In my world, there is no finer snack than some chicharrones, a.k.a. fried pork rinds. It’s something I’ve been eating since I was a kid, and Filipinos love it with sukang sili (chili vinegar) and beer.
Over the past year, chicharrones have been embraced by the “mainstream” through the efforts of chefs like Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats, whose chicharrones, despite my initial apprehensions, are other worldly. They’re incredibly light and when they’re fresh, they snap, crackle, and pop in your mouth like porky Rice Krispies.
Because they’re so cheap and readily available near me, I’d never considered making chicharrones at home until a couple weeks ago. I had some pork skin left over after removing it to making the Momofuku Pork Belly, and it would be a shame to waste such a nice piece of pork skin. There’s also a recipe in the Momofuku cookbook since they serve a piece of chicharron to every guest as an amuse bouche at Momofuku Ko.
The process is pretty simple. First, put the pig skin in a pot of water and boil it for about an hour a half, then chill it in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Pig skin after chillin’ out overnight.
Use a spoon to scrape off any excess fat left on the skin and put it in a food dehydrator for 12 hours. It should look like a brown piece of plastic.
Next, break the dehydrated pig skin into 1×2-inch pieces. This doesn’t have to be exact, as the small pieces make nice chicharrones, too. Heat some oil (preferably one with a high smoke point) to between 390-400F in a deep pot. Drop a piece of pig skin into the oil and agitate it a bit until it puffs up. This should take about 10 seconds. Fry each piece one at a time, so they don’t stick together. Here’s a short iPhone video I shot to give you an idea of how long it takes.
After frying, season the hot chicharrones with a mixture of equal parts togarashi (Japanese 7-spice powder), sugar, and kosher salt. Serve them hot or at room temperature. You should eat them within a few days when they’re still crunchy, but I doubt these will last more than a few minutes. :)