Cracklings must be one of the most popular bar snacks in the U.S., especially in the South. Cracklings may not be any worse than eating a bag of potato chips or a serving of French fries but it certainly is not a “healthy” snack. It is, after all, pork rinds (skin) deep fried (in lard) and heavily salted. It appears cracklings are catching on in Japan as well. “クラックリング”. There is a corresponding Japanese word phonetically translated from English. When I made yakitori recently, I removed the skin from 6 thighs. I did not think there was enough space in the toaster oven to grill the skin. I decided to make chicken “crackling” instead. It was quite crunchy and probably not as bad as genuine deep fried pork cracklings but very good.
I first boiled the skin in water with a dash of sake. I skimmed off any oil or scum that came to the surface as it boiled. I cooked it for 10 minutes trying to render as much of the fat as possible. I then washed the skins in cold running water and patted dry between paper towels. I then put the skin in a dry non-stick frying pan on medium-low flame (shown below).
Only a small amount of fat came out but I blotted it with a paper towel and cooked both sides until they were brown and crispy (10 minutes total). I salted it and served it with a wedge of lemon. We really like this preparation. We ate it with our fingers breaking it into small bite sized pieces and really enjoyed it. Hopefully the pre-boiling significantly reduced the amount of fat.
In addition to the chicken cracklings we had squid “okizuke” 沖漬け which was store bought, came frozen in a small plastic pouch. This is not as salty or “gamy” as fermented squid and guts or “shiokara” 塩辛 or 酒盗.
With this type of small snacks, the only libation we could have was cold sake.