Homemade Pressed Pork Cracklings – Chicharrón prensado casero

Click here to go to printable recipe:  Homemade Pressed Pork Cracklings

The last, but certainly not least, of the four kinds of Mexican chicharrón that I am reviewing is chicharrón prensado.  This type of chicharrones is made from the bits left behind after frying large batches of pork meat and rinds (such as carnitas or chicharrón).  The leftover bits are collected from the bottom of the pot, and pressed into perforated moulds, to compact the bits of meat, fat and skin into a block, and squeeze some of the melted fat out.   Chicharrón prensado is then used directly, or prepared in sauce, as a filling for corn dough snacks such as gorditas and quesadillas.  

In Mexico and some parts of the USA, it is possible to buy chicharrón prensado, but here in Canada, I have never seen it.  To make a batch of chicharrón prensado at home, chopped fatty pork meat with skin is cooked directly to be pressed, as opposed to going through the theatre of frying large pieces of meat just to get it as a by-product.  Commercially, there is dedicated equipment to press the bits, but at home, a somewhat primitive press may be made with plastic containers or milk cartons, perforated to drain the fat, and then making a tight-fitting lid to act as a plunger.  

Homemade Pressed Pork Cracklings –

Chicharrón prensado casero

Printable recipe:  Homemade Pressed Pork Cracklings

Ingredients (for about 3 cups)

2 lb (910g) pork shoulder
½ lb (250g) pork belly; remove any bristles in the skin with the tip of a knife
1 cup water
1 tsp salt, or to taste

Materials:

One or two plastic or lined-carton containers with straight walls
Extra material for fitted lids
A rack on a tray
Parchment paper or paper towels, to line the tray
Heavy objects that fit on top, such as filled bottles, clean rocks, etc.

I had square-base milk cartons and also a round-base carton from raisins; only one container is necessary, but using two makes the pressing easier.  I cut off the top of a milk carton, so it would be wide open; I was lucky to find a plastic lid from a jar, that fitted tightly in the raisin container.  I also gathered bottles of olive oil and vinegar to use as weights:

Using the tip of a knife or scissors, poke holes through the bottom surfaces of the containers (photo below, left).  With extra carton material, make tight-fitting lids for the containers.  Line tray with paper towels or parchment, place the rack, and arrange containers on top (photo below, right): 

Reserve.

For the pork meat, I had a piece of belly (skin cleaned), and a large piece of shoulder:

Slice the meat into small pieces, about 0.4 of an inch (1 cm) long:

Arrange chopped meat in a wide pan.  Dissolve the salt in the water, then add to the pan.  Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce to medium, and cover (photo below, left).  Cook, covered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Uncover pan, then continue cooking and stirring occasionally (photo below, right):

After 15 to 20 minutes, most of the water will evaporate, and the rendered fat from the meat will start to bubble (photo below, left).  Do not leave unattended after this point; wear oven mitts to elude burns, and be careful with oil spatters, as the fat will start to fry the bits, and residual moisture inside them might cause them to pop.  Continue frying and carefully stirring, until all the bits are golden brown (photo below, right):

Remove from heat, and using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried bits to prepared containers (photo below, left); cover with the fitted lids, pressing down as much as possible (photo below, right): 

Place heavy objects on top of the lids, and allow to cool down to room temperature (photo below, left).  At the bottom, a considerable amount of melted lard will be collected in the lined tray (photo below, right:

Once completely cooled, remove from containers:

These blocks of chicharrón prensado may be used right away, or stored in sealed containers or bags, in the fridge for about a week, or in the freezer for a few months.

As alluring as my chicharrón prensado smelled and looked, I was strong, and waited a whole day before preparing some delicious antojitos (“little cravings” – Mexican snacks.)  Stay tuned for a recipe in my next post.


I am bringing my recipe to Full Plate Thursday #590 with Miz Helen @ Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.


I am sharing my post at Thursday Favourite Things #542, with Bev @ Eclectic Red BarnPam @ An Artful MomKatherine @ Katherine’s CornerAmber @ Follow the Yellow Brick HomeTheresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.


I am joining Fiesta Friday # 434 with Angie @ Fiesta Friday.


8 thoughts on “Homemade Pressed Pork Cracklings – Chicharrón prensado casero

  1. I like your series on chicharron…very interesting. This one in particular reminds me of when a friend offered a gordita to me. I thought it was al pastor but it turned out to be chicharron. I have to say it was an unpleasant surprise, but I got the pleasure of trying something new!

    Like

    1. 😂I can imagine the shock from expecting a seasoned, soft meat al pastor flavour, and bitting into crispy chicharrón prensado instead. So happy you enjoyed the chicharrón series!

      Liked by 1 person

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