If there is one question we get asked more than others from people new to the carnivore diet is about good animal-based snacks to eat. While veteran carnivores don’t tend to recommend snacking between meals, snacking can often be a hard habit to break for new carnivores, especially if they have been doing it for decades before going Zero Carb.
The general advice about snacking on Zero Carb is to eat enough at each meal to prevent you from feeling hungry between meals. However, it may not be hunger that is driving your desire to snack but rather the habit of being used to eating every couple of hours, which is a hard thing to break.
After a while of eating ZC, you will tend to find your desire to snack will gradually diminish, especially once you become completely fat-adapted. Not spending time and money consuming snacks is also easy on your purse or wallet.
The money you save on buying snacks can be put towards more fun things, such as spending money for a holiday, going to see the latest blockbuster film at the cinema, a pamper session at your local spa, or even an upgrade from eating sirloin steak to ribeye now and then!
But who doesn’t like enjoying tasty snacks while socialising with friends and family? Even the most dedicated carnivore can enjoy some healthy animal-based snacks now and then. We always tell new carnivores not to let trying to be perfect get in the way of being good.
If there is one thing that most carnivores miss from their old way of eating is that ‘crunch factor’ that is so satisfying, yet severely lacking from a carnivore diet based around mainly meat and eggs. Scratchings are a great way to get ‘something crunchy’ while remaining animal-based.
Pork scratching and pork crunch are perfectly acceptable animal-based snacks that are delicious and highly versatile on a carnivore diet. You can also make your own scratchings at home if you can access pig skins from your local butcher.
But many people new to carnivore may not want to make their own and can be easily confused about choosing the right type of scratchings to buy. You can be overwhelmed browsing the net for a good source, especially when you can purchase traditional scratching or pork crunch, which is slightly different to scratchings.
Many people also don’t know the difference between traditional pork scratchings and pork crunch alternatives they see on sale. Which is better? Can I eat both? How are they cooked? What about added flavourings? There are so many questions to answer here, so let’s look closer.
What is the difference between pork scratchings and pork crunch?
The main difference between pork scratchings and pork crunch is the way they are cooked. Pork scratchings are cooked once, while pork crunch is cooked twice. This results in pork scratchings being harder and crunchier than pork crunch.
Pork scratchings are typically made from the skin of the pig’s shank, which is the top of the pig’s hind leg. The skin is first scored and then fried until it becomes crispy. Pork crunch, on the other hand, is made from the skin of the pig’s back. The skin is first scored and then fried until it becomes light and fluffy.
Both pork scratchings and pork crunch are popular snacks in the United Kingdom. Pork scratchings are often served with a pint of beer, while pork crunch is often served with a cup of tea. However, while beer is off the menu for carnivore diet followers, eating these crunchy snacks while socialising with family or friends can help keep them on track and not give in to the temptation of eating unhealthy sweet and sugary snacks.
How do I make pork scratchings and pork crunch?
Pork scratchings are cooked in their own fat. Get talking to your local butcher to see if they already sell or can supply you with fresh pork skins to make scratchings at home.
To make scratchings, cut the pork skin into bite-size pieces. This will allow the fat to render out from under the skin; then, the skin can be roasted in a hot oven until it becomes crispy and crunchy. However, making your own scratchings can be a process of trial and error, as many people find the resulting scratchings come out too hard to eat easily.
A word of warning – many people have chipped or broken a tooth from eating rock-hard scratchings, so try not to overcook the skins! The fat that is rendered out during cooking can be used to cook other dishes or eaten on its own.
You can also try frying pig skins in lard until crispy. This is how most commercial pork scratchings are made. However, many manufacturers use industrial seed oils for cooking scratchings, so it makes sense to make your own to avoid consuming toxic oils and added seasonings that are not ZC-friendly or healthy.
Pork crunch is made by frying pig skin twice. The first cook is a slow cook, and the second is a hotter flash fry. This results in a lighter, fluffier snack full of flavour and much easier on your teeth!
Here are the steps on how to cook pork crunch:
- Prepare the pork skin by cutting it into thin strips.
- Heat some pork lard in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the pork skin strips and cook until they are golden brown.
- Drain the pork skin strips on paper towels.
- Heat up the pork lard in the pan over high heat.
- Add the pork skin strips back to the hot fat and cook for a few seconds until they are crispy and crunchy.
- Drain the pork skins on paper towels.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot or cold.
