How To Make Pork Cracklings (Pork Rinds, Chicharrones)


Step 1Preheat the oven to low, about 100 °C/ 210 °F (fan assisted), or 120 °C/ 250 °F (conventional).

Step 2I get about 4 pounds of ready-to-be-used pork skin from my farmer every month. If you buy pork skin with fat and meat on it, you'll need to cut it off. To do that, cut the meat into strips and score every 2-3 inches. Be careful not to cut through the skin.

Step 3Then, insert the knife between the skin and the fat and carefully cut it off. You will end up with some fat still attached to the skin. That's fine and will add flavour to the pork rinds. Cut the pork skins into 1-2 inch pieces. The more fat you cut off, the fluffier they will get when deep fried!

Step 4Lay the pork skins over a baking sheet in a single layer and place in the oven. I usually make pork rinds in batches and end up using four trays. Bake for about 4-6 hours or until dehydrated.

Step 5When done, pour the excess lard into a pan.

Step 6You can use the rendered lard to fry the cracklings. Use a small deep pan and add more lard if needed. Heat the lard up until hot enough for deep frying. Use a slotted spoon and add your cracklings in small batches. They will significantly increase in volume as they puff up.

Step 7If the skins are properly dehydrated, it should take just about 30 to 60 seconds for the batch to puff up. Then, use a slotted spoon to remove the cracklings onto a tray lined with kitchen towel.

Step 8Repeat for the remaining pork skins.

Step 9Leave to cool down.

Step 10Optionally, season with salt, pepper, dried herbs, chili powder or your favourite spices. I'd usually season half and have them for snacking and then I'd leave the other half of the batch unseasoned so I can use it in recipes for breading or even instead of flour to make pies (tips included at the top of this post).

Step 11Try with Guacamole, Marinara sauce, soured cream or your favourite cheese dip.