Chicharrón de Cerdo (Dominican Pork Crackling) is one of our national guilty pleasures, few can resist this flavorful dish.
The words "guilty pleasure" always comes to mind when I think of Chicharrón de Cerdo (Dominican Pork Crackling).
We don't seem to have an equivalent of "guilty pleasure" in Spanish. I am sure that somebody smarter than me can write a whole treatise on the linguistic, sociological or cultural implications of this, but I'd rather write about food.
In the Dominican Republic, you can find chicharron meat being sold in practically every town, but it is Villa Mella, a village founded by early Dominicans of African origin--and also famous for its syncretic music--that is known as the capital of chicharrones.
This isn't surprising, pigs were common in poor households, where they would be fed scraps, and nearly every part of the animal would be put to use once sacrificed.
Recipes with chicharrones
We not only eat chicharrones as its own dish, we also use it to make other dishes. Here are some traditional dominican recipes, and/or inspired by our cuisine using chicharrones.
About our recipe
While I can't promise you that this Chicharrones de Puerco recipe will result in chicharrones of Villa Mella quality, it is easy to follow, and you'll love the results. Time to engage in some guilty pleasure.
And if your family has a secret touch to your chicharrones, please do share.
Chicharrón de Cerdo Recipe (Dominican Pork Crackling)
- 2 lb [0.9 kg] of pork belly
- ½ gallon of water [2 liters]
- 1½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 1 teaspoon of cracked pepper
- ¼ cup of bitter orange juice (or lime juice)
- 1 cup of oil for frying (canola, corn or peanut)
- 6 Lime wedges to garnish
- Season: In a thick-bottomed pot mix pork belly, water, salt, oregano, pepper, and bitter orange juice.
- Boil: Cook uncovered over medium heat until all the liquid has evaporated (there will be some fat from the pork).
- Fry: Switch the meat to another dutch oven (leaving seasonings behind), add oil and fry covered (to avoid splatters, see note) until it has turned a dark golden brown and skin is crispy. Remove it from the heat and place it on a paper towel, let it cool down to room temperature.
- Serve: Cut into small cubes (2 inches [5 cm]). Serve with tostones, garnish with lime wedges.