Pork rind

Pork rind
Pork rinds

Pork rind (known and invented in the United Kingdom as pork scratchings[1] , as a room-temperature snack, or crackling, served hot as part of a meal, and in Australia and New Zealand as pork crackle/crackling), is the fried or roasted skin (rind) of a pig. Frying melts most of the fat from the pork rind. Uncooked pork rind may be used as a fishing bait, or cooked with beans or stewed vegetables or in soups. The pork rind may have subcutaneous fat attached; see fatback.



It is believed that the pork scratching originated in the West Midlands or Black Country, where they were widely consumed by the working classes. The pork scratching dates back to the 1800's, when families kept their own pigs as a source of food; in order to not waste any element of the pig, due to the scarcity of food, even the offcuts of fat and skin were fried for food.[2]

Types of pork snack

In the UK, there are three distinct types. Traditional scratchings are made from shank rind and cooked just once. Pork crackling is also made from shoulder rind but is fried twice. It is first rendered at a low heat, and then cooked at a higher temperature for a less fatty, crispier result. A more recent development is the pork crunch, which is made from back rind and again double-fried to become a large puffy snack.[3]

Microwavable pork rinds are sold which are microwaved in bags that resemble microwave popcorn (although not exhibiting the popping sound) and can be eaten still warm. Pickled pork rinds, on the other hand, are often enjoyed refrigerated and cold. Unlike the crisp and fluffy texture of fried pork rinds, pickled pork rinds are very rich and buttery, much like foie gras.

Health issues

Since most pork snacks are low in carbohydrates, they are an alternative snack food for those following the Atkins diet. However, pork snacks are often very high in fat and sodium; the fat content of pork rinds is similar to that of potato chips, but the amount of sodium in a serving of pork rinds is nearly five times that of a serving of potato chips.

For example, a 14 gram serving of Utz Regular Pork Rinds contains 5 g of fat and 230 mg of sodium, whereas the same serving of Utz Regular Potato Chips contains 4.5 g of fat and 47 mg of sodium. Pork rinds generally contain 8 g of protein in a 14 g serving, more than most foods except dried meats, such as jerky. The fat content of jerky, however, is much lower. Microwaveable pork rinds are lower in fat than the deep-fried variety, with only 2 g of fat per 14 g serving and 0 g of saturated fat, although the sodium level may be as high as 350 mg per serving. According to the Atkins diet, the low carbohydrate content of pork rinds makes them more appropriate for that diet regimen than low-fat snack foods, such as high-carbohydrate, fat-free pretzels.

According to Men's Health:[4]

"A 1 ounce (28 g) serving contains zero carbohydrates, 17 grams (g) of protein, and 9 g fat. That's nine times the protein and less fat than you'll find in a serving of carb-packed potato chips. Even better, 43 percent of a pork rind's fat is unsaturated, and most of that is oleic acid — the same healthy fat found in olive oil. Another 13 percent of its fat content is stearic acid, a type of saturated fat that's considered harmless, because it doesn't raise cholesterol levels."



Scrunchions is a Newfoundland term for small pieces of pork rind or pork fatback fried until rendered and crispy. They are often used as a flavouring over other foods, such as salt fish and potatoes, and mainly used as a condiment for fish and brewis. [1] [2]

In Quebec, they are often called oreilles de Christ (Christ ears) or oreilles de crisse, and are eaten almost exclusively as part of traditional cabane a sucre meals.

United Kingdom

Pork crackling is the British name for the salted, crunchy, pork rind produced when roasting a joint of pork. The heat of the oven causes the fatty pork skin to dry, bubble up and become crunchy. The layer of fat underneath is retained, and can be eaten with the skin or removed. Some supermarkets now sell just the layer of skin and fat (no meat), in a raw form for home grilling or roasting, or cooked and ready to eat from hot food counters.

A pork scratching from a bag purchased in the UK; the approximate dimensions are 55mm × 45mm. The soft fat is to the center, below the hard rind around the upper and right-hand edges.

Pork scratchings is the British name for deep-fried, salted, crunchy pork rind with fat produced separately from the meat. This is then eaten cold.[5]

Pork scratchings typically are heavy and hard, have a crispy layer of fat under the skin, and are flavored only with salt. The pig hair is usually removed by quickly burning the skin of the pig before it is cut into pieces and cooked in hot fat. However, this process is not 100% effective, so scratchings occasionally retain a few hairs.

In the United Kingdom, pork scratchings (though not crackling — see above) are sold as a snack food in the same way pork rinds are in the USA. Unlike the physically large, but relatively light bags of 'deep-fried skin without the fat' sold around the world, in the UK they are sold in relatively small bags, which usually weigh between 42g and 90g. Traditionally, they are eaten as an accompaniment to a pint of beer in a pub, just like crisps or peanuts. Scratchings can also be bought from butchers, supermarkets or newsagents.

