In the carnivore realm there are two groups. Those that eat pork and those that don’t. In our household we love the Swine. Sausages, bacon , chops, loins, roasts,etc.Need I say more? Pork really is a tastier and a more versatile meat.Religious reasons I get and respect.Even those restrictions were an early form of food safety. But,I hear a lot of people for various reasons profess why they don’t eat pork, is that it’s dirty. That excuse is dated, period. Nowadays eating poultry, fish, and eggs can out you at more risk than eating pork. There are fewer cases of Trichinosis out there and reported than Salmonella or E Coli. I’m not here to convert but I’m just saying….
Not believing in waste, I had a whole large piece of pork skin left over from the belly used to makeChorizo. The perfect crispy skin has always eluded me. Close but not perfection. Then I came across some references to the famous English Chef Fergus Henderson, who is known for his nose to tail style of cooking. Nothing is wasted and respect is shown to animal without waste. It seems his pork scratchings( pork rinds) are a huge deal and a superior recipe. A total of a five to six day process, the skin is lovingly salted for five days to confit and swathed in duck fat andconfited .Once tender and jelly like after the confit, the skin is then racked in the oven and puffs and bubbles to a beautiful golden brow, It really is the perfect recipe. Your next cocktail party, football game, or holiday gathering , offer up these nibbles and your swine eating guests will bow at your feet. You can purchase pork skin in most Latin markets, or save it from when you buy whole roasts.
I did make a little error with these nibbles. I didn’t soak the skin after salting. Fortunately I didn’t use loads of salt, so a nice cold beer washed it away. That’s my second salt accident this month.When doing the final baking , rather than keep the skin intact, cut it up into smaller pieces to aid crispiness, I find the smaller pieces puff more. Then you break it up even more when complete.
You know this isn’t health food and should only be made on special occasions. But it is way better than deep frying the rinds in my opinion like the Mexican Chicarron,but its wickedly good. Enjoy!
I did feel like Hannibal Lecter while making this. Carefully tending to large swathes of skin. My refrigerator looked like a lab.So this recipe isn’t for the squeamish, if things like that bother you. You know, the type that likes their meat all neat and packaged in Styrofoam and wrapped in plastic. Kidding!
Be sure check out the Duo Dishes , who posted their own version of pork rinds this week too.
adapted by Fergus Henderson from Beyond Nose to Tail
- Pig’s skin with a little fat on the underside
- Kosher Salt or Sea Salt
- Duck fat (about 1 cup or more to cover the skin)
- Spread a layer of sea salt on a glass , plastic or non reactive tray.
- Apply sea salt on top of the pork skin liberally( approx about 1-2 tbsp. Depending on size of skins.
- Cover salted skin and leave in the refrigerator for five days.
- Remove skin and soak in cold water overnight for several hours or overnight.
- Dry skin and place on a lipped baking sheet.
- Rub duck fat on both sides of skin .
- Cover with foil.
- Bake in a medium oven( about 220-225 F) for 2½ hrs.
- Take out to cool.
- At this point you can make sure fat solidifies over skin and keep covered with fat until ready to use at alater date in the fridge.
- Or…Place a rack on a lipped baking sheet, then lay your skin on top.
- Turn oven to approx 350-375 F and roast. Skin should slightly puff up and turn golden and crispy.
- Do not overly brown or burn
- Remove from the oven and cool.
- Place the crispy skin on a board and break it up with with a heavy knife.