I tasted some pork rinds one time and I thought they were amazing. Since they’re deep-fried pig skin, I began to wonder, whether or not are pork rinds healthy. I don’t want to miss out on this tasty snack if it turns out to be unhealthy after all, just like any junk food.
I asked my friends about this question, but none had given me a certain answer. So I relied on my online detective skills and searched for the answer myself. What I discovered completely changed my views this wonderful snack. If you’re curious to know what I’ve found out, continue reading below.
What are Pork Rinds?
Pork rinds are deep-fried pig skins that appear like rice crackers or some kind of puffy grain snack. In different countries, they’re also referred to as pork cracklings, scrunchions, pork scratchings, or Chicharrones. Normally, they’re cooked by rending their own fat and seasoned with salt since their taste is naturally bland.
The pork skin can be rendered by boiling, baking, smoking, or drying it before frying. As the skin gets softer, the puffier it becomes once fried. Many people love their pork rinds not too airy, but puffy to get that crunch. To achieve this, you need to dehydrate it first before frying.
So, Are Pork Rinds Healthy?
Yes, pork rinds are healthy, but just like any food, consume it in moderation. You don’t want to be pigging out on this wonderful snack that you’ll forget to supply yourself with other nutritious food in your diet, do you? Eating a handful of this snack will supply your body with gelatin, an unusable protein that can help protect your joints and improve sleeping conditions.
Although pig rinds are made from pigskin and cooked by deep frying, they contain zero carbohydrates. In every ounce of serving, they contain 17 grams of protein and 9 grams fat, according to Men’s Health. This makes them healthier than most junk foods as it contains nine times more protein than the same serving of potato chips.
Best of all, their fat content are made of 43% unsaturated fat, which according to the Dietitians Association of Australia are healthy fats that can help reduce the risk of heart disease. More specifically, they contain oleic acid, which is the same unsaturated fat contained in olive oil. Stearic acid, the type of saturated fat that can be found in this food is pretty harmless because it doesn’t increase cholesterol levels.
Choosing the Best Pork Rinds
If you like the pork rinds to be healthy, choose those that are cooked in their own fat. It is rare that producers use additional oil for frying because using the inherent fat of the skin saves cost. But to be sure, check the label and see if there’s any processed oil used.
You should also watch out for food coloring, preservatives, and additives because they’re not good for your health. The best pork rinds should have only pork skin, pork fat, or salt as ingredients. What I usually buy is the Utz Pork Rinds (which is made only of pork rinds and salt).
Cooking Pork Rinds
If you don’t want to buy any commercial brands of pork rinds in supermarkets, then you can make your own. Here are various ways wherein you can cook pork rinds at home.
1. Season With Salt and Bake
Celebrity chef Paula Dean suggests seasoning some ham skin with fine salt and baking them for about 3 hours until crispy. You can see how it’s done in this video
2. Boil, Dehydrate, and Fry
Another way of cooking some delicious pork rinds is to boil the pork skin in a large pot for about two hours and let it cool in the fridge for another two hours. Once it’s cold, remove all subcutaneous fat using a spoon and dehydrate it in the oven at its lowest setting until dry.
Fry the dehydrated pork skins in peanut oil and serve with a dipping sauce. You can check the complete recipe here.
3. Spice it up With Some Spices
You can cook the pork skin with spices and herbs to make it taste better. In a saucepan, boil the pork skin with jalapeno, black peppercorns, and garlic for about an hour. After that, let the skin cooled in the fridge for at least 15 minutes and scrape as much fat as possible.
Let it baked in the oven for another 1 1/2 hours and mix with salt, paprika, and lime zest. Fry them until crispy and puffy and season with paprika and salt before serving. Check the full recipe here.
Try Some Pork Rinds Today!
Pork rinds are not that bad as what people seem to think about them. They’re actually more healthy than other junk foods, like potato chips. If you want to buy them in supermarkets, make sure that they don’t contain any additives, food coloring, and processed oils. You can try buying this.
If you’ve tried them already, share with us what you think in the comments section below. Don’t forget to share this wonderful information with anyone who might be interested in it.