They have been taken to both the North and South Poles on various expeditions,[6] because of their lack of weight and high amount of energy, which is essential on these types of trips.

They have been popular in the UK and especially in the Black Country since the times when families would fatten up a "tunkey pig" (a pig fattened especially for Christmas), then slaughter it for meat and slice the skin with the fat into strips, which they would then deep fry[citation needed]. Some[who?] believe their popularity grew in the early 19th century when new uses were found for offcuts from pigs.

In the UK, the term 'pork rind' usually refers to the uncooked layer of skin on bacon or a joint of pork. Many people choose to cut the raw rind off their bacon before cooking it[citation needed].

United States

Pork rinds from the American company Utz

Cracklings is the American name for fried or roasted skins of pigs, geese or other animals. Pieces of fried meat, skin, or membrane produced as a byproduct of rendering lard are also called cracklings. Cracklings consist of either roasted or fried pork rind that has had salt rubbed into it and scored with a sharp knife: "a crackling offers a square of skin that cracks when you bite into it, giving way to a little pocket of hot fat and a salty layer of pork meat."[7]

Cajun cracklings (or "cracklins") from Cajun cuisine are fried pieces of pork fat with a small amount of attached skin, flavored after frying with a mixture of peppery Cajun spices.[7]

Pork rinds normally refers to a snack food commercially sold in plastic bags. They are made in a two-step process: pork skin is first rendered and dried, and then fried and puffed.[8] These are also called by the Mexican name, chicharrón, in reference to the popular Mexican food.

In 2003, sales of pork rind experienced a "meteoric rise", but they have dropped "by $31 million since 2004, when they reached $134 million, and now make up barely more than 1 percent of the salty snack market."[7]


Western Europe

In France, pork rinds are known as grattons,[7] and are an essential ingredient to some slow-cooked stews, such as cassoulet. In Spain, they are called cortezas de cerdo or cueritos when they do not have any solid fat attached, and chicharrones or torreznos when they do. In Catalonia and other Catalan-speaking areas, they are usually called cotnes (sing. cotna), which is the pork rinds per se, when prepared as snacks, whereas llardons (sing. llardó) are a specially prepared, pressed variety. The latter are also known regionally as greixons (sing. greixó) or llardufes (sing. llardufa), among other names. Portugal has torresmos and couratos, the latter normally on sale at large popular gatherings, such as football matches, usually on a sandwich, and accompanied by beer. In the Netherlands, they are known as knabbelspek, which translates to "nibbling bacon". They are usually sold with no flavorings other than salt at most butchers and supermarkets. They are usually eaten as a snack food. In Denmark, they are known as flæskesvær (pork sword) and can be found in most grocery stores and kiosks. In Austria, they have recently become popular as Schweinekrusten (pig crusts).

Eastern Europe

In Hungary, pork rinds are called tepertő or töpörtyű and are fried in lard and eaten with bread and spring onions. Tepertő is a traditional food in Hungary, connected to peasant cookery (see also szalonna). In Serbia and Croatia, pork rinds are called čvarci, a popular home-made peasant food in the lowland Pannonian regions. Known as пръжки in Bulgaria, they are a popular winter food, usually deep-fried in fat. The skin may or may not be attached, but any hair is generally removed. Čvarci are most often made during the traditional slaughter of pigs in Croatia and Serbia. A special kind of čvarci in Serbia is called duvan čvarci (tobacco cracklings): they are made by pressing čvarci during the preparation to have appearance of tobacco. In the Czech Republic, pork rinds, called škvarky, are generally prepared in lard. In some parts of the country, a spread (škvarková pomazánka) is produced by mincing the rinds. They are traditionally connected with the pig slaughtering during winter months, but today are available in most butcher's and selected supermarkets all year round, usually in lard. In Romania, pork rinds are called jumări and are prepared in a similar fashion to the British scratchings, but the most common use for the pork rind is şorici. Traditionally, the pig is slaughtered on St. Ignatius' Day, December 20.

Latin America

Pork rinds are also popular in Latin America. In Spanish-speaking areas, they are known as chicharrones (the singular form, chicharrón, is also used as a mass noun). They are eaten alone as a snack, or as the meat portion in various stews and soups, which can be eaten with cachapas, or as a stuffing in arepas, pupusas, or in a taco or gordita with salsa verde.

They are usually made with different cuts of pork, but sometimes with other meats, like poultry, beef, mutton, etc. In Cuba, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, chicharrones are also made with chicken, similar to Jewish gribenes, and, in Argentina with beef. In these cases, they are consumed mostly as snacks.

In Colombia, they are part of the bandeja Paisa, which is considered to be Colombia's national dish.

