. Dropped into hot lard for just a short time and they puff up crispy and light.

That is the secret, dried to almost a leather consistency. Pop would lay them out on a couple racks in the fridge for a couple days. Mom didn't think much of that...... I don't think he boiled them that long though, just enough to "cook"?
That's going way back, thanks for the memory!
I've also heard of people freezing them and frying them from frozen, but I don't have any experience with it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 October 2013 at 08:11
   Hmmmm, I had heard previously about starting them in water...then letting the process run through, past rendering into frying.  I've never tried this though. 

   I've also never heard of boiling them, then taking them out and drying them for a length of time.  I was going to try these next weekend with a few people over (not sure what I'm going to cook...maybe pulled pork). 
 

    Thanks for all the advice, I wasn't expecting the extra step of drying.  I'll have to see how it goes and if I'll take the extra step on this try or not.  I may just take this batch all the way through the process, as Brook said.  Then next time, boil, dry and fry like Mark and Rod mentioned.

    Thanks!

  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 October 2013 at 09:21
One difference you're likely to find, Dan, is that with my approach you wont get that airy, puffiness of commercial pork rinds. My understanding is that the boil-dry-fry method will replicate that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 October 2013 at 09:26
Thanks for the explanation, Brook. So if I boil it during the week, how long does this process take? How much water, just barely cover the top of the skins?

Thanks
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 October 2013 at 11:36
If you're asking me, and I'm not sure you are, I'll answer.

The skins were covered in enough water to get the job done and they were done when you could stick a fork in them easily, but you could still use a pair of tongs to fetch the big pieces of skin out without them tearing. I can't say how long that will take and you're not saving the water anyway. Although.... I could imagine a very nice pot of black eyed peas made with the leftover cooking water.

I think the point is to break down the skins ability to hold itself together and weaken it sufficiently to allow it to puff up later on. Totally drying it assures there is no steaming action taking place when the frying starts.

If you were wanting to serve these to guests I would certainly want to try it first before I was committed to offering it up to guests. So boil and dry the skins now, fry just a little to see how it goes and act accordingly. It's been decades since I ate a home fried pork rind.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 October 2013 at 13:22
Originally posted by Rod Franklin Rod Franklin wrote:

If you're asking me, and I'm not sure you are, I'll answer.



   Please Rod...I always want to hear from the members here with ideas or experiences!  You painted a nice picture of what I need to get done.  I appreciate the patience everyone has had for this to get through to me...thanks. 

    I do plan to boil them ahead of time...dry them and have a very small practice round, as you suggest.  This will be an extra thing to do as we're outside...smoking pork and sitting by the fire.  as long is it isn't raining or snowing out! Shocked
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 October 2013 at 13:28
Let us know how it goes. It's been a while since I sat by a fire. Too long.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote MarkR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 October 2013 at 15:19
Originally posted by gonefishin gonefishin wrote:


    This will be an extra thing to do as we're outside...smoking pork and sitting by the fire.  as long is it isn't raining or snowing out! Shocked
That paints a nice pic too!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 October 2013 at 11:40
something to consider: 


using milk is mentioned in my culinaria hungary book, too. didn't realise why until i remembered that milk, with its sugar content, will help with getting a nice, golden-browned colour. 

dan, when you proceed with making them, post a pictorial and let us know how the results go! Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 October 2013 at 11:42
Originally posted by TasunkaWitko TasunkaWitko wrote:

something to consider: 


using milk is mentioned in my culinaria hungary book, too. didn't realise why until i remembered that milk, with its sugar content, will help with getting a nice, golden-browned colour. 

dan, when you proceed with making them, post a pictorial and let us know how the results go! Thumbs Up



   Will do, Ron...good suggestion!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 October 2013 at 15:58
I think we're starting to mix together different things together here.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarkR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 October 2013 at 16:29
Originally posted by Rod Franklin Rod Franklin wrote:

I think we're starting to mix together different things together here.  

