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Just started a low-carb diet but can’t stand the taste of pork rinds? You’re not alone! Pork rinds may make the perfect keto snack, but getting them to taste good is another story.
Whether you plan to munch on a bag of pork rinds from your local grocery store or make your own homemade pork rinds, knowing every trick in the book will make this healthy alternative a guilt-free snack you’ll not only tolerate but enjoy!
What are Pork Rinds?
Pork rinds (also known as chicharrones) are pig skin that, although used in many ways, is commonly baked and deep-fried into a delicious, zero-carb snack. They can be found pre-made in grocery and convenience stores or online, but you can also buy fresh pig skin to make your own.
Pork rinds have a puffy, crispy texture similar to potato chips but are much higher in protein and have absolutely no carbs, making them ideal for those on a ketogenic diet.
How to Make Pork Rinds
Making pork rinds is super easy! Here’s a basic, fool-proof recipe to make your own pork rinds in the comfort of your own home:
- Preheat the oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the pork skin into bite-sized pieces using a sharp knife or kitchen shears. If there’s any excess lard, trim it off.
- Arrange the pork skins in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 1.5 to 2 hours or until crispy and golden brown.
- Drain any remaining fat from the rinds on paper towels. Serve and enjoy!
Nutrient Breakdown of Pork Rinds
Pork rinds are an excellent option for those looking for a zero-carb, high-protein snack. They’re most popular among those who are on low-carb diets such as the Atkins Diet, keto, or paleo.
Here are the nutritional benefits you’d get from eating a 14-gram (0.5-ounce) serving of plain pork rinds (via WebMD):
- 80 calories
- 9 grams of protein
- 5 grams of fat (7% of daily value)
- 0 grams of carbohydrates
- 0 grams of fiber
- 0 grams of sugars
- 270 milligrams of sodium (11% of daily value)
- 20 milligrams of cholesterol (6% of daily value)
How to Make Pork Rinds Taste Better
There’s a lot you can do with crunchy pork rinds. All you need is an open mind and a little bit of creativity!
Buy ‘Em Fresh
Buying fresh pig skin at your local Mexican market is the best way to make pork rinds. Some markets still have them with meat on it, which will taste even more amazing!
Find a Brand You Like
If you aren’t cooking your own pork rinds, you’ve got to shop around a bit to find your favorite brand. The flavors and styles vary a lot, but with a little trial and error, you’ll find ones that you really like.
A little bit of seasoning goes a long way! Dust your pork rinds for a spicy kick with seasonings like chili powder or paprika. Or, go the classic route with a touch of salt and pepper. You can also get more creative and add spices like garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, brown sugar, or even Dorito dust!
Add a Squeeze of Juice
Adding a squeeze of lemon or lime juice will deepen the flavor and add just enough brightness to balance out the richness of the pork.
Fry In Lard
Instead of frying your pork rinds in vegetable or avocado oil, try frying them in their own lard. It’ll create an even better, more savory flavor!
Sauce ‘Em Up
Simmer your pork rinds in a sauce for added flavor. It can be something closer to traditional chicharrones like green tomatillo sauce or red sauce, or something more creative like BBQ, ranch, Tapatio, or a Cajun-style sauce.
Make ‘Em Sweet
Just because they are pork rinds doesn’t mean they have to be savory! Try coating your rinds in melted butter and cinnamon sugar for a delicious fried dough-like taste. Then, add some pecans and coconut to make them even more delectable!
Dip ‘Em In Sauce
Everything tastes better, dipped in a yummy sauce! Sauces like cheese dip, guacamole, spinach artichoke dip, buffalo chicken dip, ranch dressing, and sour cream are great options worth trying.
Turn ‘Em Into Wings
Make your pork rinds buffalo wing style by melting butter and your favorite buffalo sauce and shaking the rinds in it. Then, dip them in ranch or blue cheese for the tastiest pork rind wings!
Make It a Meal
You can easily turn this versatile snack into a substantial meal by putting your pork rinds in a taco with salsa verde, making them into keto nachos, or adding them to a stew. Get creative with it!
Are Pork Rinds Healthy?
Rich in protein and fat, pork rinds make a nutritional, low-carb alternative for potato chips or any other heavily processed snack. In addition, they contain 7 grams of fat per ounce and are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat.
What is the difference between pork rinds and chicharrones?
The only difference between the two is you can make chicharrones with various types of meat, including pork skins. On the other hand, pork rinds are obviously only made with pork skin.
What does pork rind taste like?
Pork rinds have a deeply savory pork flavor similar to the taste of a bacon-flavored chip.