So, you are wondering how to cook pork crackling in a frying pan and is it even possible?
Well, the answer is yes, it IS possible to make pork crackling in a frying pan. But are the results any good?
If you don't have a regular oven, or don't want to turn the oven on for just one thing, then using a frying pan and cooking on the stovetop could be the answer to your prayers!
The first thing you need to realise is that when cooking with a frying pan, the heat is localised on the bottom. The bits sticking up above the oil will not cook as quickly as bits at the bottom in the oil. This is not like cooking pork scratchings in the oven, or deep frying them, where the heat comes from all directions and cooks things more evenly. The second thing to know is that raw pork rind is a nightmare (very difficult) to cut.
So with this in mind, there are a few things you need to know as preparation.
Based on buying the pork rind in one big sheet, as we do...
Microwave the pork rind to soften it.
Place the pork rind on a large plate and put it in the microwave for a few minutes. keep an eye on it, you don't want to properly cook it. Just microwave it until some of the rind is hot and just starting to cook. Do not overcook, or try to cook it all. What you are trying to do at this point is to soften the rind for cutting. Once soft, the rind is super easy to cut, which is important, because raw pork rind is difficult to cut (*see below).
You don't want to overcook some bits and leave the other bits raw. So, once the pork rind is cooked a bit, use some scissors to cut away the cooked pieces. Place these pieces to the side, return the uncooked bits to the microwave and repeat the process until all the rind is a little bit cooked. Not too much.
Cut it up thin, this size is best for frying.
Cut the piece up quite thinly. Large pieces tend to curl up and stick out above the oil and in doing so, they don't cook as quickly. You are looking to cook all of the pieces evenly. So small and thin pieces are perfect as these will all be covered by the oil you use.
*Raw pork rind is a nightmare to cut.
If the knife you use is not sharp, you have no hope of cutting raw pork rind. If the knife is sharp you may be able to cut it, but be very careful. You will probably cut more of your hand than the rind (you have been warned). Some people even use a Stanley Knife to cut the rind (on a chopping board). This may be a good option because it's so sharp, but as before, beware, there is a very high risk that you will cut yourself. So, my advice just don't cut it raw, microwave it first.
How to Make Pork Crackling in a Frying Pan
- Frying Pan
- Frying Splatter Guard
There is only one ingredient
- 212g grams Pork Rind for Crackling Enough to fit in the pan, no more
For during cooking
- 100 ml Oil Quite a lot really
For after cooking
- 5 grams Salt To Taste
- Buy some 'Pork Rind for Crackling' from Morrison's. It's always reduced, so grab a bargain. Or get some from your local butcher.
Don't cut it up raw!
- A really sharp knife might be OK to cut pork rind, but is it worth the risk? no.
- Scissors are no good unless you are strong and they are very sharp. Don't waste your time.
The solution is to pre-cook it.
- Put it on a plate.
- Stick it in the microwave.
- Cook it for a few minutes. You will see it cooks in patches.
- Easily cut it with normal scissors along the cooked areas.
- Put the pieces back in the microwave for even cooking. Don't overcook. You are only trying to start things off. Just make sure there are no raw patches.
- Get a sharp knife and cut it up into very thin strips. This is just so easy now.
- The strips are now thin enough that they will be mostly covered by the oil when cooking.
- This is the amount produced from our 212g piece of pork rind.
Prepare the frying pan.
- Get some sunflower oil. Any type of cooking oil, grease, lard is OK.
- Put the sunflower oil in the frying pan.
- You need a fair amount of oil. Half a centimetre deep perhaps. Not deep-frying levels, but enough to cover the pieces. Then turn the heat on.
- When the oil is hot, add the pork rind. Enough rind so that you can move it around. Too much is a bad idea. Take it slowly.
- It will spit violently. Stand back, or cover with a plate of frying guard.
- At this point, the rind starts to cook. It will also stick together. This is a pain. try to separate the pieces. You don't want one large matted block. you want individual pieces that can be moved and flipped for even cooking.
- After a short while, things start to calm down. Keep things moving. You want to cook the pieces evenly.
- Turn the heat down or the cooked bits will burn and you will have to stop cooking, leaving some bits not done. Don't think that you will have solid pieces at this point. If you pull one out and try it, it won't be hard because it's hot. It will be a bit chewy even if it's done. So, what you are looking for is all pieces are going golden in colour, with bubbles over MOST of them. You don't want any pieces that look like a golden version of the raw state or not golden at all.
- Once done, take them out of the frying pan and put on to some kitchen towel to absorb the fat. Add some salt to taste while they are still warm and a bit oily so that the salt sticks to the crackling pieces.
- If you want to eat them straight away, wait for at least 10 mins for them to cool down. This will make the chewy bits harden and become crunchy. Even cooking is the hardest thing here, so don't worry if not every piece is perfect.