The First Chinese Low-Fat Pigs - Detail - © Toby Talbot via AP

Pork Rinds: Not As Sinful A Snack As You Think!

Pork Rinds have long been ridiculed as ‘the snack of folks who don’t know any better’. That’s a paraphrase. But you get the idea. Well, it turns out that they’re not unhealthy, as such. And Pork Rinds actually contain stuff that’s good for you…

Pork Rinds - © 2023 - porkrinds.com

Okay. They may not be as healthy as, say, fresh fruits and veggies. But they have been proven significantly less harmful than the common Potato Chip.

They’re a tradtional favourite in the US Southwest. And they’re known in many cuisines around the world, including Mexico, where they’re famous as Chicharrones.

What they are

Simply, they’re pork skins, boiled to tenderize them and render out excess fat. Then they’re cooled, and dried thoroughly. Some commercial versions are dehydrated  before cooking. The drying is to ensure the optimum outcome of the next operation. That’s deep frying. Excess moisture would be converted to steam, fighting the rind’s natural proclivity to puff up and get intensely crunchy.

Yup. That’s why they look like monster ‘Puff’ snacks. And they beat the commercial, extruded-dough munchies all-hollow on crunch!

Nutrition nitty-gritty

It’s a two-edged sword. No one would argue that the official Nutrition Facts listing for Pork Rinds is in any way balanced. Healthine.com reports:

A medium-sized, single-serving bag which contains 2 oz. / 57 g provides:

  • Calories: 310
  • Protein: 35 grams
  • Fat: 18 grams
  • Carbs: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 1,040 mg

The high sodium content is the direct result of adding salt after frying. The batch (or brand) HealthLine analysed must have been dosed to the hilt with added salt! Choose a low-salt brand if you’re buying them at the store. Or you can make themself, and control precisely the amount of salt you add.

“Some brands of pork rinds also contain artificial colors, flavor enhancers, and preservatives,” HealthLine notes. It’s also worth mentioning that, “About half of the fat in pork rinds is saturated fat.”

Get the most from them!

Most folks just crunch them ‘neat’. But you can dip them like chips or that classic Asian snack, Shrimp Crackers.

RealSimple.com suggests: “Pork rinds can also be a fun base to build nachos on, or added to sandwiches for an extra, satisfying crunch. Low-carb cooks also grind up pork rinds to use as a crisp coating for meat or veggie cutlets.”

My take

At ease! If you love Pork rinds, put any guilt you have been harbouring behind you. Indulge. But remember that they’re high in fat. Also, commercial brands may be high in salt, and contain unwanted additives.

Your cardinal rule should be: ‘Moderation in all things’…

~ Maggie J.

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