The key to preparing good cracklings (also known as cracklin’s) is to remove the “very hard meat skin” from the edges of fried salt pork fat back. Many enjoy it as a snack. The skins must be consumed slowly to prevent cracked teeth! They’re THAT hard.
As for the cornbread, simply crumble the soft fried pork and mix into batter before baking. The cornbread is tasty by itself. Also good drizzled with honey or maple syrup.
DISCLOSURE (NOT SPONSORED): Pictured products are personal favorites I purchased and used to make this delicious recipe.
For this recipe, I used Royal Food’s brand of Cured Salt Pork Fat Back which is very salty. Boiling before frying will decrease salt and make it just right for consumption. Fried in my super efficient cast iron skillet provided by Lodge Manufacturing.
Although fried pork is tender, the hard outside edge (meat skin) can damage teeth. Remove hard edges and discard. Do not add to cornbread batter.
Crumbled cracklings after hard meat skins have been removed.
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- 5 thick slices cured salt pork fat
- 1/2 cup water for boiling
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying
Homemade White Cornbread
- 1 cup self-rising white cornmeal mix
- 1/2 cup self-rising flour, sifted See recipe notes for all-purpose flour.
- 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup buttermilk
- TIP: Add 1/4 cup corn muffin mix for extra flavor and thickness.
- Place all ingredients on the kitchen counter. Use an 8" skillet (thick cornbread) OR a 9" skillet (thin cornbread). Cornbread will be baked in the same skillet in which cracklings are fried.
- Place 5 slices of cold pork fat back strips in preferred sized cast iron skillet or other cookware. Cover with water.
- To decrease salt, simmer over low-medium heat for 5 minutes. Drain water before frying. To remove all salt, cover with 1 cup of water. Boil 20-25 minutes over low heat. Drain the cloudy water before frying.
- Leave meat in skillet over low-medium heat. Meat will produce a little fat (also called lard). Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.
- Fry until light golden brown on both sides (3-4 minutes each side). WARNING: Place a lid over skillet as a shield of protection from popping HOT fat.
- Turn off heat. Drain cracklings on paper towels. To protect teeth, remove hard edges (aka meat skins). Crumble soft cracklings. Set aside. Leave drippings in skillet.
- Make the cornbread (recipe below).
Homemade White Cornbread
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In medium sized bowl, combine cornmeal mix, flour, sugar (if using), eggs, and buttermilk. Stir until smooth. Small lumps okay. Set aside.
- Over medium heat, heat skillet with drippings until hot. Pour in cornbread batter. Sprinkle top with crumbled cracklings.
- Reduce oven to 375. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean and cornbread is golden brown.
- Serve hot.