another guilty pleasure: homemade pork scratchings

homemade spicy pork scratchings
Pork scratchings are something of a guilty but satisfying pleasure. Yes, they are fatty and a little greasy, but oh dear lord, they taste good. It's 6 Nations season right now, and there is nothing like watching the rugby with a pint of good ale and a bowl of these wicked salty snacks. The only problem is that they are so moreish, that one bowl is never enough!

Another reason why I liked making these snacks recently was that my butcher gave me the pork rind for next-to-nothing - he threw it in for pennies along with the roasting joint I had bought. So even more frugal than usual and I have a whole load of pork fat from cooking up the scratchings which is absolutely fabulous on roast potatoes.

Skill level: Easy
Makes a small bowlful

500g pork rind (skin from the belly)
1½ tbsp sea salt flakes
1½ tsp celery salt
½ tsp garlic salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
¼-½ tsp cayenne pepper (or ground chilli to taste)

  1. Put the pork rind on a plate and leave in the fridge overnight. This helps to dry the pork skin out and will give you a crunchier result.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 140C / Gas Mark 1.
  3. Place the pork rind flat on a chopping board and score lightly with a sharp knife. (I use a Stanley knife.) Massage the sea salt flakes into the rind and leave for about 30 minutes.
  4. Put the pork rind in a roasting tray and roast on the high heat in the oven for about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to 140C / Gas Mark 1 and cook for about 1½ hours. Check every 30 minutes or so to ensure that the pork isn't burning. Pour off any excess fat (and reserve for cooking fat - it is brilliant for roasting potatoes). After 1½ hours, turn the pork rind over and cook for a further 30 minutes.
  5. When the pork is crisp and golden, remove from the oven.
  6. Mix together the salts and spices and sprinkle over the top of the pork while still hot.
  7. Chop the pork into bite-sized pieces and serve immediately with good cheer!

  • Delicious with Chinese Five Spice powder and served with sweet chilli dipping sauce.
  • Add ¼-½ teaspoon of ground cumin to the spice mix or ground cinnamon, or try Cajun Spice Mix.
  • Apple sauce is also a nice traditional pairing with pork.
  • Don't use a deep fat fryer; pork scratchings are much better when baked in the oven.
  • Some people suggest pouring boiling water or white wine vinegar over the rind before roasting. I find just drying the rind out overnight works just as well.
  • Don't skimp on the salt!


Anonymous said...

Oh torment
I love the rind-y bits of pork, but when done crispy they wreak havoc on my crowns.


Joanna @ Zeb Bakes said...

Ooh how delicious! That looks fabulous !

We had a roast pork joint last month and the crackling was a fail, bendy and impossible to eat. I stripped it off together with some of the underlying fat, snipped it into little pieces and put it back in the oven and it crisped up and was very light and not hard and chewy.

Petra said...

This is my nr 1 guilty food pleasure! Thanks for sharing! Yum!!

Fiona Maclean said...

you REALLY shouldn't go posting things like this. It just wrecks the life of this girl who is trying her best to lose a few more kilos for spring!

Homeandfood said...

You temptress.

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Well girls, I wouldn't recommend them on a regular basis but hey, once a year or so? :)

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Hamilton - that barking sound you could hear all the way down in your neck of the woods was me roaring with laughter! What can I say, I do try!