Why Natural Pork Rinds are Some Nutritionist's New Favorite
Believe it or not, natural pork rinds have a myriad of better-for-you ingredients.
By MEGHAN RABBIT
You might call it a pigskin paradox: For years, the health world vilified animal skin, claiming it was unhealthy. But these days, a growing number of health-conscious people are turning to deep-fried pork skin as a high-protein, zero-carb, good-for-you snack. And with 80 calories and 5 to 6 grams of fat per serving, many nutrition experts are claiming natural pork rinds (a.k.a. chicharrones and cracklins) are a way better way to satiate your salty, savory, crunchy cravings than other snacks, like potato chips.
So, what makes 4505 Meats chicharrones a favorite among fans and nutritionists alike? It’s all about the high-quality ingredients, says Ryan Farr, founder of 4505 Meats. “Unlike so many other meat products and snack foods on store shelves, our chicharrones and cracklins—made from the pig’s shoulder skin, which makes them crunchier, richer, and denser pork rind—are minimally processed,” says Farr. “The ingredients are really clean.”
This is especially good news for those following a low-carb, high-protein lifestyle who are focused on filling their diets with foods made from ingredients you’d find in a kitchen—not a food lab.
Here’s what you’ll find in 4505 Meats natural pork rinds and cracklins:
This is the culinary term for the skin of a pig, which can be rendered (melted in order to separate out the impurities), fried in fat or roasted. The 4505 Meats pork rinds are fried in their own rendered fat, have 7 or more grams of protein per serving—or 18 grams if you eat the entire one-ounce bag!—and contain 0 grams of carbohydrates.
Coconut Palm Sugar
While you will see a small amount of sugar in the ingredients list, it comes from coconut palm sugar—which is less refined than conventional sugar and actually contains small amounts of minerals, antioxidants and fiber. “Keep in mind that with less than 1 gram of sugar per serving, the amount of sugar is so small in our recipes that it actually registers as zero on the nutrition label,” says Farr.
Salt & Spices
Good news for those following a gluten-free diet: All of the spices and flavorings used in 4505 Meats chicharrones and cracklins are all-natural and free from gluten. You’ll find chicharrones in three flavors: Classic Chili and Salt, Smokehouse BBQ and Jalapeño Cheddar. The Classic flavor is seasoned with a blend of three different peppers, salt and a touch of sugar. The BBQ is seasoned with the same spice rub that Chef Farr puts on his pork ribs at his restaurant, 4505 Burgers & BBQ. And the Jalapeño Cheddar gives you a spicy jalapeño kick. The cracklins come in two flavors: Sea Salt (flavored simply with high-quality sea salt) and Green Chili and Lime (seasoned with hatch green chilis and a touch of lime oil for tang).
Rendered Pork Fat
This is essentially another way of saying lard. Yet before you write this ingredient off as unhealthy, get this: Lard is actually rich in the same monounsaturated fats as olive oil and avocados, and its mild flavor makes it great for frying (which is what 4505 Meats uses to fry its chicharrones and cracklins), sautéing and baking.