As you recline in your La-Z-Boy, try to imagine the perfect snack for secretly watching 90 Day Fiancé.
The snack should be crunchy, salty, high in protein, and low carb so you don’t regret it later. That means potato chips are definitely out.
It needs more than enough guilt-free munch to curb cravings while you’re dieting, but enough bang to make watching trashy TV even more enjoyable. Those boring carrot sticks aren’t going to feed this hangry beast.
Did we mention that it should taste like bacon? Bonus points if the snack is adored by celebrities that range from Cardi B to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
What if I were to tell you that this seemingly perfect snack has existed since at least the 16th century?
Meet your new best friend: fried pork skins.
Simply put, fried pork skin is the crunchy and salty snack known as pork rinds in most of the United States.
What's a pork rind? Great question, amigo!
Have you tasted the delicious skin off of a baked or fried chicken? Pork rinds are the low-carb, protein-rich bacon version of this delicacy.
Pretty simple, right?
Before cooking, the raw pork skin is cut into squares called pellets. Modern pellets go through a curing process that introduces a bacon-rich flavor. Next, the excess fat is rendered from the skin, leaving behind a collagen protein-rich pellet.
Once processed, the finished pork skin pellets have the appearance and smell of tasty bacon. When added to the fryer, the pellets explode like popcorn into the crisp, seductive snacks available on PorkRinds.com.
Lard is traditionally used to fry pork skins, but adventurous chefs (like Southern Recipe Small Batch) use modern alternatives, such as sunflower oil. More recently, baked pork skins have been introduced, which omit the frying process altogether!
After cooking, seasoning is added to the fried pork skins. Some popular flavors include, salty, spicy, sweet, and even vinegar varieties.
The chicharrones version of pork skins can even incorporate a hot sauce packet in the bag! Who doesn’t like a little heat?
Fried pork skins have many different names across cultures and languages: pork rinds, chicharrones, scratchings, torresmo, gratton, and flæskesvær, to name a few.
Who invented the fried pork skins that we know and love today?
Dr. Ted Rogers, a culinary historian, claims that people living in what is now Spain invented fried pork skin before recorded history. In the 16th century, fried pork skins were introduced to the Americas by the ocean-faring Spaniards.
It wasn’t until the industrial revolution in Britain that the English-speaking world began to embrace fried pork skin en masse.
After World War 2, pleasure-seeking Americans were hankering for comfort food, and fried pork skin fit the bill. The word pork rinds entered the American lexicon in the 1940s, and the rest is history!
In the 1990s, fried pork skins took the United States by storm when native Texan and 41st POTUS, George H.W. Bush, proudly proclaimed pork rinds to be his favorite snack.
Fried pork skins have risen in popularity in recent years due to diabetic, gluten-free, and low-carb diets. Keto and paleo practitioners consider fried pork skin to be their secret weapon for curbing cravings while remaining diet-compliant.
The nutrient-rich snack is also an excellent collagen protein source and a tasty, crunchy replacement for carb-heavy potato chips.
Fried pork skins aren't just for snacking, though. Many recipes use pork rinds as a bread crumb replacement, desert, salad croutons, and even a cocktail garnish.
Modern fried pork skins continue the time-honored tradition of utilizing every aspect of the pig to minimize waste. Who can't appreciate that?!
Look no further, Katniss! PorkRinds.com is an online store that offers pork skins and other pig paraphernalia. Sign-up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on fried pork skin, pork skin recipes, pork skin discounts, and other pigpourri.