Fried pork skins are known by a variety of names, including chicharrones. Regardless of what you call them, these crispy treats combine the flavor of bacon with the crunch of potato chips. It takes a certain degree of patience and skill to get pork skins crispy the old-fashioned way, but when done properly, it is well worth the time and wait. You can find fresh pork skins at many butchers or Mexican grocery stores.
Scrape as much fat as possible from the skin with a knife and cut the skin into strips 1 to 3 inches wide. Some cooks prefer to keep the fat on but the skin will take longer to cook as some of the fat has to render off to make the skins crispy.
Add the lard to the cast-iron pot and heat it on a medium setting until the lard melts.
Turn up the heat until the lard is hot enough that water dropped in the pan dances on the surface.
Drop the skins into the oil one handful at a time. Stir the skins between each handful.
Add salt to taste and continue stirring.
Let the skins cook over medium to high heat until they turn golden brown and the skin pops. If the oil begins to smoke, turn the heat down.
Transfer the skins from the pot to a paper-lined dish to absorb any excess oil.
- “Simply Mexican”; Lourdes Castro; 2009
- “Culinary Arts Principles and Applications”; Michael J. McGreal; 2008
- Be careful while cooking with hot oil. Hot oil can spatter and cause burns, and is also a fire hazard.
- Roll your crispy pork skins in flour tortillas and serve with salsa, avocado, fresh tomato and onion. Alternatively, you can dip them in a honey mustard, barbecue sauce or a garlic aioli.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator, and pour the used lard into a jar for use later.
Max Whitmore is a personal trainer with more than three years experience in individual and group fitness. Whitmore has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Cincinnati, fitness certifications and dietetics training from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. Whitmore has written for several online publishers.
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