Pork Belly Cracklings
FOR THE PORK:
2 pounds fatty, boneless pork belly with skin
3 quarts oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
FOR THE SPICE MIX:
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
Louisiana, by Donald Link.
From: The New York Times: Dining & Wine