June 10, 2013
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It is a cliché that one can eat all of a pig except squeal. That is certainly true but today most of us live “high off the hog” and generally partake only of the loin, ribs, and ham. Bacon and pork rinds are the notable exceptions. While bacon is popular everywhere, pork rinds are usually associated with the South. More is the shame because they are a delightful snack especially suitable for those on a low-carbohydrate diet. Traditionally pork rinds are deep-fried but in this recipe from the irrepressible Paule Deen they are done in the oven. She uses ham skin but I make mine from the rind I cut from the pork belly I use for bacon. I do not think it makes a great deal of difference which you use. Note, though, that these are a bit chewier than commercial pork rinds. The taste makes a bit of extra chewing well worthwhile.
Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Cut the pork skin into strips about an inch (2 cm) wide and three inches (75 mm) long. Spread the rinds on a sheet pan, sprinkle with salt (I use kosher salt for the irony), and bake until crispy, about three hours. Cool on paper towels or a cooking rack.
Save the rendered fat for cooking but remember that it is a bit salty.