Pork rinds are getting more attention than they have for a long time. Chicharrones have been a major component in many regional Mexican cuisines for generations, and the variant known as cracklins has been prevalent throughout the rural United States, but now bigger brands are jumping on the bandwagon, and we’re seeing more and more pork rinds made from high-quality ingredients and with experimental flavorings. Here are the top reasons why pork rinds are an underrated snack, and why they’re likely to see a surge in popularity in the coming years.
They’re Surprisingly Healthy (in Appropriate Doses)
Practically any snack can be unhealthy if you eat too much of it, but you might be shocked to find out how pork rinds snack up against other alternatives on the snack shelf at your grocery. After all, pork rinds are simply fried pig fat. But in the right environment, they can be a safe and even productive element of your diet. Most promising is the fact that pork rinds have absolutely zero carbs. Diets like the ketogenic diet – which emphasize a diet completely or mostly lacking in carbohydrates – make a good argument for pork rinds in your diet.
The other main benefit is that they’re high in protein. That means a small bag or pork rinds can provide you with the energy you need to get through a tough task. Just keep in mind that everything is best in moderation. Pork rinds are a processed food, and they’re especially high in sodium, so be sure to look for healthier brands that opt for more natural and less artificial flavoring options.
There Are Always Vegan Options for You
The very idea of a vegan pork rind might sound anathema to any connoisseurs in the audience. But you likely won’t continue to feel that way after you’ve tasted one. PigOut pork rinds were created by the mastermind of the Beyond Burger, and they taste just like the real thing. And the health and ethical benefits go beyond simply being a meat-free alternative. PigOut has a quarter of the sodium you’d find in traditional pork rinds and a third of the saturated fat. When compared to so many other snacks on the shelf, modern pork rinds are capable of seriously upending our understanding of what those words mean.
There’s a Multitude of Flavors
Lay’s potato chips create new brands of chips every year based on the suggestions of their users. That just represents a fraction of the flavors available at any bodega or corner store. In terms of traditional chicharrones, the variety just can’t compare. You’ll generally find plain, hot, and barbecue. But the sudden wave of interest in pork rinds is creating an interest in more varied and creative flavor combinations. Whether you’re looking for nacho cheese, regional barbecue, or salt and vinegar, you can find a flavor of pork rinds that are catered to your taste profile. As more people get on the bandwagon, we’re only likely to see these options grow.
What is so particularly exciting about pork rinds is that our very definition of what they mean is starting to shift. Brands like Outstanding Foods are introducing alternatives to the market that don’t include a single drop of pork and which are baked rather than fried. And they come in four different flavors, with a nutritional value that’s surprisingly healthy considering the flavor packed in. Pork rinds are worth paying attention to because they’re undergoing so major changes. It’s worth mixing up your snack routine sometimes, and it’s worth giving pork rinds a second consideration.