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The truth about pork rinds ... scratchings, chicharron, etc

What is your favorite way to eat pork skin?

Do you have a favorite brand of bagged pork rinds? This site reviews over 40 brands ... http://www.taquitos.net/snack_reviews...

This is an old 2001 Chowhound post about microwave pork rinds with the following tip about pork rinds in general ... "place a anchovy rolled around a caper inside the pork rind. "
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/287414

For your holiday eating pleasure this 1989 NYT article about pork rinds has a dip recipe using them ... Peruvian-Style Pork Rind Dip
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage...

Anyway, the reason for the title was that I was reading a site about pork rinds that claimed to have put a lot of false info into a Wikipedia article about pork rinds.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pork_rinds

So it got me to wondering about what the best pork rinds are and how different nationalities eat them.

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  1. So far my favorite way of eating pork rinds has been stewed chicharron. I like it both ''en salsa verde" or red. I think I prefer the red the most. I had it once in a ranchera sauce which was also good. I kind of like the fried-tofu esque puffiness of it which is a great foil for soaking up the sauce.

    My favorite Taqueria in Fallbrook, Ca puts it crumbled into the guacamole and it is outstanding.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kare_raisu

      Sounds like you need to try making my aguacate y queso fresco con chicharrones. Here's my old post,
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/30572...

    2. In Ecuador, particularly in the south around Cuenca, a popular dish is 'papas y cuero', potatoes and skin.
      http://south-american-food.suite101.c...
      This version calls for cooking fresh skin, or softening fried rinds. Then they are cooked with onion and potatoes, with some peanut butter added for flavor. It can be served dry, or as a soup.

      Through out Latin America, parts of the pig with lots of skin are valued especially for soup - feet, ears, and tail. The large nearby Asian grocery leaves the skin on other parts such as fresh ham slices and belly.

      paulj

      1. Ok, first of all, it is beyond scary that you guys eat this PRE-FAB. I cannot believe you can actually buy bags of these!!! I guess they're like chips.. or crisp, yeah??

        **shudders**

        Secondly, IMHO, the only way to eat pork crackle (as we know it Down Under), is carved off, en bloc, from a freshly cooked leg of Roast Pork, and then crisped up under the griller.

        Apple sauce is NOT an option. Mustard is allowable.

        7 Replies
        1. re: purple goddess

          you can buy them pre-fab or make your own at home. which is great as long as you don't mind your entire kitchen being coated in a thin layer of grease. personally, my favourite way to have chicharrones is deep fried, then sprinkled with limejuice, chile and salt. are you the purplegoddess on b3ta?

          1. re: purple goddess

            If you ever get into a Mexican thing again ... and ever do find Mexican food in Australia ... there is a snack called duritos that look like fried pork skins but are made from wheat. Good and crunchy.
            http://www.chow.com/digest/595

            I'm not a fan of the bagged stuff mainly because my reaction to it is about the same as yours. I like my pork skins still attached to the animal part like pigs feet with saurkraut and cabbage. Did have a good feijoda recently that just used the skins ... cueve I belived it is called. It has the same texture as cooked pigs feet.

            I'm kind of getting into good, crunchy fried chicarrones, but never liked the soft version. Oddly that seems slimy to me and the texture is about the same as that on cooked pigs feet.

            1. re: rworange

              Pig's trotters stuffed with truffle-infused rice and spinach.

              slow cooked Asian pork belly.

              **nostalgic sigh**

              Unfortunately piggy skin has a nasty effect on me. As another poster recently said, It's got a digestive tract half-life of about 10 mins.

              1. re: rworange

                I'm with you: I'm not crazy about the soft cooked versions, although the picked versions can be okay. I like them crisp. I don't care for the American bagged versions or the Mexican bagged versions where they've been processed somehow and turned into shapes (wagon wheels, planks, etc.). However, I did pick up a bag of chiccharones at Grocery Outlet last month that were pretty good: they actually looked and tasted like the real thing.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  I don't think the shaped forms have any skin in them. They are a wheat product, which is sold in bulk, in an un-fried form in Hispanic groceries. But I haven't paid much attention to them.
                  paulj

                  1. re: paulj

                    Yeah, the bagged Mexican ones are not pork, but wheat and called duritos.
                    http://www.chow.com/digest/595

                    If you go into Mexican groceries you'll see them near the produce in bulk. They look like uncooked pasta. I've been wondering if you fried any pasta if it would puff up like that.

                    I forgot I'm ok with pickled pork rinds. I wouldn't go out of my way for them, but they are ok if I have a close encounter with them in a taco ... or cole slaw ... kind of chewy like calamari.

                    1. re: rworange

                      You can also microwave them for a few seconds and the puff up. Strange but somehow also good.

            2. In Playa del Carmen, at 30 ave and 30 st from Thursday to Saturday under the blue tarp, the tortas de lechon (suckling pig) with chicharron and habanero salsa, are world-class. Gone by 11:00 AM. 15 pesos.
              Repeats for emphasis: world class.

              1. I usually eat chicharon with a dip of vinegar, garlic, chili and soy sauce. I have also used it in Southeast Asian soups as the texture turns chewy and somewhat resembles the fish stomach that one occasionally finds in seafood broths in Asia.