What is Crackling?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

As a favorite treat that is created by deep-frying the leftover rinds of pork products, crackling has a long history as a snack and an additive in recipes. Here is some information about the preparation of cracklings, as well as some of the ways that crackled pork rinds are used in various dishes.

Navy beans, which are often served with crackling.
Navy beans, which are often served with crackling.

Crackling is created with the use of the hard outer rind of pork sections. The tougher sections can be boiled in advance in order to provide a more pleasing texture. Next, the sections of pork rind is sliced into strips and immersed into boiling oil. As the rind strips begin to fry, they tend to curl and puff somewhat, providing the appearance that most people associate with pork crackling products.

After allowing the crackling to drain, the result is a crispy and light snack that is popular in many places around the world. While cooling, crackling strips may be treated with a number of spices, or doused with a light sprinkling of salt.

Also known in some cultures as chicharron, the crackling pork rind is very popular in the southern United States. Not only is the crackling considered a snack treat in both the United States and the Philippines, pork rinds can also be used in the preparation of a number of different types of vegetable dishes. For example, crackling can be employed as a seasoning element in the preparation of collards, mustard greens, and turnip greens. It is not unusual for crackling to be used with black-eyed peas, pinto beans, and navy beans as well. Essentially, any food that may be flavored with the presence of bacon or ham can also be flavored with the use of crackling.

Along with vegetables, crackling is also used as an ingredient in corn bread pones. Cooked directly into the batter of the corn pone, the presence of the crackling lends a distinctive hint of bacon flavor to the cornbread. Especially in rural sections of the South, a meal is not considered complete unless crackling cornbread is on the table.

Crackling has the advantage over some other seasoning mediums, in that crackling can be stored in a cupboard with no refrigeration. Because the shelf life of properly prepared pork rind crackling strips is several months, it is possible to have a steady supply of meat flavored seasonings for cooking. Relatively inexpensive to produce, crackling maintains a pleasing flavor that enhances the taste of a number of vegetables, without containing as high a level of fats and carbohydrates as many other options.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


@kathy61: I may have what you are looking for. I grew up with what we called Griffin cookies. Don't know where the griffin name comes from but the cookies were made with cracklings.

2 C white sugar; 3 C griffin(cracklins); 2 C brown sugar, 1 C raisins; 1/2teas nutmeg; 1/2 teas cinnamon; 1 teas salt; 2 eggs; 1 C sour milk; 1 teas soda. may use finely chopped nuts if desired.

flour to handle dough, roll out on board (don't roll to thin) cut with round cookie cutter.

Bake at 375 for 12 to 15 minutes.


I am looking for a recipe for cracklin cookies. They are kind of a spice cookie with raisins and pork cracklins in them. I made them a number of years ago and now can't find the recipe.

Would love to make them again!

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