Fried pork skins. They’re a great Southern snack. And in Latino culture, they call them “chicharones”. Many people either do not like them, or refuse to try them; but many of us love them. Plain, with salt, hot sauce, or vinegar and BBQ seasoned flavors are all popular ways to eat them. But it is a somewhat involved process. Normally, I am happy to eat ones prepared by someone else; however, I recently bought a couple of picnic shoulders with the skin on them, so I decided to try my hand at making fried pork skins.
This isn’t so much a recipe, as it is directions for a process. What you need is some clean pork skins, a good sized pot, a cutting board, a sharp knife, a dehydrator, and another pot with oil, for frying. You should either have a skimmer or a basket for removing the skins, and a paper towel lined plate or bowl for the skins, after they’ve been fried.
First, cut the skins into strips that are a couple inches wide, and several inches long. The less fat attached to them, the better. Boil them in a pot, with enough water to cover by a several inches.
I read directions that said to boil them for about an hour, but I took mine out after just over a half an hour. The skins get kind of sticky and gelatinous, and if cooked too much, can tear more easily or fall apart. I might have stopped a little too soon, though. The idea is to be able to remove as much fat as possible, from the skin. This will help it dehydrate faster. I used a sharp boning knife to do this step, but if I had cooked them longer, I might have been able to use a butter knife.
After stripping away the fat, place the skins on dehydrator racks, and dehydrate until they are completely hard and snap loudly when broken, 24 to 36 hours. (I let mine go 36 hours.)
By the way, the removed fat can be slowly rendered down to make “cracklins” and pork grease.
Finally, fry the skins in hot oil, about 375F, and they will quickly puff up.
You may have to hold them under the oil for a few seconds to get them fully expanded. Remove to paper towels and season with salt…or your choice of seasoning flavors. Enjoy!