Cracklins

Crisp bits of bacon or duck skin cooked until dark and golden, cracklins are a delicious addition to corn bread or salads. Free-range chicken skin or guinea hen skin are also options.–Frank Stitt

LC Okay, So What Do I Do With Cracklins? Note

You there—the one with the drool starting to pool on your keyboard from the very notion of these crisp cracklins that are just as ungodly rich as you’re imagining. You may be wondering, okay, so what do I do with cracklins aside from just standing there at the stove and cramming them into my piehole? Chef Frank Stitt, a born and bred Southerner who just happens to be an alum of Alice Water’s Chez Panisse and the recipient of countless awards, plops these very cracklins in his corn bread batter. We figure he ought to know. And, of course, snitching cracklins straight from the skillet is always an option. Mind you, these are different than the fried rind of pork, which you find packaged across the country. (And in as many as 14 different flavors in Alabama. We know. We counted.) These are a touch more refined, if you will. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you have to be restrained.

Cracklins Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 45 M
  • Servings vary

Ingredients

  • Slab bacon (or substitute duck skin), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Directions

  • 1. Place the bacon or duck skin and just enough cold water to cover in a heavy skillet or saucepan and cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the fat is rendered, the water has evaporated, and the cracklins are crisp and golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
  • 2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cracklins to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Reserve the remaining fat to make corn bread. [Editor’s Note: Or to make home-fried potatoes. Or fried eggs. Or, well, lots of things.]
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Comments
Comments
  1. Testers Choice Testers Choice says:

    [Lisa Owens] Oh so simple! I did it with bacon and it was delicious, but I can’t wait to do it with duck skin!!! I was going to just fry the skin, then I saw this recipe and did as directed and it was a much better idea. Use the fat in the skillet to make corn bread, and if you want to rock some worlds, use the cracklins in it. One of those almost “non-recipes” to keep in mind for salad toppings or breakfast toppings (I’m thinking over pancakes?). Have fun!

  2. Growing up in the very rural south of the 1950′s, 60′s, etc. and with a grandfather who was a butcher, we always butchered pigs in the fall and along with that event came cracklings. The cracklings I grew up with were the slow roasted skin primarily from the pork belly. They wouldn’t have had a cure or smoke applied so they had a more delicate flavor than bacon. We did indeed add them to cornbread batter which created “cracklin’ bread.” And that’s some mighty fine eatin’, if I do say so myself :-)

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Ain’t going to argue with you, Lana. Sounds fabulous. We’ve actually seen a lot of different things labeled cracklins, and quite honestly, we wouldn’t kick any of them out of bed…

  3. Briony says:

    I normally just throw bits of skin or bacon into a pan with a little oil. What benefit does the cold water bring?

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Briony, the water helps to render the fat and has an added benefit. By the time the water has boiled away and the cracklins are getting golden brown and crispy on the outside, you’ll find that fat hasn’t splattered all over your stove. This method works with bacon and sausage as well.

  4. Chef Ozma says:

    Oh-oh. There goes my South Beach Diet discipline.

    What a great time to publish this – as autumn is unfurling, and we all are hankering for that little boost to our cold-weather diets.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Thanks, Chef Ozma. And yes, exactly. We crave a little more fatty deliciousness this time of year, and for good reason. All is good in moderation, yes?

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