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Unread 02-03-2013, 04:56 PM   #1
MS2SB
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Default Cracklins Question

I had some pork skin leftover from a ham I did over christmas and the picnic shoulder I trimmed up last night.

Today I decided to attempt some cracklins. Cut the skin into about 1" square and then tossed them into a dutch oven along with the leftover fat added some salt and covered with water. My hope was that the water would help render down the fat and then once the water boiled off I'd have some nice lard that would start frying the remaining pork skins. At this point almost all of the water is boiled off, but instead of the fat clarifying, I've got a kind of white gelatinous goop bubbling on the stove. Have I don't something wrong, or am I just in some sort of transition stage that I need to ride out?
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Unread 02-03-2013, 05:16 PM   #2
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I have only made cracklins a few times, but I have never put them in water. i have heard of that method before but I was under the impression it was a 2 day process. I could be way off, like I said I have only made them a few times. Hopefully someone that knows better will chime in.
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Unread 02-03-2013, 05:21 PM   #3
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I cut the size to size and fry it in lard to a crackly crunch.
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Unread 02-03-2013, 06:48 PM   #4
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My mom used to render lard and squeeze the last little bit out of what was left and that's what cracklins were. (There was a Czech word for it that we knew it by that might have been something like schvartke.)

I don't recall any water. The whole point is to drive the water off so I can't see where adding any makes any sense.

I would keep cooking it until you drive most of the water off. I would use a low heat for a long time as high heat could burn it.
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Unread 02-04-2013, 12:52 PM   #5
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This turned into an unmitigated disaster. Ended up with gelatinous chewy skin and the bottom of the bottom of the dutch oven ended up with about a 1/4" build-up of what looked to be fat solids, stuck to the bottom. The only saving grace was that I ended up with about 3-cups of beautiful clean lard.

I'm thinking that next time I'll render the fat chunks down first, using the water method, because for that portion it worked well. Then the following day use the rendered lard to quick fry the skins.

Oh well, it was a fun experiment and although it was an epic failure I at least learned something.
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Unread 02-04-2013, 01:30 PM   #6
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Epic failures are the surest way of discovering ultimate success! I wish you luck on your next attempt.
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Unread 02-04-2013, 02:05 PM   #7
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Typically, you would render skin for cracklings in lard. But the confusion of adding water may be from the process of rendering lard from pork fat.

I save my fat trimmings from pork butts, (only the clean white fat, no hard stuff) and freeze them. (I'm told leaf lard is best, but don't have a good source)

When we have enough, I cut into 1-1/2" (ish) cubes, and place in a large dutch oven with a cup or so of water, and place on medium-low heat. After a while, the water will evaporate (putting water in helps prevent the fat from going over 212 F , if it does, the fat will brown more than you want) and the fat will melt, and you'll notice little brown bits (cracklings) floating to the surface. You need to stir occaisionally during this whole process (about 45 min to an hour and a half, depending on how much fat. I usually add a little water (about a 1/2 C at a time) to keep the fat from getting too hot, until it's all evenly melted

When the brown, crackly bits sink, take it off the heat. It will look golden brown, but will cool to a milky white.

Cool, and strain through cheesecloth, or, my favorite, through an unused (except for food purposes) handkerchief (does a better job than cheesecloth, and all you need do is wash and reuse!) reserving the cracklin's (salted and put on paper towells to drain ASAP) for other uses. The lard will keep in mason jars for quite a while refrigerated or frozen.

For frying actual skin, take a jar or two of the homemade lard, melt it in a large pot and bring to about 350-375 (outside, trust me) and drop the DRIED (hugely important unless you like being burnt) skin in (preferably in a basket of some kind to make retreival easier) and cook till golden and floating on the surface. Remove, drain, drain more on paper towell, salt liberally, and enjoy!

Tip: These ROCK when added to your favorite chex mix recipe
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Unread 02-04-2013, 02:20 PM   #8
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Thanks Stoke. Looks like I tried to combine two separate processes into one. Looks like I'll need to buy up a couple more skin on picnic shoulders so I can try this again.
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Unread 02-04-2013, 02:44 PM   #9
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The craclins from just the fat are tasty also!
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Unread 02-04-2013, 02:54 PM   #10
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I just chuck the skin into a screaming hot oven until it has blistered and become all 'crackly' then take out and snap into pieces.
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Unread 02-04-2013, 03:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoke&Smoke View Post
The craclins from just the fat are tasty also!
I think this is what I had sitting/stuck on the bottom of the pot. I'll need to figure out how to rescue these next time.
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Unread 02-04-2013, 04:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS2SB View Post
I think this is what I had sitting/stuck on the bottom of the pot. I'll need to figure out how to rescue these next time.
Not sure, never had that result!
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