The Count of Merkur Cristo
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Now, don't get me wrong, but there is cracklins and 'there is cracklins'. Some I've had had no meat attached (yuck...all fat), some w/ hardly no fat attached, some with no seasoning, some with way too much seasoning and some drowned in hot sauce or other concoctions.
So, the question is...where do you go to get your cracklin
After searching & tasting...the Mrs. and I get ours in Lake Charles @ Leonards Food Quarters with just the right ratio of fat to meat & Creole seasoned with just the right amount of garlic, onion powder and
By Cheré Coen - my NewOrleans.com - 26 Nov 19
"Best of Cracklins - Everything you need to know about Acadiana’s [and the South's] favorite
The Cajun [and Creole] boucherie dates back centuries, a communal hog butchering where careful attempts were made to use every inch of the animal to adequately feed the coterie. Usually held in cold weather months, the boucherie produced items for backbone stew, sausage such as andouille and boudin, ham hocks, bacon and pork roasts, among other pork products.
Even the skin of the pig was used. Called grattons in French, or by the more popular name of crackling or cracklin’, South Louisiana residents drop the pig skin with fat and sometimes meat attached into vats of hog lard. The frying time varies per cook but most know cracklings are done when they pop and form “eyes” and float to the surface. Some cooks pull the cracklings from the fat and allow them to cool before deep-frying them a second time at a higher temperature. Once doused with seasoning, the final product becomes a crispy, tasty snack.
Cracklings are cooked throughout the South, but the fatty pork nibble is especially popular in Acadiana. Fresh cracklings under heated lamps or those packaged to go can be found in both meat markets and grocery stores and at your local convenience shops or gas stations.
“Crackling gets under your skin,” wrote George Graham in his cookbook Acadiana Table: Cajun and Creole Home Cooking from the Heart of Louisiana. “It burrows deep into your psyche and finds a portal lobe to a sensory connection you never knew existed. In the real sense of the word, it’s addictive. The fact that most every little store around Acadiana sells pork crackling at the register bodes well for how far this porky addiction has spread.” In that spirit, we huddled with University of Louisiana at Lafayette history professor and Cajun cuisine expert Robert Carriker to bring you this guide to Acadiana’s favorite snack".
The Process: Boucheries still exist, but for the everyday cook creating cracklings can be a tough — and heat intensive — job.
Rocky Sonnier, who runs Bayou Cabins in Breaux Bridge, creates batches of cracklings for his bed and breakfast visitors, serving them up for the first meal of the day. The former winner of numerous crackling cook-offs through the years, Sonnier begins with four gallons of hog lard and 75 pounds of pig skins, slicing the pork into long slabs and cooking them for an hour and 45 minutes in the boiling grease.
“When they start floating and blistering, what we call eyes emerging, we take them out,” Sonnier explained.
He then raises the grease to about 400 degrees and drops the cracklings back in for about a minute or two. In the second round they pop like popcorn, Sonnier said, and that means they’re done. Removed from the boiling fat with a slotted spoon, Sonnier places the cracklings on newspaper and seasons them with salt, red pepper and a little garlic.
Sonnier learned how to cook cracklings from his elders 35 years ago. “In 1985, everyone had a different way of cooking them,” he said. [...]
What makes Cracklin so good
The key to producing tasty cracklings starts with the frying. Leave the cracklings in lard too long and they’ll turn dark brown [, hard] and burn. The fat should remain soft and [the meat] chewy while the outer skin is crispy when all is said and done.
“I look for the softness and the hardness,” said Desiree Ardoin, the spokesperson for the annual Port Barre Cracklin Festival. “There’s a happy medium in there.”
Seasoning also plays a role. Most contestants in the festival’s cook-off season their cracklings with salt and pepper, but many have used vinegar, cayenne and their own seasoning blends, Ardoin explained".
Read More: The Best of Cracklins