Chicharon / Fried Pork Rind and Belly

Few foods conjure up visions of lethal arterial blockage like chicharon, lechon skin and lechon kawali. All a variation of a porcine theme, the concept of taking the skin of a pig, chich1the immediate underlying thick layer or wiggly fat, several more layers of “meat” between more fat then frying this all up in even more fat is just too much! Or is it? Most Filipinos are “hard-wired” from birth to have a craving for chicharon, those spectacular pork cracklings or rind that the Spaniards probably introduced to us when they discovered all the great wild boar running around the rain forests of the archipelago. The stuff is pure evil (as my daughter would say) but just too good to pass up. I have always been content buying my chicharon at the nearest grocery or lately from dedicated chicharon manufacturers like Lapid’s or Chicharittos but for my own benefit and the benefit of Marketmanila readers I tried to make chicharon from scratch for the first time…with brilliant heart attack material results!

I found a recipe attributed to the late Finance Minister Jaime V. Ongpin (an idol of mine from a finance perspective and turns out from a food one as well and chich2he was the quintessential antithesis to the spiny jellyfish that dominate our government today, okay, that’s the extent of my political commentary for now) that really intrigued me – it sounded extremely simple and too good to be true. I have altered it slightly but the base idea was his: 1 kilo pork liempo (fat is good), 4 bay leaves, 1 onion quartered, 6 cloves of garlic, whole black peppercorns, salt and lots of vegetable oil. Take the pork liempo (whole) and put it in a heavy pot and add water until the liempo is covered slightly. Add 4 bay leaves, 1 onion (quartered), garlic, maybe 10-12 peppercorns, and bring to a simmer and leave simmering for about 75 minutes or so until meat is tender. During the last 30 minutes of cooking I add salt to the liquid, say half a tablespoon of rock or native salt (not iodized).

Remove the pork and drain it well. I used a fan pointed at the colander to try and chich3dry it out even more (is that apocryphal, moving air drying something faster regardless of air humidity levels???) then patted it dry with paper towels and sliced it into small bite-sized pieces. Put it in a bowl and covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated it for 24 hours (which I presume is to dry it out even more). Then just a few minutes before you want to eat the chicharon, heat up lots of oil and fry the pork pieces carefully (whoa! The splattering is a pain in the neck) until light golden brown. Sprinkle with fine salt (preferably not iodized). Serve hot with vinegar and sili labuyo. I made this recipe with a meaty piece of liempo so it had a lot of “laman” or meat. Absolutely delicious and a great appetizer or snack.


18 Responses

  1. Marketman– thanks for bravely making your own chicharon but dude, we need our dear epicure to live for another lifetime so you can share all the gastronomic delights! Looks deadly but I bet it tastes divine. Good to put on top of monggo yeah?

  2. Dude! Lighten up on the piggy fat! That can’t be good for anyone! Listen to your daughter…. she knows… maybe way more than you do…. *Ain’t that a scary thought!*

  3. Marketman! What a way to start the week!!! My gulay! ;-)

    Did you use lard to fry this with? My lola used to make homemade chicharon but simmer it under very low fire till the meat yielded its own fat.

  4. oh market man this is an artery clogging one but yours with laman looks so inviting. My friends here in Athens sun dry the fat for few days.

    Good try am sure the cleaning after wasnt fun!! splatter of oil everywhere. Maybe a fryer will help if you will making more sometime.

  5. oh my!!! Surely this were great chicharon you’d made. Somehow we filipinos are really fun of eating any chicharon but somehow careless about our health. It maybe reasonable to eats once in a while or occasionally but not almost every week. And i notice too that there are lots of vendors who sell this a a specialty..not only pork skin but also chicken neck and even chicken intestine. Oh well we can’t blame other pinoys to eat ’em. And hopefull aware of the outcome if they over eat them. Chicharon is good with monngo beans and add chopped ginger and celery leaves.. yum yum :)

  6. eh. ignore the others LOL. i’m glad you did this! i’ve been meaning to post a chicharon recipe — very similar to this one, including the drying in the fridge and everything, but uses karen’s lola’s technique — slow-frying in lard. — i have an old issue of Gourmet doing this exact treatment to a whole pork hock and that was the inspiration. wanna try it with crispy pata next time? i say as long as this is enjoyed in moderation, ok lang ang indulgence di ba? oxymoron ba ‘yon?

  7. Thanks for all those health advisories…I do try to eat this type of stuff sparingly. While it was delicious, there could have been improvements…I like the slow cook in lard version as mine where brilliantly crispy but tasted like I fried it too fast. This version had so much laman it was like eating lechon kawali like french fries!

  8. Yummy! A little fat won’t hurt : ) This is kinda how we do our Lechon Kawali too although we cook it in a Turbo broiler rather than deep fry. It gets rid of some of the oil.

  9. i cook partly cook the liempo (until the skin appears dry) in the oven instead of boiling. This avoids oil splattering everywhere when u fry….. kumukulo ‘yong mantika pero di pumipitik….

  10. I’ve always wondered whether incorporating the french technique of making confit (of duck or pork) will make better lechon kawali, or chicharon for that matter. This recipe is a little like confit- fat, salt, bay, garlic, peppercorns… perhaps a little thyme would be good too? but with confit the meat is simmered gently for hours! and preserved. Hmmm, I’m just thinking aloud…

  11. Looks good, i have collected lotsa pork rind, imma now going to cook using this recipe…., will post the result.

  12. You have all been misled. It is the VEGETABLE OIL, NOT THE PIG FAT, which causes heart attacks! Do you think our inborn craving for saturated fat is an evolutionary accident? It is not – saturated fat in reasonable doses is very healthy for us. It is the Vegetable Oils which are chemically treated and filtered many times before hitting our pans which destroy the cell integrity of the human body due to their malformed fat structure.

    Google ‘saturated fat does not cause heart attacks’ for many hits on this. Especially important is the Weston Price explanation at:

    To think that America for the past 50 years has waged “war on heart disease” to only have occurences of it skyrocket! As Einstein says if you want more of the same keep doing what you are doing…

  13. marketman,
    obviously you know something about the scam behind iodized salt…hmmmm,and truthseeker what you’ve shared is just a piece of sand in the shore lots and lots of greedy manipulation out there that most of our folks knows nothing about.anyway lets enjoy our chicharon in moderation ayyy….can’t wait to go to the asian shop(here in australia} to buy some mung beans for a delicious ginisang monggo with pork chicharon…hmmm yummy….

  14. maraming tindahan din d2 sa Sta.Maria ng mga chicharon. Masasarap din. Try nyo ung Nonie’s chicharon.

  15. Gusto ko pong magnegosyo ng chicharon. Ive been searching the web for a recipe. Kaya lang po limited ang know how ko sa internet. Can u please send me a recipe? ung pwede pong magamit pang tinda sa opis namin?
    Thank you po. Malaking tulong po ito para sa pamilya ko.
    By the way, pwede po kya i chicharon ang balat ng kalabaw?
    Maraming Salamat po!

  16. I’m from Cavite. Maraming nagtitinda dito ng Chicharon but one time sinubukan kong bumili at nabili ko ung N Chicharon (Nonie’s Best) from Sta.Maria Bulacan. Masarap kasi maanghang na at tamang tama lang ang timpla. Ang sarap ipang ulam. The Best talaga.,



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