Pork rinds

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File:Large Pork Scratching.png
A pork scratching from a bag purchased in the UK
File:Khaep mu.jpg
A bowl of pork rinds in Thailand

Pork rinds is a snack made by frying or roasting skin (rind) and fat of a . The frying much of the fat that comes attached to the uncooked rind, causing the cooked product to reduce considerably in size. The product may be known by alternative names, such as pork scratchings or pork crackling in the UK, although the term crackling may also refer to the rind atop a roasted pork joint.<ref name="freshersfoods"></ref>


Pork rinds are a feature in every cuisine where pork is used. Often a by-product of the rendering of , it is also a way of making even the tough skin of a pig edible. In many ancient cultures, were the only way of obtaining and it was common in many people's diet until the made vegetable oils more common and more affordable.

pork rinds are sold which are microwaved in bags that resemble microwave (although not exhibiting the popping sound) and can be eaten still warm. pork rinds, on the other hand, are often enjoyed refrigerated and cold. Unlike the crisp and fluffy texture of fried pork rinds, pickled pork rinds are very rich and buttery, much like .

Health issues

Since most pork snacks are low in carbohydrates, they are an alternative snack food for those following the . However, pork snacks are often very high in fat and sodium; the fat content of pork rinds is similar to that of , but the amount of sodium in a serving of pork rinds is nearly five times that of a serving of potato chips. According to , a serving contains nine times the protein and less fat than is found in a serving of carb-packed potato chips. They add that 43 percent of a pork rind's fat is , and most of that is — the same healthy fat found in . Another 13 percent of its fat content is , a type of saturated fat that is considered harmless, because it does not raise cholesterol levels."<ref>Junk Food that's Good for You from </ref>

Regional variations



Scrunchions is a term for small pieces of pork rind or pork fatback fried until and crispy. They are often used as a flavouring over other foods, such as salt fish and potatoes, and mainly used as a condiment for . [1] [2]

In , they are often called oreilles de Christ (Christ ears) or , and are eaten almost exclusively as part of traditional meals.

United States

Cracklings is the American name for fried or roasted skins of pigs, or other animals. Pieces of fried meat, skin, or membrane produced as a byproduct of rendering are also called cracklings. Cracklings consist of either roasted or fried pork rind that has had salt rubbed into it and scored with a sharp knife: "a crackling offers a square of skin that cracks when you bite into it, giving way to a little pocket of hot fat and a salty layer of pork meat."<ref name="pigskins"/>

Cajun cracklings (or "cracklins") from are fried pieces of pork fat with a small amount of attached skin, flavored after frying with a mixture of peppery Cajun spices.<ref name="pigskins"></ref>

Pork rinds normally refers to a snack food commercially sold in plastic bags. They are made in a two-step process: pork skin is first rendered and dried, and then fried and puffed.<ref name="zeldes"></ref> These are also called by the Mexican name, , in reference to the popular Mexican food.

Pork rinds sold in the United States are occasionally stained with a pink or purple spot. These edible marks are actually USDA stamps used on the skins to mark that they have been inspected, and graded. They are not harmful.<ref>http://www.husmans.com/facts_and_FAQs.php</ref>

In 2003, sales of pork rind experienced a "meteoric rise", but they have dropped "by $31 million since 2004, when they reached $134 million, and now make up barely more than 1 percent of the salty snack market."<ref name="pigskins"/>



Pork rinds used to be a very common food in before the program in 1986. Due to many economic difficulties in the pre-Doi moi era, and were still "luxury goods", consequently fat liquid and pork rind became excellent replacements in Vietnamese daily meals. Nowadays, when Vietnam's economy is much better than before, pork rind is no longer a substitute food, but a delicious and special component in many Vietnamese dishes, such as , noodle and snails (), , etc.<ref></ref><ref></ref>

In Vietnamese, pork rind is called , literally means "dried piece of fat".


