Bite Club: How to Make BBQ-Spiced Pork Rinds

Just like you get straight from the bag.
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(Photos: Josh Scherer)

(Photos: Josh Scherer)

I’m a sucker for a good fad diet. It doesn’t even matter which one: As long as it ha an arbitrary but preferably science-related set of rules to follow and a multisyllabic name, I’m down.

Ketogenic diet? Fucking awesome. I have no idea what it means or what the benefits are, but you get to gorge on cheese, eggs, and bacon all day while conveniently being able to lord your voluntary restrictions over all those stupid idiots who just, you know, eat in moderation or whatever. Paleo, Atkins, Leangains, intermittent fasting with a healthy dose of anabolic carb cycling — shove them all straight down my lifestyle’s gullet and upload it straight to my Twitter feed.

And thanks to the world’s carbophobia, pork rinds are — against all odds — fair game in almost all of them. Do you want the hedonistic pleasure of potato chips while still getting the restrictive satisfaction of eating what we think caveman kinda, sorta, may or may not have eaten? Ditch those crispies made from unhealthy plants and throw a bunch of pig skin in the fryer. WWBFFEMD? (What Would Brendan Fraser From Encino Man Do?)

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Pork skin (or skin-on pork belly)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Black pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Chili Powder
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Cumin
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Start by getting a big-ass blanket of pork skin, about two feet by one foot if we’re talking math. Since none of the butchers in L.A. felt like giving me their pig scraps, I bought a bunch of skin-on pork belly and stripped the meat off with a boning knife. So expect a “what to do with leftover pork belly” post same time, same place next week.

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Fill a three-gallon stock pot halfway up with water and bring to a boil before (carefully) throwing in your pork skin. Let the skin simmer on low for at least two hours, until it gets nice and gelatinous but not fall-apart tender. Remove the jelly-like animal bits from the water, press dry with a paper towel, and set on a cookie sheet with a cooling rack on it. Place that bad boy in a 175 degree oven overnight to dehydrate.

I know, I know, this blows, you have to wait overnight and cooking is hard or whatever. You know what else is hard? Squeezing all the contents of a burrito into your mouth and disposing of the tortilla because it’s not Paleo-approved. But we do it because it’s fucking worth it.

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Also, while the pork skin is dehydrating, you can perfect your BBQ spice blend. I’ve been playing around with it for a while and this is what I’ve come up with: four parts sugar, three parts salt, three parts smoked paprika, two parts black pepper, two parts onion powder, two parts chili powder, one part cumin. You get all the smoky, sweet, vegetal, and funky notes in there, so it tastes like the stuff straight out of the bag.

When the pork is all nice and crackly and dry, take it out of the oven and cut it into relatively bite-sized bits. Heat a quart or two of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed sauce pot — use an electric deep fryer if you got one — up to 400 degrees. Fry the bits three or four at a time, and make sure to keep them moving throughout the pot (without splashing oil in your face, obviously). This is the process that allows air bubbles to form and makes your Neanderthal-friendly chips nice and puffy.

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Remove them from the fryer and let them drain for a few seconds on a paper towel before liberally dousing them in BBQ spice. Eat them and realize the full potential of the South Beach, Paleo, Leangains, Keto, What-the-Fuck-Ever Diet. Or — and I know this sounds crazy — you can just casually and reasonably eat them. Your choice.

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Still hungry? Check out the other installments of Bite Club here.