Pork Belly Cracklings

Pork Belly Cracklings

2 pounds fatty, boneless pork belly with skin
3 quarts oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Using a utility knife, razor blade or sharp knife, score skin into 1 1/2-inch squares, then use score marks as guides to cut through meat and fat underneath, resulting in 1 1/2-inch cubes.

Pour oil into a pot deep enough that top of oil is at least 6 inches from rim; place over medium-high heat. When oil reaches 225 degrees on a deep-fat frying thermometer, add pork cubes and immediately stir gently to prevent clumping. Cook pork until it is lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine spices in a small bowl.

Reheat oil to 400 or 425 degrees and add pork again. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes or until skin "cracks" or bubbles up. Remove cubes to a plate lined with fresh paper towels. After a minute put cracklings in a bowl, toss with spice mix and kosher salt, and serve.

Yield: 6 to 8 snack servings.

Adapted from Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking From Donald Link's
, by Donald Link.
From: The New York Times: Dining & Wine
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