File:Lanna cuisine starters.JPG
Kaep mu (in the bowl at the bottom of the image) served as one of the starters in this selection of northern Thai dishes

Khaep mu (), as crispy pork rinds are known in , are a speciality of the city of .<ref>http://travelingchili.com/articles/fried-pork-skin/</ref><ref>http://www.cnngo.com/bangkok/eat/chiang-mai-cuisine-top-491130</ref> One way of making khaep mu is to first cure the pork skin, with an attached layer of fat, in salt for several days, after which it is soaked in water for a couple of hours. This ensures that the fat cells will expand, resulting in a "puffed skin" after cooking. The slabs of belly fat are then slowly cooked at a low heat in, preferably, but other and can also be used. Similar to a , the pork thus treated can be stored. The pork is then cut in to smaller pieces and baked in an oven until perfectly crispy.<ref>http://ediblyasian.info/recipes/crispy-puffed-pork-rinds-kab-muu-</ref> Another method of making the pork rinds again involves salting the pork skin, but instead of soaking it, the skin is hung out to dry in the sun after which it is sliced and deep-fried twice.<ref>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cTzeFxZOLc</ref> Yet another way to make this dish in Thailand is to first cut the pork skin in to strips, then boil them in water after which they are thoroughly dried before being deep-fried.<ref name="joysthaifood">http://www.joysthaifood.com/thai-food-information/thai-dessert-fried-pig-skins-cab-moo/</ref>

Northern Thai people most often eat pork rinds together with different Thai chili pastes, such as num (made with grilled green ) and nam phrik ong (made with dried chili peppers, tomato and minced pork). It can also be eaten as a snack, either on its own, or with khaep mu, a dipping sauce made with lime juice, fresh chili peppers and a sweet chili paste.<ref>http://www.gotoknow.org/questions/6278</ref> It can also figure as a accompaniment to Thai dishes such as the famous <ref name="joysthaifood" /> or used crushed as an ingredient, for instance in sa makhuea, a northern Thai salad made with minced pork and .<ref>http://library.cmu.ac.th/ntic/en_lannafood/detail_lannafood.php?id_food=153</ref>


United Kingdom

Pork scratchings is the British name for deep-fried, salted, crunchy pork rind with fat produced separately from the meat. This is then eaten cold.<ref></ref> Pork scratchings typically are heavy and hard, have a crispy layer of fat under the skin, and are flavored only with salt. The pig hair is usually removed by quickly burning the skin of the pig before it is cut into pieces and cooked in hot fat. However, this process is not 100% effective, so scratchings occasionally retain a few hairs.

Pork scratchings are sold as a in the same way pork rinds are in the . Unlike the physically large, but relatively light bags of 'deep-fried skin without the fat' sold around the world, in the UK they are sold in relatively small bags, which usually weigh between 42g and 90g. Traditionally, they are eaten as an accompaniment to a of in a , just like or . Scratchings can also be bought from , or . They have been taken to both the and on various expeditions,<ref></ref> because of their high energy content.

This food is believed to have originated in the West Midlands or Black Country, where they were widely consumed by the working classes. The pork scratching dates back to the 1800's, when families kept their own pigs as a source of food; in order to not waste any element of the pig, due to the scarcity of food, even the offcuts of fat and skin were fried for food.<ref name="freshersfoods" />

There are three distinct types. Traditional scratchings are made from shank rind and cooked just once. Pork crackling is also made from shoulder rind, but is fried twice. It is first rendered at a low heat, and then cooked at a higher temperature for a less fatty, crispier result. A more recent development is the pork crunch, which is made from back rind and again double-fried to become a large, puffy snack.<ref></ref> Some now sell just the layer of skin and fat (no meat), in a raw form for home grilling or roasting, or cooked and ready to eat from hot food counters. The term 'crackling' is also often applied to a twice-cooked variety of pork scratchings.

Rest of Europe

In , pork rinds are known as grattons,<ref name="pigskins"/> and are an essential ingredient to some slow-cooked stews, such as .

In , they are called cortezas de cerdo or cueritos when they do not have any solid fat attached, and or torreznos when they do. In and other -speaking areas, they are usually called cotnes (sing. cotna), which is the pork rinds per se, when prepared as snacks, whereas llardons (sing. llardó) are a specially prepared, pressed variety. The latter are also known regionally as greixons (sing. greixó) or llardufes (sing. llardufa), among other names.

has torresmos and couratos, the latter normally on sale at large popular gatherings, such as football matches, usually on a , and accompanied by . In the , they are known as knabbelspek, which translates to "nibbling bacon". They are usually sold with no flavorings other than salt at most butchers and supermarkets. They are usually eaten as a snack food.
In , they are known as flæskesvær and can be found in most grocery stores and kiosks. In Austria, they have recently become popular as Schweinekrusten (pig crusts).

See also

  • , an Italian food made from pressed pork scraps
  • , a Jewish snack made from chicken skin


External links