Sometimes I spend 2 precious hours on a Sunday morning writing a clever, witty blog post only to have our web host boot me offline, losing all my work to the ether. As I've practiced so many times in the face of other baffling, heart-wrenching turns of farmy fate, I take a deep breath and shake things back into focus. So here, with a lingering air of bitterness at those infernal internet fairies I will try to tell you just how I made these fantastic pork rinds that I'm currently shoving into my face at an unsustainable pace.
You will need (in order of appearance):
- 1 package of bacon skin
- a cereal spoon
- an oven set to 170 degrees
- Rolling pin, beer bottle, or small hammer-type instrument
- hot, hot lard, 2-3 inches deep in a heavy pan
Step 1: Remove excess fat
Using the cereal spoon facing down, scrape the fat side of the bacon skin. The goal here is to get as much off as possible, leaving a fairly even skin side. See the third picture in the series below for a before and after of the scraping process. This fat is fantastic for rendering into lard, so don't throw it away!
Step 2: Dry it out
Now spread out your skins, skin-side up on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven on it's lowest setting overnight. On my oven that's 170 degrees on the "warming" setting. Now leave it for more than a few hours. In the morning your skins should be practically rock hard with no squishy spots. If not, let em' go until they are.
Step 3: Time to break up
At first I used my bare hands, which I do not recommend. A more effective tool is a rolling pin or other smashing instrument. Carefully but with some suppressed rage, smash the rinds into pieces around 1-2" long. Smaller pieces are fine but even moderately sized chunks will puff up to ridiculous proportions in the next step so ere on the little side.
Step 4: Fry Time!
Get your oil nice and hot. I used shmaltz (rendered chicken fat) and coconut oil because I had them around but neither is great for high heat. Since the resulting billows of smoke and excited smoke alarms were not appreciated by my (previously) sleeping children, I would highly recommend lard (or other high heat oil) for this project.
Now that your oil is plenty hot, drop a few pieces in at a time. Here's a video of mine cooking:
As you can see from the video, it takes less than 30 seconds for the pieces to go from shards of rock to inflated beauty. Remove them from the oil as soon as they have stopped expanding or you risk an unpleasant burnt flavor. After just a few pieces, you'll have the hang of it.
Step 5: Spice it up!
By themselves, these pork rinds are light and crispy with a faint porkiness, but everything is better with garlic and chili powder right? If you would like to have the same compulsive snack spasm that I have enjoyed this morning, mix together 3 parts salt, 1 part garlic powder, and 1 part chili powder and spring lightly over the rinds as they cool, then don't tell your family what you've done so you can have them all to yourself.