Chicharrón is a Spanish pork dish made by frying pieces of pork skin or pork belly until they turn golden brown and crispy. While frying is the traditional and preferred method of cooking, chicharrón can also be made by baking.
Besides being the name of the dish, Chicharrón also means crackling in Spanish. The plural form is chicharrones. Chicharonnes and pork rinds are the same thing, however chicharonnes can be made from the skins of other meat like beef. The word also refers to fried food for example Chicharonnes de Pollo, which is fried chicken.
Chicharrón can be found in just about every Spanish speaking country as well as the Philippines so it’s prepared in many different ways. Some prefer to use small pieces of pork; others fry huge sheets of pork skin. The pork can be marinated or fried directly. The traditional method is long and requires the rinds to be boiled or dehydrated before frying.
Chicharrón can be eaten alone, often this is sold as a snack or fair food. It is an accompaniment for many dishes such as El Salvadoran Yuca con Chicharrón and Costa Rican Chifrijo.
Origin & Cultural Significance
Chicharrón originated from the region of Andalusia, Spain however it is most popular outside of Spain. Andalusia is not the only region that makes Chicharrón. Chicharrones de Cadiz from the Cadiz region is made by cooking a slab of bacon, slicing it very thin and serving it sprinkled with lemon juice.
Spanish Chicharrón Recipe
- Pork rind, without excess fat – 24 oz.
- White vinegar – 2 tbsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Ground black pepper – ¼ tsp
- Oil - for frying
- Place the pork rind in a large saucepan and cover with water.
- Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot and cook over medium heat until the skin is very soft (about 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes).
- Drain the pork rind and place it on an oven rack, drizzle evenly with the vinegar, sprinkle with salt and rub it to evenly distribute the salt and vinegar.
- Place the oven rack and the rind in the refrigerator for 2 hours to cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 160 F.
- Remove the fat from the rind using a spoon or other scraping utensil; the fat will come away easily.
- Place the rind back on the rack and place the rack on top of a baking sheet.
- Put the rind in the oven and let it dry out for 8 hours.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for about 30 minutes.
- Cut the now dehydrated rind into long strips or pieces about 1½ x 1 inch.
- Rub the pieces with the pepper.
- Heat a small pan over high heat and, when hot, pour in the oil.
- Fry the pieces of pork rind two by two, pierce them until they are puffed and begin to float.
- Quickly remove the pork rinds from the oil with a skimmer as the frying process takes about 20 seconds.
- Drain on absorbent paper before serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 639Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 2451mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 70g