Saturday, February 17, 2007


I started the whole hog project yesterday, with the most accessible part of the pig--the outside. I went to a panaderia--a Mexican bakery--and bought some chicharrones for lunch. I thought chicharrones were the same thing that we call pork rinds: deep-fried pig skin, but they are more than that. There is a lot of meat attached, and a little fat as well. I think that they are side meat (bacon) that has been sliced thick (about 3/4 inch) without skinning, then deep-fried. I'm not sure because they were very busy, so I didn't have a chance to ask. It's a little different than bacon, though, because it's fresh rather than cured meat.

The chicharrones were good, but not great. The skin was really crunchy, and much more flavorful than bagged pork rinds. The meat was good, but kind of dry. Additionally, they weren't super-hot, so the fat was congealing and they had kind of a greasy texture that hot fat doesn't have. The chicharrones had been fried earlier in the day, and they were just sitting under a heat lamp. I think that they would probably be better if they were fresh out of the cooking grease (I wonder if they used lard? They should have.) Overall, I give these chicharrones about a five out of ten--I'd eat them again if they were offered to me, but I probably won't go out of my way to get them. This is an item that I won't eat a whole pig-worth this year; I bought half a pound, and didn't finish them. The thought of eating an entire hide isn't appealing in the least.

I'm not going to post a Jasper pic right now, because there's not a good way to mark off "skin." I'll just note that on the picture that I post him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Aaron,

I thought chicharrones were the same as pig skins (or as my family called them cracklins).

Cracklins are made from cutting the fat along with the skin away from the side of a hog. Basically the excess off the bacon slab cut.

Then dropped into a large pot (cast iron pot). Usually we had alot of hogs so the pot was huge. The pot was heated by an open flame under it. Then as the fat was melted off it provided the lard (thus rendering lard) and the skins cook and floated to the top to skimmed off and then eaten.

I have not actually done it myself but I watched on several occasions as a kid. It was pretty straight forward.

One time there was some wetbacks living in a one room shack at the ranch and when they saw the cracklin floating to the top they ran in the shack and brought out this incredibly big stack of flour tortillas and asked if we could share with each other.

My Dad skimmed off a pile of cracklin and the Mexicans handed out the tortillas and started eating it like candy. Personally I was not impressed by the taste of cracklin but my Dad and the Mexicans loved it. It did taste better than store bought pork skins.

Anyway that is my pork skin story :)

Dr. Bubba