|« Another Last Hurrah. Sort of.||Friday Foodporn: Love in this Year »|
Ingredient Wed Dec 30 2009
Rudolph Foods (headquartered in Ohio) ran a contest recently to see who could make the most inventive dishes for dinner using pork rinds as an ingredient. Chicago resident Angelique Page won with her recipe for Elote Spoon Bread. And while I can't say the recipe will make many nutritionists happy, I gotta say that it sounds delicious (and I love that she specifies using a cast iron pan, too).
I have to admit that I love pork rinds. I eat them rarely, but ate them as a child so they're comfort food for me. The fine folks at Rudolph Foods actually saw another post I made related to pork rinds and asked if I would like some samples to taste. I agreed and decided that I would compare them to a few other brands and see what I like the best.
I picked up two other varieties from a local grocer. I purchased a bag of Vitner's and a bag of Grand Papa's.
Three very different varieties and then I did a taste test with myself and a few other people who I've seen eat pork rinds. We each had a different favorite.
The Vitner's came with a small packet of Louisiana hot sauce in the bag, which is nice if you like them with hot sauce. I prefer mine plain. The texture was a bit dense, with a heavy pork taste and a fairly greasy mouth-feel. The person who liked these said they were the most like bacon. I found the greasy aftertaste disturbing. Another person said they'd prefer it if it were denser.
The Rudolph's were the lightest of the three. Very puffy with a texture similar to popcorn. There was a definite smoked pork taste, but it wasn't overpowering and it didn't leave a greasy aftertaste. These were honestly my favorite and the one that I would most likely purchase in the future. The lightness in the texture was a turn-off to one person and the other person liked the texture, agreed that the non-greasy texture was great, but wished it had a meatier texture and taste.
The Grand Papa's were more like cracklins than pork rinds. There were several pieces where you could see bits of meat still attached. These were very dense, very meaty, and cut into smaller pieces. These weren't as greasy as I'd expected since it had a higher meat content. I enjoyed these, but found myself uninterested after just a few bites. The extra crunchy texture was a turn off to the person who preferred the Vitner's, but the extra-crunch texture was what won over the other person.
So I think what you want out of pork rinds will determine which brand you prefer. Pork rinds without attached meat are actually fairly low in cholesterol, are carb-free, gluten-free, and I find that a few are enough to satisfy a craving for something crunchy. But these are not health food. There's quite a bit of sodium in every brand and check the label to see the cholesterol and fat content if those are health concerns.
One tip I read on the Rudolph's site that I plan on investigating further is that since it is gluten-free, their pork rinds can be pulsed or ground to a powder and replaced in recipes calling for flour on a 1:1 ratio. I see some brownies in my near future. I'll post back with details.