Maybe you have heard of fried pork rinds — also known as cracklings or chiccharones in Spanish. It’s a popular food in certain ethnic or regional areas.
Pork rinds, sometimes cracklings, is the American name for fried or roasted skins of pigs, geese or other animals, regardless of the status or amount of pork in the snack. Pieces of fried meat, skin, or membrane produced as a byproduct of rendering lard are also called cracklings.
Due to the advent of the Atkins Diet, fried pork rinds made a bit of a resurgence for the protein value (and low carb profile) for those who chose to adhere to that diet. According to IndyWeek.com’s article on pork rinds, entitled A field guide to pork rinds, cracklings & chicharróns.
The article can be found here: https://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/a-field-guide-to-pork-rinds-cracklin-and-chicharrandoacutens/Content?oid=4297347
“Pork rinds celebrated a national resurgence a few years back thanks to the popularity of Atkins and other low carb diets, but crunchy fried pig skin has always been a staple of Southern cooking.
A tasty by-product of the “hog killing time” that traditionally took place on southern farms between Thanksgiving and Christmas, pork rinds—and their cousin cracklin— were the result of rendering all the excess fat and scraps, and cooking them down in large black wash pots. Bits of fried skin would float to the surface of the lard and be skimmed off, salted and served as a snack. (By the way, you can spell it cracklin, cracklin’ or crackling depending on your preference, it tastes the same.)”
While the article talks about mass-produced crackings or fried pork rinds as being tasteless, there is a new brand that is out that aims to change that perspective because they have changed how they have fried and processed this very unique (and Southern) snack.
The Pork Clouds company has reinvented the pork rinds, aka Chicharonnes, as a great carb free alternative in the salty snack category.The Pork Clouds folks take fresh pork skin, melt off the fat, cure the skin in salt, and rapidly puff it in olive oil. Each bag has only 100 calories and is an awesome source of protein. All flavors are gluten-free and free of added hormones, which makes these the perfect guilt-free snack. PLUS they created some very unique flavors that make for a perfect snack at any time of day.
Disclosure: I was sent some of the flavors and the Panko crumbs to be able to try out these unique snacks.
There are six flavors and I got to try 4 of them! This is both an editorial coverage of this new product and a review!
Malabar Black Pepper
Rosemary & Sea Salt
I did not try Szechuan Garlic or Habanero Pepper. I think the reasons why are pretty self-evident. I can’t handle that much heat in one day, my stomach doesn’t like super-hot flavors.
I have to say that these are crispy and light chips. There is very little oily residue, unlike potato chips. With some flavors, the pork flavor does come through but with others, it seems to vanish within the context of the flavoring.
Garlic Thyme: It’s like eating something with a very distinctive pizza flavoring. The garlic is very pronounced and the thyme does a bit to take that edge off. Thyme has a very subtle taste so if you are craving a pizza or spaghetti- type flavor, this is the chip for you. It would be great crumbled into a salad that is a part of meal with pizza or some other Italian dish. I liked it for its’ crispy texture and nice flavor balance.
Malabar Black Pepper
This pork cloud is a lot like a salt and pepper chip only with very little salt. The Malabar black pepper is distinctive and it’s a very clear, clean flavor. It does provide a bit of heat in the mouth but works really well with the Pork Clouds. YUMMY is a great word to describe it!
Rosemary + Sea Salt
This is a terrific flavor to me. It’s an amazing blend of flavors and is perfectly partner for Pork Clouds. Subtle yet distinctive, this is a great flavor that I loved. I happen to love the flavor or rosemary and while I try to avoid salt, this chip was really good and the salt/rosemary combination was ideal! This was my savory favorite.
Ever hear or read about a flavor and wonder WHY a brand would create it? I definitely did when I read about the various flavors of Pork Clouds. I could not imagine that this is a worthwhile flavor… until I tried it. WOW!! WOWWW!! This is a terrific flavor. It’s a clean not overly sharp cinnamon that is a bit of a blend. It’s not exactly sweet but it’s not that sharp flavor of a cinnamon stick. Not only does it smell good, it tastes so yummy that I killed the bag in about 15 minutes. Me who really doesn’t eat chips, at this entire bag. This is my favorite flavor. It’s worth buying because of times when you want a sweet treat but don’t want to eat calorie-heavy candy or cookies or even candy coated popcorn. This is your go-to snack for anytime you want a sweet treat. I love this flavor!!
Plus the Panko Crumbs which are the Pork Clouds crushed into crumbs- think of no bread, but pure protein!!
These crumbs work perfectly for anything you want to have a crispy texture- whether it’s chicken tenders or a special holiday appetizer like fried or baked mozzarella sticks, breaded fish or meats, and even specialty items like avocado fries which Pork Clouds has in their recipe section:
I am planning on trying a few more thing with these Panko crumbs to see how well it works on a variety of foods (zuchinni, cheese, chicken, fish) It’s worth making the effort just to see how flexible these crumbs are. They have a light flavor and texture — which is better than breadcrumbs!!
You can find Pork Clouds here: https://baconsheir.com/collections/newest-products
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Thank you to the Pork Cloud/baconsheir.com people for sharing the product with me!! It’s yummy!
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