I was just finishing up at my local market in the meat section when it occurred to me that I was in the mood for chicharonnes. This dish is common to any culture that celebrates the pig or, for that matter, has had some sort of Spanish influence on their local cuisine–Philippines, South America, Mexico, Spain…

…but what has been confusing is…what exactly qualifies to make chicharonnes? Is it the actual pork fat that one can fairly easily find and render into cooking lard (been there, done that, still using it)? But no, to some purists, chicharonnes are made from pork skin rather than from pork fat or even, for that matter, pork loin.

So at my local Hispanic market, Mi Tierra, I asked if they had any cuero de puerco (pork skin) available somewhere back there. I had asked at Berkeley Bowl but it was a special order, and chances are that even at waste conscious Berkeley Bowl West, pork skin is often considered ‘waste product’ from cuts of meat. Truly a sacrilege to any cuisine that views using everything but the squeal when cooking this noble animal.

And wow–the butcher walked out from the freezer with the majority of the skin from a butchered female (you could tell because the pork skin had, literally, six small tits protruding. Amazing.


Looks…I would hazard a guess…very much like human skin and certainly has a similar feel. I have been researching various means of preparing this skin for chicharonnes, which can be involved as simply frying away in a load of pork lard or even boiling in water for a few hours and then baking at low temperatures for nearly a day…then frying away.

We will see–I’m looking forward to playing with this delightful waste soon.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Chestnut St,Berkeley,United States

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