What are Pork Scratchings?
Pork Scratchings are not the same Pork Rinds or Pork Crunch, even though they all are snack foods made from pig skin.
Pork Scratchings are made from deep-fried pig skin. They are cold, heavy, hard and have a crispy layer of fat under the skin. Sometimes there's a little bit of meat and if you are really lucky you might find a few hairs. Pork Scratchings are generally simply flavoured with salt and maybe some other basic seasoning. There are varieties that have additional flavourings, like you may expect from a packet of crisps.
Pork Rinds (USA) or Pork Crunch (UK) have no meat, no fat, no hair, they are just the pig skin that's fried and 'puffs up', this is then salted and/or flavoured.
The History / Origins of Pork Scratchings
The consensus of opinion is that pork scratchings originated in the West Midlands or Black Country, England. The Black Country is named after its roots in the industrial revolution and continuing role as a centre of heavy engineering and mining which in days gone by was said to cover the area in grime and soot.
It would seem that Pork Scratchings were very much a food of the working classes with origins back in the 1800's when it was produced as part of the tradition of families keeping their own pig at home and feeding it up for slaughter.
Butchers started selling Pork Scratchings in the 1930s, calling it Crackling (A word synonymous with pork scratchings in the UK). It was soft underneath and crunchy on top.
In modern times the fine layer of hair is removed from the skin by burning, however, this is not 100% effective and some pieces still have the hair attached. This definitely makes these snacks, not for the faint-hearted or weak stomached. A Hairy Pork Scratching can be loved or hated in equal measure. This is often the straw that breaks the camel's back for people who were wary of this delicacy from the beginning. They may try a scratching but will blurp at the thought of eating a hair
Wikipedia Pork Scratching Page
The original version of the Wikipedia pork scratchings (if you ever saw it) may have seemed very similar to this page, and that's because it was and I wrote it. As you will be aware the Wikipedia is susceptible to change by anyone, so the page I originally wrote hopefully will have been improved upon... ...which it has!
|Colombia||Chicharrones, Chicharrón Toteado (exploded pork crackling), Chicharrón Cocho|
|Quebec||Oreilles de Christ (Christ Ears)|
|Mexico||Chicharrón or Chicharra|
|United States||Pork Rinds, Cracklings|
|Serbia||čvarci, Duvan čvarci|
|Spain||Cortezas de Cerdo, Chicharrones, Torreznos, Cotnes|
|The Netherlands & Belgium||Knabbelspek (nibbling bacon)|
|Austria & Germany||Grammeln or Grieben, Schweinekrusten (pig crusts)|
|United Kingdom||Pork Scratchings, Pork Crackling, Pork Crunch|