Yeah I know my relatives would hunt me if I suggested using milk....
Dat ain't how it don in de South! Eva!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 October 2013 at 18:41
you guys are thinking of it as milk, when the chemical properties therein are at hand. as for the rest, there are plenty more ways than one to skin a cat; i don't recall dan asking for southern (U.S.) cracklin's ~ Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 October 2013 at 04:29
I was only suggesting that apples shouldn't be compared to oranges. Meaning that cracklins and pork rinds and the Skvarky and the Chicarones are 4 different things. Cracklins (may) have had less pre-fry skin breakdown performed than has skvarky which has less pre-fry skin breakdown than chicharones which has less pre-fry skin breakdown than pork rinds.

My Gran made what she called cracklins to put in biscuits. Well, I don't remember what she called them really. Anyway, it was just fried pork skin and although cut in very small pieces it would produce many tooth shatteringly hard pieces. She was a good cook, but in the cracklin department she did not know what she was doing.

To me cracklins and pork rinds are just the skin. Chicharones and the Slovak milk thing uses skin and fat and meat. They're both boiled first which provides a partial breakdown of the skin, but you can't boil them long enough to completely break down the skin because the meat and fat would just fall apart before the skin was done. The chicharones I've had had a noticeably tougher skin component than any pork rind I've had, but no where near as dangerous as my Grans cracklins!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 October 2013 at 06:11
Originally posted by Rod Franklin Rod Franklin wrote:

I was only suggesting that apples shouldn't be compared to oranges. Meaning that cracklins and pork rinds and the Skvarky and the Chicarones are 4 different things. Cracklins (may) have had less pre-fry skin breakdown performed than has skvarky which has less pre-fry skin breakdown than chicharones which has less pre-fry skin breakdown than pork rinds.

My Gran made what she called cracklins to put in biscuits. Well, I don't remember what she called them really. Anyway, it was just fried pork skin and although cut in very small pieces it would produce many tooth shatteringly hard pieces. She was a good cook, but in the cracklin department she did not know what she was doing.

To me cracklins and pork rinds are just the skin. Chicharones and the Slovak milk thing uses skin and fat and meat. They're both boiled first which provides a partial breakdown of the skin, but you can't boil them long enough to completely break down the skin because the meat and fat would just fall apart before the skin was done. The chicharrones I've had had a noticeably tougher skin component than any pork rind I've had, but no where near as dangerous as my Grans cracklins!


   Hi Rod!

   I think that we're finding that these variations are quite regional.  Not only are they regional to different areas of the world, but there are large variations to different regions inside the U.S.

   When I brought the question up, I framed the question as pork rinds or cracklin'.  To me, in the upper midwest, most people refer to pork rinds and cracklin' as the same thing.  But, in my experience they are not (though they are both delicious!)


   
Quote Has anyone got some real world experience making pork rinds?  I'd love to hear about your process.  Alternately, if you don't bother with pork rinds and go right to cracklin'...love to hear that as well.


    If there are hard and fast rules, somebody please correct me...but this is how I categorize things.

 Pork Rinds - are the thin puffed glorious amounts of pig skin, that are usually light, airy and delicious!  These can be quite clean, or have very little fat/meat underneath in very small amounts.  Chicharons are the same, though they are more often (at least by us) not found to be completely clean of all fat/meat.  These still aren't cracklin'...but they're not supposed to be.  The ones pictured below are not mine, but look nice (although I don't like anything but salt added to mine...spicy seasoning just seems to get annoyingly inhaled while you put them into your mouth...of course, maybe that's just me Wink


 

 Cracklin' - A very different animal indeed.  This is sometimes a partial thickness or full thickness skin/fat/belly meat.  Making a snack out of a full thickness belly is about as good as it gets.  First time I bit into them I just sat there silent, with fat dripping down my chin, and a huge smile on my face...not a word came out of my mouth Star



   In this go around, I'm not going to make cracklin', because I'm making bacon.  But I'd still love to hear the procedure/recipe if someone had some.  So, I contributed to part of the confusion asking for two things that are commonly interchanged, but are in fact quite different. 


  Dan
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