Trying to find out what the differences are between chicharrones and pork rinds can be complicated.
They are incredibly similar to each other, but are they the exact same thing? The short answer is they are not exactly the same.
Pork rinds just consist of pork skin, while chicharrones are made out of a thin cut of pork belly, commonly with fat, skin, and meat.
Pork rinds are a simple, crispy snack that you can find in the snack aisle of any grocery store or gas station. Pork rind is the literal culinary term for the skin of a big. How are they made? First, the pork skin gets simmered in some boiling water.
They are then cut up into bite-size pieces that are chilled for a minimum of four hours, letting the fat harden and solidify. The fat will then be removed from the skin and thrown away. The remaining skin is put in an oven on low-heat for roughly eight hours to remove moisture.
After all of the moisture is removed from the skin, the frying happens. Pork rinds can be fried in vegetable oil, peanut oil, or lard. If there is any sliver of moisture left in the skin, the frying process will get rid of it when it hits the hot oil. This is what causes the skin to puff up and get crunchy.
Pork rinds can come in several flavors with different seasoning. processes. Some of the most common flavored pork rinds are barbecue and chili pepper, with several more options available to you.
Chicharrones are typically made from different cuts of pork that consists of fat, meat, and skin from a pig. Most commonly, chicharrones are made from pork ribs that still have the meat attached, as well as other cuts that are meatier than pork rinds.
The process of making chicharrones is similar to that of making pork rinds, but just different enough to make it a different recipe. The first step is usually cutting the pig skin and fat into smaller pieces to make it easier to fry all of your pieces at the same time.
You can cut off as much fat as you want, but be sure to leave enough to give you more flavor. Depending on how much fat you leave, your chicharrones might be more chewy than they are crispy, but that’s okay if you don’t mind. If you want the crispy texture of a pork rind with the flavor from the fat, you can leave the slightest sliver of fat.
Once you have your slices ready, you will then simmer them in some boiling water. If you want to skip this step, you can add them straight to the oven at a low temperature for several hours to dry them out completely. After your slices are dry, you fry them in some oil.
While the chicharrones are still hot, add the seasoning of your choice. Salt and pepper are the most common seasonings, but you can add literally any kind of seasoning you want. This will allow the seasonings to seep into the fat and the skin without falling off during the frying process.
While pork rinds and chicharrones are extremely similar to each other, they aren’t exactly the same. They are made following a similar process, and they are also made with the same ingredient. The only main difference between pork rinds and chicharrones is the fact that pork rinds are made only from skin, no meat or fat at all. Chicharrones often consist of fat and some meat as well.