Porkless Pork Rinds - sm - 2021 Trader Joes

Oddball Foods: Thighs-Only Wings? Kosher Pork Rinds?

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold it a minute. Or, maybe, an hour. Not one but two new ‘food concepts’ have surfaced this week, demanding our attention and stretching our ability to accept what we would previously have thought was impossible. “When pigs fly!” we might have said…

Trader Joe's Kosher Pork Rinds - © traderJoes.comPorkless Pork Rinds: What will they think of next?

What’s a ‘Wing-Thigh’?

Had they not changed the name to match the product, we’d be looking at a new phenomenon in food retailing: Wing Thighs. But they did have the presence of marketing-mind to rename the new concept ‘Thigh Stop’.

The idea, itself, is not bad at all: Some folks – yours truly included – prefer dark meat, and insist that chicken thighs are juicer and tastier than the legs or breasts. And I think I can speak for us all, when I say we’ve felt ignored, neglected and disrespected for decades.

But back to the concept… Why break out another ‘lane’ in their business model? One reason is that wings have become relatively expensive and hard to get due to current shortages. Consumer demand has been soaring during the COVID-19 takeout and delivery era, and the industry doesn’t expect the clamor to let up any time soon.

Wing Stop Thighs - © 2021 WIng StopWing Stop’s new Thighs: Latest salvo in the Fried Chicken Wars?

About the thighs… The Stop is providing access to all 11 of its signature flavours on its new thighs, and is even offering a unique (for the moment, anyway) ‘boneless thigh’ option. The Thigh Stop ‘line’ will be available at some 1,400 locations across the chain, and will also be available through an exclusive partnership with Door Dash for delivery.

Though it sounds a little oddball, the emergence of thighs as a new specialty may just signal the opening of a major new front in the Fried Chicken Wars. We’ll have to see if the other major chicken sector players take the bait…

Oy! Kosher Pork Rinds are a real ‘thing’

Believe it or not, Trader Joe’s off-beat food emporium is now selling Kosher Pork Rinds. How can this be? They’re plant-based substitutes, of course, but early reviews are positive. One reviewer, Instagram denizen @traderjoesaficionado, says: “These aren’t bad at all!! Are they chicharrones…nope, but did I like them…yup! I totally recommend!” Grammar and spelling boo-boos aside, it’s a pretty enthusiastic endorsement.

A declaration on the back of the bag boasts: “Some people purported that perfecting the ‘porkless pork rind’ was impossible – preposterous, even. “When pigs fly,” they said. Well, scan the sky, because TJ’s Spicy Porkless Plant-Based Snack Rinds are just as crispy, salty and satisfying as the real deal – plus, they’re vegan, gluten-free and baked, not fried! Go ahead, pork out!”

The ‘Porkless Snack Rinds’ are touted as, “made from rice meal, pea protein, and pea flour and seasoned with paprika, cayenne, and a pinch of habañero pepper powder […] and kosher-certified.”

A look at the nutrition guide label shows they’re also low in fat, cholesterol-free and sugar-free. However, they are relatively high in salt and carbs (as you might expect).

My take

Just this… Both of these off-beat developments beg the question: “What the heck next?”

~ Maggie J.