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Twelvegaugepump 07-24-2013 08:06 PM

Advice on cracklins
 
Doing a whole hog on Saturday. Any tips on how to make cracklins with the skin? Deep fry? Thanks!

NeuseRvrRat 07-24-2013 08:12 PM

after the skin was pulled off, we'd always just throw it over some direct heat and let it crisp and puff up a little

Q-Dat 07-24-2013 08:26 PM

I shame on me for living in Louisiana and not knowing more about making cracklins, but unless I'm mistaken you want to cook them at a lower temp than you would normally fry at. I think too high of a cooking temp is to blame for some that I have had that could literally break teeth if you weren't careful.

DJnKY 07-24-2013 09:52 PM

When we killed hogs years ago the cracklins were FRIED in an wood fired kettle of rendered lard. Them are some fine snacking, teeth be ware:mrgreen:

moe1967 07-24-2013 10:15 PM

This is very similar to the way my grandfather would make his.

Quote:

Although cracklins (grattons in Cajun) are commonly known as pork rinds or baconettes, they are really not the same. True both are both made with pork fat but each has a different method of cooking and a different type cut of meat.

Ingredients
Pork fat with or with out meat attached

Directions
To make cracklins you use a cut of pork that has the pork skin, pork fat and pork meat all attached. Pork Rinds, on the other hand, use only the pork fat.

The easiest place to get the pork skin/pork fat for cracklings is from either a pork butt roast (Boston Butt), rump roast, and sometimes you can find the skin and fat still attached to a loin cut. You will see the skin/fat still attached to the roast. Actually, virtually any piece of pork that has skin or fat attached to it can be used to make cracklins. What my long time Cajun friend, Dale Begnaud, told me was that his Dad would collect and freeze the pieces of fat and skin from the roast and other cuts until he had enough to make his cracklins.

In his day, the fire was lit to boil the water at 3:00 in the morning to slaughter the hog that was going to be used for the cracklins. The hog was covered in heavy burlap and the hot water poured over the hog. Pouring boiling water directly on the hog scalds the skin. The skin was then shaved to remove the hair. The process was repeated until the skin was clean and slick.

Most Cajuns season to taste with a combination of salt, black pepper and red pepper. Commercial products such as Tony Chachere’s, Slap Yo Momma, Zatarins, Best Stop Cajun Seasoning, Season-All, Lite salt and the list goes on can all be used to season your delights. It is strictly a matter of preference. No magic here. Cracklins and pork rinds have to be seasoned immediately after coming out of the pot. So get those seasonings you want ready.

Pork Rinds – Baconettes

If you have only the fat (no meat or skin), cut in 1x1 inch squares. To make them fluffier, at the beginning of the cooking process, chill the fat by placing in the refrigerator. Now that the fat has been cut and chilled, you are ready to cook them. Since you are cooking pork rinds/baconettes it is most authentic to use lard, but you may substitute peanut oil or any other frying oil that does not smoke at high temperatures. In your black cast iron pot get several inches of oil very hot. Place the fat pieces in the hot oil and deep fry until light and golden brown. Do not overcook as the pork rind can get hard. Also be careful when placing the fat in the pot as the oil can easily pop due to the cold being placed in the hot oil.

Once they are brown, remove from the pot and place on paper towels to drain and immediately season them. You would store in an airtight container to preserve freshness.



Cracklins /Grattons

To make cracklins, the pork meat will be cut with the skin, fat and some meat attached. Old Cajuns generally used ¾ x ¾ inch thick pieces. As you will be cooking with water and letting the cracklins cook in their own grease, make sure that your pot size fits the amount of meat being cooked.

Fill your pot with water to one quarter of the depth of the pot. Note this is not one quarter inch, a mistake I had once made. Bring the water to a boil. Place the pork pieces in the water and keep a strong fire going. The water will dissolve the fat and also evaporate leaving the pork pieces to cook in their own melted grease (lard). Fry the pieces until light and golden brown. As the cracklins can turn hard it is important not to overcook them. True Cajun cracklins are supposed to be very crunchy and firm to hard in texture. If you do overcook them and they become hard, they will still be edible with the same great flavor just not as easy to chew.

If the pork pieces are mainly skin and meat, it would be ok to fry as you would the pork rinds and not have to use the water. The water as mentioned is an important agent used to help melt the fat.

Remove to paper towels for draining and immediately season the cracklins. To preserve the flavor and freshness, store in an airtight container.

Words to live by:
In life, remember that pigs get fat, but hogs get slaughtered. For pure heavenly Cajun treat, grab a link of boudoin (boudin) sausage in one hand and cracklins in the other. Wash down with an RC Cola or a cold one. Enjoy your cracklins, ya’ll.

Swine Spectator 07-24-2013 10:43 PM

12GA,

I make mine similarly to Moe's second method. We cut ours bigger, say 2" x 1". We start them with water and render the fat. Then we cook them until the moisture totally evaporates. You have to watch the pot closely. As long as there is water, they cook at 212 degrees. As soon as the water is gone, the temp spikes to 375-400. The cracklin's puff up and get crispy, but if you are not paying attention, they will burn quickly.

David
The Swine Spectator

Twelvegaugepump 07-25-2013 06:23 AM

Thanks everyone. Sounds like most methods start raw. Anything I can do with the skin after roasting the whole hog other than throw on high heat?

oldbill 07-25-2013 07:13 AM

Interestingly enough I just made some from a little skin that I had from a picnic ham that I did on the Fourth! I cut the skin into cubes and put it on a grilling pan, (it has holes on the bottom) and gave them a dusting of rub. I then just smoked them at around 250 with some ribs that I was doing and they were done at about the same time. The fat rendered out and dripped through the holes in the pan to leave little morsels of artery clogging pig candy! Just like popcorn!!!:-D

NeuseRvrRat 07-25-2013 08:32 AM

it should be noted that there's a difference between just crispy hog skin and a true cracklin. both are delicious if done right.

Twelvegaugepump 07-25-2013 05:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NeuseRvrRat (Post 2564654)
it should be noted that there's a difference between just crispy hog skin and a true cracklin. both are delicious if done right.

Thanks for the education. I think that was the start of my confusion. I have some great ideas. I will share pics this weekend of how things turn out. Thanks everyone!


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