Tips to get the perfect results every time.
Pork rinds are a great keto/carnivore snack but depending on where you live they might be hard to come by, expensive, have unhealthy added ingredients like vegetable oil, or all of the above. However pig skin is super cheap, so making them myself seemed like the best option, and it is, but it took some time and experimentation.
There are many recipes online, some are really complicated and time-consuming, requiring days to dry out the skin, others simply say you must score and salt the skin, put it in the oven and that’s all. I tried so many different methods but the results were inconsistent. But now after about six months of trial and error I can say I’ve figured it out. So here are some tips that might help you make your own pork rinds.
This is the simplest method that only requires an oven. The texture of this rind is more akin to crackling on roast pork.
I’ve discovered this is the most important part of the process. First lay the skin flat and skin side up on a plate or tray in the fridge uncovered for about 6-12 hours before cooking. Up to 24 hours is fine, but any longer than that and it tends to get too dry. Basically you just don’t want it too moist. I used to just pull the skin out of the bag and into the oven, the results were often rubbery. Skip this stage and there’s no real way to save it later in the process.
2. Cut and score
Some people cook the rind as one big piece, others cut them into smaller pieces, personally I cut the skin to about the size of 20x20cm. It’s just more manageable in my small convection oven. I have found the larger the piece the more chance of inconsistencies and the smaller the pieces the more likely they are to curl up and become overcooked in some areas and undercooked in others.
Score the skin in a diamond pattern, the lines shouldn’t be too close or too far apart, about an inch works. And don’t cut too deeply, you don’t want to cut right through. I find a serrated knife works best because it can actually grip into the skin where other knives just slip or tear.
3. Salt and oil
This is what determines how much the skin bubbles up. I have experimented with different oils and I find lard/tallow is the absolute best. For one, they are animal fats, so ideal for carnivores, and they are solid fats, so unlike liquid oils which just sit on the surface and roll off the skin, the lard can be properly worked into it. It also helps the salt stick to the skin too. I don’t have any particular preference with salt, any will do. But make sure you use a lot or it won’t work.
And finally the skin is ready to be cooked, this stage is going to take some trial and error on your part because every oven is different. I used to use an old gas oven but it was a nightmare to work with, the temperature was never consistent. But now I have a convection oven which makes it so much easier. I bake rinds at 200c (392f), cooking the top for 20 minutes, then flipping it over for another 20 minutes. And the results are the same every time, crunchy, and even preserving a bit of moistness on the underside. I find it helpful to place something like a heatproof cooling rack on top of the rind to prevent it from curling up. The flatter it is, the more even the heat with distribute. I have never baked rinds on a tray, I think it needs airflow underneath, so I put a wire rack underneath too.
A good way to test if the pork rind is ready is by testing its flexibility, using tongs I bend it and if it still feels rubbery, it needs more time. When it is ready it should be firm but not too hard. The top should have lots of bubbles. Pork rind is quite fussy, it’s easy to over or undercook it and then it’s completely inedible. But you can sometimes save it by shallow frying it.
Once it is done, let it cool and snap it into smaller pieces. They don’t store very well, so I only make a single serving at a time. Because they are dehydrated they can be stored in the pantry for a day or two, never in the fridge, they become soggy.
Method 2- Dehydrator
This method is more involved and time consuming, but the texture is the lightest and crispiest. Basically chicharrones.
1. Boil skin until soft
2. Allow to cool, then scrape the fat off the back of the skin. You can keep the fat and fry it up to eat on its own.
3. Cut skin into small pieces, place in a dehydrator or an oven on the lowest setting (around 70c/160f), bake until it’s hard, it will still be slightly rubbery because it’s hot. Refrigerate until the skin becomes so hard it snaps when flexed. I usually leave it overnight.
5. Melt lard (or ghee) in a small pot or saucepan on high heat (around 200c/390f). The oil should be a few inches deep. Fry the rinds until they puff up and float to the surface. Don’t leave them in too long or they will burn.
Method 3- Deep fryer
This method is the quickest and easiest, apart from setting up and cleaning the deep fryer. The texture is somewhere between the first two methods, not too light or too heavy, crispy but softer and oilier.
1. Cut rind into small pieces.
2. Cook in a deep fryer at around 200c until they puff up.
3.Add salt and seasoning.
You can deep fry in lard but it doesn’t have a high smoke point at 190c. Olive oil (not extra virgin) is a fine alternative with a high smoke point. Ghee has the highest smoke point at 250c but it’s expensive and hard to find in large quantities.
Hopefully this will simplify the process for you, and as always feel free to leave feedback or your own pork rind methods.