Can I make pork crackling in a frying pan?
Is it even possible? Well, the answer is yes you can. It is possible to make pork crackling in a frying pan.
Maybe the real question you need to be asking is "Are they any good?".
Why would you need to use a frying pan make pork crackling?
If you don't have a regular oven, or you don't want to turn the oven on for just one little thing, then using a frying pan and frying the rind on the cooker top could be the answer to your prayers!
The first thing you need to know is that when shallow frying pork rind in a frying pan, the heat is localised on the bottom. The bits sticking up above the oil will not cook as quickly as the bits at the bottom that are actually in the boiling 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 total nightmare to cut (i.e. very difficult).
There are a few things you need to know as preparation.
This is based on buying the pork rind in one big sheet (maybe from Morrison's) as we do...
First, microwave the pork rind to soften it.
Pork rind is hard to cut (*see below). So, 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. You just want to microwave it until some of the rind is hot and just starting to cook.
Then check the rind and use some scissors to cut away as much of the cooked rind as you can. Place these pieces to the side. Then return the uncooked piece to the microwave and repeat the process. Check again and cut off a little bit more, and so on until it's all done.
Don't try to microwave it all in one go. If you do, you will invariably overcook some bits and leave some of the other bits raw. You are just trying to soften the rind enough so that you can easily cut it up with normal kitchen scissors. Once the rind is soft, it's easy to cut.
What pork rind piece size is the best for frying?
It's best to cut the pieces up quite thinly. A similar size and shape to the rind you may cut off bacon.
Large pieces tend to curl up and stick out above the oil. the bits that are not in the oil cook much slower.
Ideally, you want 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 is... don't cut raw pork rind, 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 uncooked 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 (or scissors) 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. only add enough rind so that you can still move it around as it cooks. Adding too much is a bad idea. Take it slowly.
- Be careful, it will spit violently. Stand well back, or cover with a plate of frying guard.
- At this point, the rind will start to cook. It will also start to stick together. This is a bit of a pain. Try to separate the pieces from one another. 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. Remember to keep things moving. You want to cook the pieces evenly.
- Turn the heat down or the cooked bits will burn. If some parts are burnt, you will have to stop cooking, and that will leave 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 the rind is cooked, take them out of the frying pan and put them on to some kitchen towel to absorb the excess fat. Now is the time to add some salt to taste. Adding salt at this point, while they are still warm and a bit oily means that the salt will stick to the cooked 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.