Pig Skins (1)
Prep - (5-1/2 hours, (20 min work))
Run - (20 min)
- Trim any fat from the PIG SKIN. If it is commercially prepared
there should be just a little around the edges. If you're doing it
yourself you've got quite a job there. See Note-2
before discarding the fat.
- Cut the pig skin into the size pieces you want. About 2 inches by 3
inches is good. You can do this with a strong sharp knife or with strong
sharp kitchen shears. Either way it takes some effort - there's a reason
they use this stuff to make footballs.
- Put the Skins in a pot with plenty of water and add a couple
tablespoons of Salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 hour.
- Grease a couple of rimmed baking sheets, use lard, not vegetable
oil which dries to varnish and is hell to clean off the pans -
Arrange the skins on the sheets fatty side down. Some may roll up and
refuse to lie flat - that's OK. Place the trays in the
oven at 200°F/95°C. Use an oven thermometer since oven controls
are notoriously inaccurate at this low a temperature and the results will
be a bit different if the temperature goes over 212°F/100°C.
- Leave in the oven until completely dry and rigid like chips of plastic,
turning them once or twice. This will take more than 4 hours depending on
conditions. If they are not completely dry there will be tough spots on
the Chicharrónes. I usually get the oven temperature stable in
the late evening and just leave them in overnight.
- At this point the pieces will be thoroughly mummified and can be kept
in a sealed jar until needed.
- In an Indian kadhai, wok or other
suitable vessel, heat enough Oil so that foamed up pieces can be
pushed mostly under the oil. This is why I recommend a kadhai (best) or
wok, it takes a lot less oil to get that depth in the center.
- Heat the oil and keep between 440°F and 460°F/240 (225°C
and 240°C) for best foaming (450°F max for peanut oil). Drop
in just a few Pig Skins. When they start to puff up turn
them constantly and push any with unpuffed spots below the oil. Once
they start puffing they will be done in 30 seconds or so. Repeat until
all are done.
- Drain well and cool thoroughly. Put up in a big plastic bag until
needed, tying it tightly closed to exclude moisture.