Chicharrón (Pork Rinds)

chicharrón

Making chicharrón didn’t really call to me, mostly because I didn’t want the kitchen to “smell piggy.” I’ve never had pork rinds before so I wasn’t sure if the end product would outweigh the fuss, but I did set out to make every recipe in the book and at least this recipe doesn’t have any raw pig heads in it.

removing fat from pig skin

Most of the recipes in the book don’t require special equipment, but this is the exception. You need a dehydrator to make pork rinds, something I don’t have. No one else I know has one either, so it wasn’t possible to borrow one. I could have gone this route and made a dehydrator, but it seemed a little excessive for the small amount of pig skin I had.

Instead of the dehydrator, I went with the low oven method. Pig skin was boiled for an hour, chilled, fat scrapped off, and put it in the oven at its lowest temperature, 170˚F, 20˚ higher than the 150˚ Chang recommends. According to the book, the low oven is not a reliable method, but I found it worked.

the pig skin in a low oven

The next day I looked into the oven to find the pig skin “dry, crisp and shiny, like a piece of brown plastic.” I broke it up into pieces and deep-fried it in a small pot. I recommend using a thermometer when deep-frying, it helps keep the temperature consistent. The book tells you to keep the temperature between 390˚ and 400˚. I found that 350˚ was hot enough, but it really depends on what kind of oil you are using.

dry, crisp and shiny, like a piece of brown plastic

Like magic, the skin puffs up after a bit of gentle chopstick action. It amused me to no end to watch a flat, dried, piece of skin exploding into a giant pork rind!


You need to season the chicharrón while they’re still hot so that the spices stick to the rind. The seasoning, shichimi togarashi (Japanese 7-spice powder) was found at Fujiya, a local Japanese grocery store. Without the seasoning the rinds are pretty tasteless, but the shichimi togarashi adds spiciness and kick.

The chicharrón were good, but because we didn’t have them at Ko, I didn’t have anything to compare them too. I liked the crunch and the flavour, but after eating two, I had to stop. Mike, on the other hand, thought they made an excellent beer snack. All in all, a successful first Ko recipe!

crispy, crunchy chicharrón

chicharrón with shichimi togarashi

24 Comments add yours

  1. Very creative! To taste tliek a store bought pork rind, they should be light and fluffy almost like a corn puff but made with pork. Similar in texture to shrimp toast I think.

    Hi Brad,
    Come to think about it, it did taste like a porky corn puff!

    steph on January 31st, 2010 at 1:35 pm
  2. It’s very interesting, ohhhhh
    XXXX
    Ana

    Ana,
    It was the first time I ever had a pork rind and it was quite interesting!

    steph on January 31st, 2010 at 1:41 pm
  3. Yep these make great beer snacks. They also go well with a thai/lao paw paw salad!

    Howard,
    Mmm, Thai salad and pork rinds…I should try it! Thanks for the idea!

    steph on January 31st, 2010 at 11:05 pm
  4. In Mexico they squeeze a little lime juice and hot sauce on them. It adds a great acid bite.It’s very tasty. Like the site.

    Robert,
    I think lime and hot sauce would be great. I have some pork skin in the fridge right now, I think I might have to make these again soon.

    steph on March 19th, 2010 at 10:49 pm
  5. What type of oil do you recommend? vegetable oil? palm oil?

  6. I think is the best of the pork chicharon recipes featured in the internet. Some are not telling the right way…I really hope this recipe would work for me.

  7. I eat store bought pork rinds once in awhile and always wondered how they were made. Thanks for the info. Think I’ll try this soon and at least there will be no funky chemicals in them like the commercial ones

  8. after boiling the pig skin, can you reserve the milky water (skimmed) for the makings of a stock?

  9. Chicharron is a very common food in Mexico, you can find it in every zone of the country whether you live in the north or in the south. People usually eat it in order to accompanny a very wide range of meals. You can make tacos of chicharron and put some “pico de gallo” (chop in little pieces some tomatoe, onion, green chilli pepper and some lemon juice and salt). It´s delicious and perfect to drink beer with.

  10. thank you very much for the post!! im a big fan of pork rinds, would def try this soon. Im already looking at some food dehydrator option only to make these puffy treats happen. many thanks again :) :) xoxoxo

  11. I was recently surprised to learn that chicharron have less fat than potato chips and as much or more protein than milk! Don’t believe me?????? compare the next time you go to the grocery store!

    Kittycatcake on March 22, 2012 at 7:53 pm
  12. Great idea – where can I buy pork rinds in Vancouver (or the North Shore)?

    Christopher on June 2, 2012 at 8:06 pm
  13. I had some pork rind that I cut from a slab of bacon after I home cured it in the fridge with salt sugar and spices, and then mesquite smoked in the old Smokey Joe. I thought I could probably make delicious chicharron with the rind if only I knew how. That is how I found this fabulous blog. So I sort of followed your instructions. I dried them in the low oven over night then deep fried them. Either I didn’t dry them long enough or the oil wasn’t hot enough becouse they did come out a bit chewey, but they were so delicious! Infused with the deep flavors of the curing and smoking processes. I have another slab of bacon curing in the fridge right now and I can’t wait to try again.

  14. And furthermore, once the bacon is smoked, it is actually pretty much cooked, and if you get it while it’s hot, the rind comes off really easily.

  15. Mу brothеr suggested I might lіke thiѕ website.
    He was totally right. Τhiѕ poѕt truly
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  16. I make already but it wont fluffy how to make it fluffy or puff off

    Estelita Power on November 6, 2012 at 9:22 pm
  17. Does “overnight” mean 8 hours?

  18. ok i’ve got the rind to look just like the picture. i baked it at 150 overnight and then removed them (cos they tend to stick – next time i’ll do this part on parchment paper); then put them on racks and am still drying them in the oven. i want them to be dry like glass!

    question – how do you store the dried skin before frying? Can i put it in a plastic bag and leave in fridge? For how long? (yet to fry them – guess that is the ultimate test.

    Really enjoyed the process.

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