The History of Pork Scratchings

What are Pork Scratchings?

Pork Scratchings are not the same Pork Rinds (USA) or Pork Crunch (UK) even though all are snack foods made from pig skin.
Pork Scratchings are deep-fried pig skin. They are heavy, hard and have a crispy layer of fat under the skin. Sometimes some meat and hairs can be found. The scratchings are generally flavoured with salt, but sometimes additional flavourings can be added.

Pork Rinds (USA) or Pork Crunch (UK) have no meat, no fat, no hair, they are just deep fried pig skin that 'puffs up', which is then salted and/or flavoured.

The History / Origins of Pork Scratchings

The consensus of opinion is that they originated in the West Midlands or Black Country. 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 1930's, 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 makes these snacks definitely not for the faint-hearted. A Hairy Pork Scratching can be loved or hated in equal measure, this being the straw that breaks the camel's back for people who were wary of this delicacy from the beginning.

Wikipedia Pork Scratching Page

The original version of this page (if you ever saw it) may have seemed very similar to the first Wikipedia pork scratching 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!


Regional Variations




Brazil Torresmo
Colombia Chicharrones, Chicharrón Toteado (exploded pork crackling), Chicharrón Cocho
Canada Scrunchions
Quebec Oreilles de Christ (Christ ears)
Mexico Chicharrón or Chicharra
United States Pork Rinds, Cracklings


Philippines Chicharon
Thailand Khaep mu
Vietnam Pork Rinds


Bulgaria Iprazhki
Serbia čvarci, Duvan čvarci
Czech Republic škvarky
Poland Skwarki
France Grattons
Spain Cortezas de cerdo, Chicharrones, Torreznos, Cotnes
Portugal Torresmos, Couratos
The Netherlands & Belgium Knabbelspek (nibbling bacon)
Denmark Flæskesvær
Austria & Germany Grammeln or Grieben, Schweinekrusten (pig crusts)
Romania Jumări
United Kingdom Pork Scratchings, Pork Crackling, pork Crunch