Crispy Pork Cracklings
Pork cracklings: The crispy treat for every occasion
Do you remember the sound and smell that comes from biting into delicious crispy pork cracklings? We often recall fond memories of the crunchy treat from our childhood, but for many, it’s still a favorite today.
Pork cracklings are made from pork skin which can be fried or roasted to achieve a satisfyingly crunchy texture. The mouthwatering sound of a crackling is only a part of the pleasure – the salty, slightly greasy flavor is a real treat. Not only that, but pork cracklings can be dressed up in various ways to make the perfect snack for any occasion.
Pork cracklings have been a favorite treat for centuries. Throughout European and Asian countries such as the Philippines, pork cracklings have been often served as a snack or side dish. In the United States, pork cracklings were first popularized during the Great Depression, as people looked for economical yet flavorful meals. Though their popularity stayed high for many years, their production started to decrease during the 1970s. Cracklings made a comeback in the 2000s when chefs started balancing regional traditions with modernity, and pork cracklings enjoyed a period of re-examination and re-discovery. Today, many supermarkets in the US and online offer varieties of processed cracklings.
How can you make the best pork cracklings to get that perfect crunchiness? The first step is to get the right cut of pork. Skin, belly, and shoulder are all great cuts for cracklings since the fatty pieces give the cracklings a nice texture when crisped properly.
The most traditional way to make pork cracklings is to roast them in the oven. To do this, preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a tray with some parchment paper. Pat the meat dry with some paper towels and then crosshatch the skin with a sharp knife – the cuts should be shallow, about ¼-inch deep. Then, season the skin liberally with salt, garlic, pepper, and other spices according to your preference. Place the pork skin on the tray and let the fat side face down; the fat will help keep it crunchy and flavorful. Roast the cracklings in the oven for about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Check the skin every 15 minutes or so and turn them over if necessary. Once the skin is golden and crisp, let it cool and enjoy!
You can also make pork cracklings in a pan. This method is a bit faster, but is also greasier. Put a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and pre-heat some oil. Once hot, add the pre-seasoned pork skin to the pan, skin-side down. Let fry for about 10 minutes before flipping the pork cracklings over. Fry the pork skin until golden and crisp. You can drain the cracklings on paper towels to remove the excess oil.
Once your cracklings are done cooking, there are so many ways to dress them up to make the perfect snack. The simplest way is to sprinkle some sea salt on them for a simple, savory snack. Or, you can try different additions such as Worcestershire sauce, honey, vinegar, herbs, and spices.
Pork cracklings are certainly a classic treat, but they are also an easy and affordable way to impress your family and friends. The crispy