Thursday, 19 February 2009

Homemade Pork Scratchings - Part One

Warning: The following post is not suitable for the health conscious, or those with a pre-existing heart condition.

Let’s establish some basic facts here: pork scratchings are not a health food. They are a calorie laden, artery furring, belt loosening, hypertension-inducing snack.

You know that rumour about celery being of negative calorific value? Well, these are the opposite. They are like some weird black hole, somehow managing to pack in more calories than you ever thought possible in something so small.

But holy Moses, are they tasty. They are ‘get down on your knees and pray to the God of Pork’ tasty. They are ‘Leap around the room doing the happy dance’ tasty. They are ‘get me another bowlful of those right now before I throttle you’ tasty. They are…oh, you get the idea.

And we’re going to make some. You and me. And the best part is, it is really, really easy.

Step one, are you ready for this? Step one is to procure yourself some pork skin. Your butcher will happily dish this stuff out to you for nothing. Ask nicely, smile sweetly and flutter your pretty eyes at him.

Even if you are a dude. It works. Honest.

Step two is to cut it into manageable sized pieces. Anything smaller than three inches square is fine, but don’t go too small.

Step three is to lay them on a tray and salt them. Be generous with this. Bear in mind you are making pork scratchings. Alfalfa sprouts, this ain’t. You’re already packing a hefty whack of your daily calorific allowance, a little less salt isn’t suddenly going to turn them into a mung bean and goji berry salad.

Step four is to put the tray in the fridge and, in the words of Al Pacino, ‘fugged-aboutit.’ Fugged-aboutit for about 48-72 hours.

And that's it. This is easy cooking.



OK, if I’ve scared you a little then I’m sorry. Let me try and redeem myself a little. Perhaps this isn’t something for the health freaks amongst you but this isn’t everyday food. This is a rare treat to enjoy with a few bottles of beer.

Plus, most of the fat will render out during the cooking process. PLUS this is natural fat – this isn’t something dreamt up in a lab. It’s better for you than that microwave meal you ate last week/last night/eight seconds ago.

We’ll come back to this, promise.

UPDATE - 20th February. It appears there has been some confusion. This isn't the entire recipe. This, as the title suggests, is only part one. There is more, like the cooking stage, to come. Patience is a virtue.

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11 comments:

dp said...

Um, are they deep fried? Because that's how I like my pork skin. Really.

Martin said...

Are you telling me all you have to do is salt and refrigerate this traditionally deep-fried snack? How is this possible? This recipe could use a little less "witty" commentary and more substance. Also, after googling other scratchings recipes, I discovered this weak recipe posted on 8 other blogs. Very underinforming.

Cheesewench said...

Have you ever done duck cracklins? Same concept, but done with duck skin, and instead of frying it you slowly poach it in your leftover duck confit oil. I'm so craving duck right now.

Cheesewench said...

Have you ever done duck cracklins? Same concept, but done with duck skin, and instead of frying it you slowly poach it in your leftover duck confit oil. I'm so craving duck right now.

Alex Rushmer said...

dp - no, not deep fried. They get baked but you'll have to wait for that...

Martin - Sorry, I think there has been some confusion. If you'll notice the title of the blog, this is only part one of the recipe. It isn't finished yet.

Cheesewench - No I haven't but I will be!

Hopie said...

A culinary cliffhanger! That's what you get when you put a writer in charge of a cooking blog. Ok, ok trying to be patient...

Alex Rushmer said...

Hopie - lol, it's true. I try and make this little project as much of a page-turner as possible!

Danny said...

Brilliant article and approach, Alex. Only just found it in the past few minutes.

I am Irish and when I landed here in England a dozen years ago, one of my objectives was to savour England's national cuisine. Things like roast swan (still waiting), toad-in-ze-hole (enjoyable when done really well, but an excellent dish), steak & kidney pud (one of the best when done well) and the famous, nefarious pork scratching.

I quickly discovered that the scratchings that are sold in pubs vary enormously in quality. Some had to be spat out immediately. Good-ish versions were hard to find.
But now, thanks to your directions, I can consider hari-kiri in the happy knowledge that it will be as a result of sampling best of breed scratchings. Thank you for your contribution to the betterment of humankind :-)

Cheers,
Danny

Low said...

or..in other words...
• Obtain pork skin/rind
• cut it into manageable sized pieces. Anything smaller than three inches square is fine, but don’t go too small
• lay them on a tray and salt them. Be generous with this
• put the tray in the fridge for about 48-72 hours.
• Turn it on to about 180 degrees C. Remove the tray from the fridge and dry the pork skin.
• Grind a little more salt over both sides of the skin and put it all in the oven. Then wait.
• After ten minutes or so turn the oven down to about 140C
• Roughly every twenty minutes, you’ll need to drain off the fat
• they should take about ninety minutes in total. The colour will be deep and rich, they will have curled up into neat little shapes and the skin will be starting to bubble.
• Leave them to cool. Season with black pepper (and more salt, if you wish)

Pork crunch said...

You really have a wonderful blog! I hope I get to read more posts & get some more information about Pork crunch all this great information and advice about meat & pork scratching .........

Piers said...

Chilled Salty Pigskin

Bish-Bash-Bosh

Just Cook It (or Chill It)?