Did you raise your own pigs this year? Or did you run to your local butcher shop to pick up pasture-raised pig fat?
If you’ve made your own lard, chances are you had little bits of crunchy fat left in the pan. Do you know how to make use of this tasty treat?
Before tossing them, let me share with you a few stunning ways you can use the crunchy pig fat also known as ‘cracklins.’
Who knows? They could become one of your new favorite treats. Here’s how you can use pork cracklins around your kitchen:
1. Cracklin Biscuits
Cracklins can sometimes be used interchangeably with bacon. You’ll notice this recipe calls for cracklins or bacon.
Why not use pork cracklins to make delicious homemade biscuits? They’d make a great breakfast or a delicious side for your dinner.
2. Bacon Bit Substitutes
Do you enjoy bacon bits on your salad? I try to eat a salad every day for lunch. Perhaps I’d be a little more excited if I knew I could add bacon bits to it.
But what if you’re out of bacon bits? You can still add delicious flavor to drab lettuce. Crush a handful of pork cracklins and toss them onto your salad. It’ll add flavor and also an added crunch.
3. Bread Crumbs
I use breadcrumbs for many things. They’re a great addition to a meatloaf. They’re also a great way to top off homemade macaroni and cheese.
You could also use bread crumbs to fry green tomatoes. Whatever you would normally use breadcrumbs with, crush some cracklins and use them in their place. It’ll be a delicious and frugal addition.
4. Add Life to Green Bean Casserole
Green bean casserole is a traditional dish at Thanksgiving, but honestly, many people avoid it because it can get boring.
Well, tell green bean casserole to stop hitting the snooze button and to wake up! Toss pork cracklins into the casserole and let it add a new flavor and crunch to a traditional and sometimes dull recipe.
5. Milk Gravy Retake
We eat a ton of gravy around my house. I know, it isn’t the healthiest, but my husband was raised on it, and we keep the tradition with our kids.
Truthfully, nothing is much easier or delicious than a quick dinner of homemade biscuits and gravy. If you’d like to add a little extra flavor to your gravy, skip the sausage and add some pork cracklins. It’ll take your milk gravy to a whole new level.
6. Cornbread Anyone?
I’ll be honest; I don’t like cornbread. Gasp! I know. My husband couldn’t fathom it at first either. It’s rather boring in my opinion.
Which is why I add some sugar and cracklins to any cake of cornbread I make. It takes a boring dinner bread and transforms it into a delicious side for pintos, chili, or any soup you like.
7. It’s the Cherry on Top
Most of us like to add a cherry on top of our sundae. Don’t get concerned; I’m not going to suggest you add cracklins to your ice cream unless you’re extremely brave.
However, I will suggest you add pork cracklins to the top of any meat you bake. Whether it be a pot roast, roast duck, or even a pork roast. Add some crispy, crunchy cracklins to the top before serving.
8. Brown Gravy
My husband grew up on milk gravy, but I grew up on brown gravy. I love it on my mashed potatoes or stuffing.
Well, add a little something extra to your brown gravy by tossing in a handful of crispy pork cracklins at the end. It’ll be the ingredient you didn’t realize you were missing, but once you have it, you won’t want to go back.
9. Chips and Dip
You probably already guessed, if I’m a gravy girl, I’m most likely a dip girl too. You would have assumed correctly.
However, instead of purchasing a bunch of ingredients to make a dip, why not make it entirely from scratch. You can make your own sour cream and toss some cracklins into the mix. This creates a tasty dip perfect for parties or a simple snack.
10. Pork Cracklin and Veggies
It may seem odd to mix cooked pig fat with vegetables for a delectable meal, but would you imagine it works?
The next time you’re in need of a snack, cut up crunchy vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Add some crispy cracklins to the mix, and you have a crunchy snack which is frugal and all-natural.
11. Garnish Your Plates
I’m not a snazzy chef. I like to cook homemade comfort foods for my friends and family. Not only do they taste great, but they feel like home.
But if I do decide to dress things up a bit, I don’t have to look far for the perfect garnish. You can crush cracklins up for a fine garnish or even leave them in their natural state as little crisps. Either way, they’ll dress a plate up in a tasty manner.
12. Pork on Pork
Barbecue is a regular around our home. We raise our own pigs each year and have plenty of pork to make it.
However, when I make a barbecue, I like to turn them into delicious sandwiches. A nice addition to a pulled pork barbecue sandwich is adding cracklins to it. There’s a nice flavor profile which comes with cracklins, and the crunch is nice too.
13. Cracklin Powder
Do you ever feel like your soups or salads are lacking flavor? Don’t get discouraged. Instead, get creative with what you have on hand.
Grind cracklins up in a food processor or blender. Add a few tablespoons of the powdered pork cracklins into your soups or salads for a nice addition.
14. Dress Up Your Green Beans
When I make green beans, they taste anything but ordinary. I won’t make them unless I can add some minced onion to them.
I also add beef stock or bullion to them. A splash of apple cider vinegar is a nice touch, but you can add even more flavor by tossing in some cracklins.
15. Cracklin Tacos
I love Mexican cuisine. On Friday nights, when I need a break after a long week, my husband will treat me to dinner at our local Mexican restaurant.
Why not make weeknights Mexican nights too without leaving the house? Toss pork cracklins inside a soft taco shell, add shredded cheese, fresh sour cream, and homemade pico de gallo.
16. Cracklin Grilled Cheese
My kids love grilled cheese sandwiches. They don’t get any better than sharp white cheddar cheese on fresh homemade bread.
However, you can elevate the grilled cheese in one other way. You guessed it, by adding cracklins. Toss the cracklins on the bread before grilling the sandwich, and you’ll be amazed at how delicious a traditional grilled cheese can become.
17. Cracklin Pizza
Our editor here at Morning Chores tells me I’m a total foodie. She’s quite correct because not only do I love Mexican food, grilled cheese, and anything else I can get my hands on, but I’m also a fan of homemade pizza.
If you’d like to make a pizza everyone will talk about for days after eating it, try throwing cracklins on top. You can either cook the pizza with the cracklins or add them as a garnish once the pizza comes out of the oven.
18. Cracklin Mix
Chex mix is a traditional recipe people use to snack on throughout the year. It’s extremely popular during the holiday season. It can be made the traditional way or even as a peanut butter, chocolate snack.
However, if you make traditional Chex mix, try adding pork cracklins to the mix. You may be surprised how well you like it.
19. Flavor Boost
You’ve heard many different ways in this post how cracklins can serve as a flavor booster to many different recipes.
One other way you can use cracklins as a flavor booster is with pinto beans or turnips greens. I like to add as much flavor to them as I can (as I do my green beans.) Cracklins are a great way to do this without spending a fortune and also using a by-product you have on hand.
20. A Bird Treat
This last way to utilize cracklins isn’t for the kitchen, but it can be a great way to improve the views from your kitchen and save some money.
If you have a bird feeder outside of your kitchen window, don’t fill it with bird seed. Instead, use the cracklins left over from making lard as a treat for your bird friends.
Now you have 20 different ways of using pork cracklins. I love to utilize everything in my kitchen to the best of my ability. I’m a big believer in going as natural as possible and saving as much money as possible.
Hopefully, this will help you enjoy new recipes and embrace a new way of using pork cracklins. Even if it feels odd at first, give these recipes a try. You may find a new favorite way to prepare traditional meals.