In Brazil, pork rinds called torresmo are eaten as a snack with beer, or as a side to some dishes, such as feijoada.

In Mexico, the Chicharrón is a popular specialty item, where the pork skin is sold dry in large slices, up to the full back of the pig. Then it is served as a central piece where each person breaks off a serving to accompany other foods and salsas. The cueritos type is a Mexican snack made with pork skins and marinated in vinegar instead of being deep-fried.

Many restaurants in Mexico offer a non-meat dairy version known as Chicharrón de Queso. A vegetarian version is popular as street food, deep-fried and sold throughout Mexican cities by street vendors, typically seasoned with chile, salt and lime.

On the Island of Utila, in Honduras, it is deep-fried in a large pot at the beach on Sundays, and is garnished with fried green plantains or fried breadfruit and coleslaw.


Fried pork skins go by various names in Filipino cuisine, including tsitsaron (from the Spanish word chicharrón). They may also be referred to by their English name "cracklings" if they contain a considerable portion of meat. Another form of crackling in the Philippines, tsitsarong manok, is made from seasoned chicken skin fried in its own rendered fat.

Crunchy pork rinds are one of the more popular choices for finger foods, locally called pulutan, during alcohol-drinking sessions. They are served with a spicy vinegar and soy sauce dip mixed with crushed garlic and/or onions. A popular beer snack is tsitsarong bulaklak ("flower" crackling) which is fried chitterlings (pork intestines).

It is also used as a topping in various dishes such as pancit and mami.


In China, pork rinds are considered to have certain medicinal properties; they are held to be good for the cardiovascular and cerebro-vascular systems in particular. They are also considered to make the skin more moisturized.

In China, pork rinds may be stewed with yams or soybeans, or fried and sometimes eaten spicy.


Pork rinds used to be a very common food in Vietnam before the Doi moi program in 1986. Due to many economic difficulties in the pre-Doi moi era, cooking oil and meat were still "luxury goods", consequently fat liquid and pork rind became excellent replacements in Vietnamese daily meals. Nowadays, when Vietnam's economy is much better than before, pork rind is no longer a substitute food but a delicious and special component in many Vietnamese dishes, such as cơm tấm, noodle and snails (bún ốc), noodle soup,...[9][10]

In Vietnamese, pork rind is called tóp mỡ, literally means "dried piece of fat".

Other uses

Unfried pork rind is also processed into colorful and appealing shapes for use as fish bait. They can be used with jig heads as an addition to either marabou, bucktail, or rubber-skirted jigs.[11] A reference to using pork as bait for trout was made by Henry David Thoreau.[12]

See also

  • Ciccioli, an Italian food made from pressed pork scraps.
  • Gribenes, a Jewish snack made from chicken skin.


  1. ^ "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". http://www.freshersfoods.co.uk/history.htm. 
  2. ^ "Freshers Foods". http://www.freshersfoods.co.uk/history.htm. 
  3. ^ {{cite web|url=http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/rind-of-the-times-732905.html%7Ctitle=Rind of the Times
  4. ^ Junk Food that's Good for You from Men's Health
  5. ^ "For the Big Game? Why, Pigskins". The New York Times. February 2, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/03/dining/03skin.html. Retrieved October 7, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Pork Scratchings taken to both North and South Poles - Scratchings sale to bring home the bacon". http://www.hairybarsnacks.com/misc_daily_express_article.php. Retrieved 6 April 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c d Severson, Kim (2 February 2010). "For the Big Game? Why, Pigskins". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/03/dining/03skin.html. Retrieved 3 February 2010. 
  8. ^ Zeldes, Leah A. (2010-05-12). "Eat this! Chicharron, mighty meaty crunch". Dining Chicago. Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc.. http://www.diningchicago.com/blog/2010/05/12/eat-this-chicharron-mighty-meaty-crunch/. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  9. ^ "Bún ốc tóp mỡ ngõ Mai Hương" (in Vietnamese). Bưu điện VN. 14 January, 2011. http://giadinh.net.vn/20110114105829766p0c1012/bun-oc-top-mo-ngo-mai-huong.htm. 
  10. ^ Thu Hường (28 April, 2011) (in Vietnamese). Lạ miệng tóp mỡ “cặp kè” bún ốc. http://laodong.com.vn/Tin-Tuc/La-mieng-top-mo-cap-ke-bun-oc/41069. 
  11. ^ Oberrecht, Kenn: Angler's Guide to Jigs and Jigging, pages 57-60, 209-224. Tulsa,OK: Winchester Press, 1982.
  12. ^ Henry David Thoreau: "'Ktaadn Trout' and 'The Ponds' (selections)" in The Gigantic Book of Fishing Stories, p. 43. Ed. Nick Lyons. New York: Fall River Press, 2009.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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