I was beginning grabbed by the demon porcine joy at a belated stage of life when I should have known better. What is basically fat fried in fat should have been an obvious clue to anyone with a college education. Or the little grease-stained brown paper bags should have surely been a tip-off .
I was hooked fast.
The fact that most every little store around Acadiana sells pork barrel cracklin ’ ( besides known as grattons ) at the record surely bodes well for how far this porky addiction has spread. Oh, I tried to quit, but Earl ’ s Cajun Market, my neighborhood pusher, drew me back in every clock time I opened the front man door and breathed in the judicious siren predict of bits of hog frying in a black iron caldron of lard. I can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate resist the bacony relish or the contrast of crunch with the polish seep of pork tallow .
Cajun cracklins are described by most as the by-product of the boucherie, a Cajun celebration of the butcher of a whole hog .
I disagree .
I believe it to be the independent product, and everything else is an reconsideration. The skin and tasty bits of fat surrounding it are fondly boiled in anoint, tended gently and brought to the bill of brittleness. It is an art form .
Cajun cracklins are not for everyone. These small taste bombs will decimate your diet, derail your noble sensitivity and send you down the path of sinful consumption. Be warned. These fiddling bags sold on every street recess in Cajun country are just the startle. Soon you ’ ll be smothering a sausage-stuffed hog ’ s abdomen, roasting a boudin-stuffed pork loin, and Lord forbid, making a fry pork barrel jowl BLT. Don ’ t say I didn ’ metric ton circumspection you .
Over the years, I ’ ve embarked on a healthy life style that no longer includes this delicacy, but, from meter to time, I have been known to come home plate with grease-stained fingers and a look of guilt on my face. And from the acerb smell of my clothes, my wife knows immediately that I ’ ve fallen off the wagon once again .
Curse you cracklin ’ !
Curse you for being so decadent and deliriously delightful .
Prep time : 1 hour
Cooking time : 1 to 2 hours
Serves : A party or one addict
Cracklin ’ is more an craftsman craft than a Cajun recipe. There are varying methods for Cajun cracklins as with okra, and they are all correct, vitamin a hanker as they achieve a quality product. Some like to start the cube of fatten off in water, but I am going with the “ fat-in-fat ” method acting. You ’ ll need a very big toilet – I use a deep, 20-quart black iron batch — and an outdoor burner with a paddle. After that, the only independent ingredients are rendered hog lard and pork abdomen. But, that ’ s where the simplicity of cracklin ’ comes to a whine stop. It takes trial and error to get it right, and in South Louisiana there are generations of families that pass down this time-honored Cajun cook custom .
At least 4 to 6 pounds hog fat back or pork barrel belly, cut into 3/4 edge by 4-inch strips
Hog embroider ( sum varies with the batch size )
Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
Before you begin :
Find a butcher that understands pork and the art of the recipe for Cajun cracklins. There needs to be good the right amount of skin, fatty and kernel. Some prefer the back fatten and some prefer the belly. Have the butch cut the cracklin ’ fat into strips. They will shrink to approximately thumb size during the cook .
If you live in an apartment, forget it. This is an outdoor venture only since both the submerge spirit of adipose tissue electrocute in fat along with the gamble of a pork barrel fat hell are flower reasons to take it outside. A big black iron pot, long-handled spoon or toddle, oven baseball glove, a variable estrus source and a thermometer are the keystone equipment needed. Oh, and you might want to wear a long-sleeved shirt and protective eyewear .
The first electrocute :
With the batch on a broken arouse, add all the pieces of pork barrel fat to the pot. Pour in enough lard to come 3/4 of the way up to the top of the fat. Be careful in this first phase of fudge as the moisture trapped in the adipose tissue cubes will burst and create small dirt bombs ( thus the long-sleeved shirt and glasses ) .
here, the long slow action of the first translation of adipose tissue is crucial as you begin to reduce the raw pieces of pork revealing the kernel. The lard should be on a gloomy fry around 225 to 275ºF, and the continual movement of the fat by stirring with the long-handled spoon will keep it from sticking together. repeatedly stir the pot every 3 minutes or therefore .
There are some authoritative physical principles to remember. The grease will get hot and will increase in quantity as the fatness melts off the pork. It is crucial to use a thermometer to check the temperature of the embroider since the longer it cooks the hot it gets. Lower the fire to lower the temperature. Ladle off some of the embroider if it increases to a dangerous overflow level. Continue to cook for what might be close to 1 hour or more .
once the block of pork have rendered and achieve a tan brown color remove the cracklin ’ to a metallic element wire rack on a tray .
Think you ’ re done ? Think again .
The second fry :
It ’ mho barely like twice-fried potatoes. The skill of heating vegetable oil to varying temperatures and returning the intersection to a higher, flash-fry inflame achieves something marvelous in taste and texture. Once-fried cracklin ’ can become highly bad and unmanageable to bite through the exterior peel. This moment fry will crisp the skin — some say “ pop ” the skins — that literally defines Cajun cracklins. ( note : Some folks like to add a handful of ice rink to the petroleum at this stage, but I haven ’ t experienced that technique. It purportedly makes the grease boil quickly and “ blisters ” the skin crispen. If you try it, be careful. )
Make sure the quantity of vegetable oil still approximates the original sum and turn the fire on high until your thermometer reads between 375 to 400ºF. Add the translate pork barrel back into the pot and turn the fire off .
Continue to cook until they begin to achieve a ample, gold brown discolor. This is a all-important stage since some of the cracklin ’ will cook faster than others indeed remove in stages based on color. Remove the cracklin ’ to a large tray with a electrify rack lined with paper towels to soak up the grease. Season with salt and Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend ( see recipe here ).
Open an ice-cold can of beer and delight .
You deserve it .
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