Sunday, June 24, 2012

Chicharrones (nee Pork Rinds)


Americans, it seems, are eating a dangerously small amount of pork rinds.* Damn shame.


Most of us would eat pillow stuffing if it was covered in bacon, then politely demand more. Seconds with bacon on top is the American way. But the very same patriots just won't eat pork rinds**. Probably because pork rinds are exactly what the name suggests they are.


Thing is, there aren't a lot of foods that would sound terrific if their names were anatomically correct. Chicken uterine lining doesn't have the same ring as eggs. Cut up dead pig and spices? Thanks, I'll stick with sausage.

If we had to do food names that way, there wouldn't even be a word for cheetos. You would just point and people would gasp and judge you and your orange powder-crusted fingers.

I don't want to live in that world.

Forget Pork Rinds. Clean slate. Boom. Re-branded.*** These are chicharrones****from now on. And if delicious, crispy snack foods aren't your thing, there are lots of recipes out there for grilled lettuce wraps or whatever other bullshit a closed minded bigot eats.

Notes: This recipe is very "waiting around intensive", so it's time consuming. You have to think ahead by a couple of days. Also, at the bottom of this post, there's a shitty handheld video (with lousy audio!) of chicharrones coming into the world. An oodblo first.

Chicharrones (nee Pork Rinds)

Needs:

1/2 lb or so Pork Skins, either pre-packaged (they have them at Fiesta and small hispanic markets) or the skin from a pork belly or shoulder.
Corn, canola or other oil for frying.
Salt

How:

1. Boil the skins for about 20 minutes, until soft and the fat attached to the skin is starting to soften and turn gelatinous.
2. Allow skins to cool the fuck out, then ever-so-carefully scrape off as much remaining fat from the skin as you can. This is important as shit. If you leave (much) fat attached to the skin, these will not puff up at all. This is the step that will fuck everything up if you do it wrong. You have been warned.
3. Cut the skins into 2-3 inch square pieces, long thing strips or a combination of the two.
4. Dry the skins in a skillet, with your oven set very low, about 200 degrees. It takes about 36 hours. You can stop and cook other things and then pop them back in as necessary (I did).
5. When they are super dry and resemble a petrified piece of leather, get a pot of oil going at about med-hi.
6. Drop the dried pieces into the hot oil, 5 or 6 at a time. They'll puff up pretty quickly and float when done.
7. Drain, salt and serve. They can be stored in a ziptop bag at room temperature.
video
*Which is weird, because with the obesity craze, I thought people would be hip to pork rinds
**I still see them at the convenience stores, but I assume they're somehow part of the structure.
***Just like turning high fructose corn syrup into corn sugar, maybe.
****Which is Spanish for "not fucking fried pork skin, I can tell you that much (wink)". It loses something in translation.

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