02 Mar2016

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I haven’t been experimenting as much as I used to. It’s something I really miss doing, but all the other things that vie for attention have gotten in the way recently. For months now, I have had this idea on the back burner, and yesterday we were able to finally take a first “crack” at it. I wanted ginormous chicharon. More for the novelty factor and to have something on display for tourists at our airport kiosk this summer that would draw attention (good or bad)… but also so a bunch of friends traveling together might break off bits of chicharon while chatting about nothing in particular. A social chicharon. :)

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In theory it seemed simple enough, take a huge piece of skin (skin only in this case, as skin and fat as we normally use for our meaty chicharon is too big and cumbersome) and boil it until tender then render it in lard and finally deep fry it in hot, hot lard. But in practice, it’s hard to prevent the skin from curling up, and thinner parts burn faster than thicker parts, edges cook faster than the center, etc.

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So I approached our chicharon supervisor and explained what I wanted to attempt. He was a bit skeptical at first, but no one is really allowed to be skeptical at Zubuchon, since they have seen bizarre idea after bizarre idea end up working, and I simply told him to experiment, and not to worry if we ended up going through several skins in the process. I sort of gave him a couple of weeks to play with the idea. But he is an overachiever, so about 4 hours later, he presented me with the platter up top! OMG, that’s a show stopper of a chicharon, if you ask me. Wicked good with chili vinegar. Not perfected yet, but way ahead of the experimentation curve, if you ask me!

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To prevent curling, Gidor inserted bamboo sticks into the skin to keep it spread out. He rendered it in lard as other typical pieces of skin/fat were being rendered. Then he removed this, heated up a vat of more lard and flash fried the rendered skin to see that final miraculous explosion into chicharon occur. He proudly brought it into the office with a smile on his face, as if his earlier skepticism was now well and truly gone. Of course we are still several versions away from the final, as we have to figure out how to produce this in bigger quantities?, how do we package it so it doesn’t soften, how much seasoning is required?, how can we make it even more ginormous? etc., etc. Then of course I want to try the long curly chicharons from Bangkok markets, tiny bit sized pieces of thinly cut chicharon, and so many others… :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Agnes Guzman says:

    Wow, I like! My arteries would be happy! =)

    Mar 2, 2016 | 10:36 am

     
  2. EbbaBlue says:

    Yes here in Texas, they sell gigantic chicharon. Sooo huge you can cover your whole face with it. Many time I bought one, and siblings and I little by little take a pinch while drinking cold soda.

    Mar 2, 2016 | 11:26 am

     
  3. Gia Mayol says:

    That’s most certainly chicharon to share :)

    Mar 2, 2016 | 11:29 am

     
  4. Cathy says:

    Hi MarketMan, can’t help but comment on this, if you have the time.,you can go to Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria Bulacan, I saw their display. a huge chicharon as large (or even bigger) as a doormat and it’s “flat” . The owner said, it’s just a display like you thoughts, to attract people, I mean if a doormat size chicharon won’t make you look twice then I don’t know what else can..

    Mar 2, 2016 | 1:55 pm

     
  5. ros says:

    WOW! & YUM! Props for Gidor. :D
    My own imaginings of this experiment involves fish hooks/needles, butcher twine, a cookie cooling rack/sheet(hmm, are galvanized chicken wire food safe?), lots and lots of lard and a big enough kawali to contain it all.

    :D

    Mar 2, 2016 | 2:12 pm

     
  6. Kasseopeia says:

    “A social chicharon.” At first, I read it as “sosyal na chicharon”.

    I would imagine something like a wire “cage” to hold the chicharon flat (like two oven racks pressed together) while rendering and during flash-frying. As for seasoning, perhaps it should be seasoned with a shaker, as opposed to being tossed the way smaller chicharon are.

    Excited for the final product! I hope it’s available when I return to Cebu.

    Mar 2, 2016 | 2:34 pm

     
  7. Clarissa says:

    Wow. This looks like a crispy pata, but only with best and most favorite part, the skin! :)

    Mar 2, 2016 | 6:04 pm

     
  8. Patrick says:

    Hi MM,

    I’ve seen this kind of Chicharron sold in Mexican grocery stores in California. The last time I had some, it took us two days to eat it all. There are also YouTube videos on it that may help you and your chicharron expert figure out how to keep the skin from curling.

    Mar 2, 2016 | 9:48 pm

     
  9. Shane says:

    http://youtu.be/6nARo_ECAGU

    this might be of help

    I spend time in Mexico City and drive out to Tijuana given the proximity to San Diego. I love chicharon with salsa

    Mar 2, 2016 | 11:12 pm

     
  10. Marketman says:

    Shane, thanks for that link, now I have a better idea of how to do it. I like the uncurling while hot, we have done that for our fish tacos… Patrick, thanks, yes, this would be very similar to the large Mexican chicharonnes. And I like the idea of having this with salsa!

    Mar 3, 2016 | 8:08 am

     
  11. Joey says:

    I cannot eat chicharon anymore (elevated cholesterol level) but maybe I can borrow it for a few nights? I will use it as my pillow so I can have chicharon dreams when I sleep… :-)

    Mar 3, 2016 | 8:59 am

     
  12. Khew says:

    I’m thinking, get or fashion 2 sizes of wiremesh fry baskets, one fitting snugly into the other with the pig skin clamped tightly in between. Perhaps you may need to tie or clip the baskets to ensure they don’t loosen from each other due to the action of the oil and pig skin. Don’t know if the wiremesh would leave a pattern on the skin, though.

    Mar 4, 2016 | 10:22 pm

     
  13. Sleepless in Seattle says:

    Mexican carneceria sells huge almost pillow size chicharones,my hubby loves them together with bagnet style Chicharon,we buy this goodies twice a month freshly cooked in Tacoma.Washington ..I just imagine how big they vessel they cook it with.We go home,cut them up in regular size pieces,will freeze some bagnet Chicharon for future use on pinakbet,now we live part time here in Pampanga,I miss those huge chicharones.

    Mar 8, 2016 | 2:30 am

     
  14. natie says:

    Cardenas Mexican Grocery in Las Vegas has huge pillow-sized chicharones. Amazing sizes! Freshly made behind their counter.

    Mar 11, 2016 | 10:58 pm

     

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