Everything Newfoundland & Labrador with its Culture, Cuisine and Traditions

Pork Belly Cracklings

Although we call it “Pork Rinds,” by name it is called “Pork Belly Cracklings.”  Other countries called it pork skins, cracklins, chicharrones, gratons, scratchings, etc. Also, some countries refer to it as “Newfoundland Scrunchions,” we all know that scrunchions are make from rendered cured or salted pork and pork belly cracklings are made from fresh pork fat with a little meat on the bottom.

Pork Belly Cracklings are pieces of pork fat and skin that have been deep fried or sometimes oven-roasted. Each country or region has their own version or variation of this delicacy.

Although the origin is unknown, it is believed that Cracklings emerged around the 1800s, in the British West Midlands. Talking with the older folks around Newfoundland & Labrador, they all say, “It was passed down from the Portuguese fishermen” who fished of NL, in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

If you look at the traditional method on how cracklings were made, it was the by-product in an attempt to render pork fat, which was the primary design. Since food was scarce, nothing was thrown out and Pork Belly Cracklings became part of a NL custom.

As stated above, rendering fat was a household tradition. Stored flat rolls of pork fat and the occasional roll of mutton, beef and sometimes seal fat were also additions to the larder.

Newfoundland Recipes-Pork Belly Cracklings2-www.saltjunk.comMakes 2 lbs

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs fatty, boneless pork belly with skin
  • 4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder (optional)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method

Using a sharp knife, score skin into 1-1½ inch squares. Use score marks to cut through meat and fat underneath, resulting in 1-1½ inch cubes.

In a lg pot, add oil and place over med-high heat. Add pork cubes and stir gently, preventing clumping. Cook pork unit lightly golden brown (approx 20 minutes). Remove from pot and place on paper towels. Let cool.

Re-heat oil until very hot and again, add pork. Cook for another 3-5 minutes or until skin cracks or bubbles up. Remove cubes and place on fresh paper towels.

necessary house – bathroom; outhouse

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