Pork Cracklings and Rendered Pork Fat (Lard)

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These golden morsels of flavor are denser than the “chicharrones” of Latin America. Starting with neutral-flavored vegetable oil ensures a significant yield of fat, which can be used for stir-frying noodles for dishes like Hokkien Mee. Cherish any extra that you have: Store it in the refrigerator for some stir-fried vegetables or rice later on. It’s made from the cut sold in the U.S. as “pork butt,” which is actually the shoulder of the pork despite its name. The recipe provides more crispy pork cracklings than needed for one recipe... but you’ll see that snacking on them is addictive.

Ingredients

  • ¾ lb. (340 g.) Pork shoulder (butt) or belly (skin, fat and meat), cut into ½-inch (5 cm.) (1.3cm) cubes
  • 1 cup (237 milliliters) Vegetable oil

Method

  1. Combine pork and oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a “boil,” and then lower to simmer for about 25 to 45 minutes, until pork becomes light golden brown. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight, still in the saucepan.
  2. The next day, return the saucepan to the stove over medium heat, and cook the crackings again, until the meat expands and turns deep brown. Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, transfer solid bits to a plate; pat with paper towels to remove excess oil.
  3. Use the strained pork fat (lard) for stir-frying dishes such as Malaysian Hokkien Mee noodles or the cracklings for the Vietnamese Bánh Bèo, petite rice cakes and the Thai savory bites.

Timing Note: This recipe needs to rest overnight.
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