Making and using pork panko
Pork panko is a type of breadcrumb made from pork crunch. It is a low-carb, high-protein alternative that carnivores can substitute in recipes that use traditional breadcrumbs.
Pork panko can be used in various carnivore dishes, such as crunchy breading for chicken nuggets, carnivore fishcakes, a coating for scotch eggs, chaffles and pancakes, or used in place of breadcrumbs in recipes such as meatloaf, meatballs and stuffing.
Pork panko is made by grinding pork crunch into a fine powder. This powder can then be mixed with salt and other seasonings such as dried herbs and spices – if you tolerate them well.
It is helpful to note that attempting to grind up traditional pork scratchings in a blender or food processor to make pork panko isn’t very effective because you are often left with a sticky paste rather than a dry powder due to the fat content of the scratchings. Trust me on this one – I tried it and failed miserably!
What to look for when buying pork scratchings and pork crunch
It can be challenging to source clean pork scratchings and pork crunch in the UK. Many manufacturers will use industrial seed oils in the preparation. Hence, you need to carefully read the ingredients list and steer clear of any brands that cook the skins in vegetable or seed oils.
Checking what flavourings they add is also important, as many manufacturers add MSG, sugar, flour, preservatives and other undesirable things to make them long-term shelf-stable and appealing to the general public.
Depending on how careful you need to be with added ingredients, you may be fine eating pork scratchings and pork crunch with minimal added seasonings such as salt and pepper. However, searching for unflavoured varieties cooked in their own fat is better.
For those of us living in the UK, you can try the following recommendations, but be careful to look at the ingredients on these products before deciding to buy:
Uncle Alberts Barnsley Pig Pork Crunch. Light, crispy and very tasty!
Skibbereen Salted Flavoured Pork Crunch: Puffed-up crispy pork rinds are softer than scratchings & a great snack alternative to crisps for lovers of meaty tastes. Cooked in its own fat and juices with no added oils, our pork puffs are as pure as can be.
1kg Black Country Pork Scratchings: These do have seasonings containing Salt, Flavour Enhancers (E621, E635), rusk (Contains: Wheat Flour, Salt), and Hydrolysed Soya Protein.
These are not perfect for a carnivore diet, but a good choice to share with non-ZC friends and family members – better than sugary snacks and potato crisps fried in seed oil!
You can check eBay for a non-seasoned version, which would be better for those avoiding added flavourings.
Scratch My Pork Bulk Pork Crackling – Lightly Salted Gluten Free Pork Scratchings – 100% Pork Rinds: Our Crispy Pork Crackling are slow cooked & lightly seasoned with natural salt, contains No MSG. 100% Pork Rind, packed in a foil bag to lock in the freshness and flavour. Cooked in its own fat and juices, absorbing all the flavour and guaranteeing no other ingredients are added in the process.
BULK BAG: Tired of pork crackling in a tiny bag? Us too. We present our Pork Crackling Bulk Bag for a proper session.
Scratch My Pork Bulk Pork Scratchings – The Real Salted Pork Scratching – 100% Pork Rinds:
Our Crispy Pork Scratching are slow cooked & lightly seasoned with natural salt. 100% Pork Rind, packed in a foil bag to lock in the freshness and flavour.
Cooked in its own fat and juices, absorbing all the flavour and giving these scratching a delicious crunch!
Talking about snacks on the carnivore diet, if you are looking for healthy animal-based snack options to eat on the go, then my post about Zero Carb Breakfast Ideas will make a good read.
There are plenty of quick, easy and tasty breakfast and snack ideas there, which are ideal to prepare the day before and packed up in the fridge, ready to grab on your way out of the house. Keeping a few bags of pork scratchings or pork crunch in the cupboard is another easy option for a grab-and-go snack to keep you full.
You may also be interested in:
Everything You Need to Get Started on a Carnivore Diet
If you are looking to get started on the carnivore diet, my eBook solves the problem of knowing how to prepare yourself and organise your kitchen for starting a carnivore diet. Many people considering switching to a carnivore diet to improve their health need help to figure out where to start.
This eBook goes through the essential kitchen tools and cooking equipment you need to quickly and safely prepare, cook and store meat. You may already have much of the equipment you need to start this way of eating.
Moving to a carnivore diet is also very freeing and can save you a lot of time in the kitchen. It will also enable you to have a good declutter of your kitchen and free up plenty of cupboard and drawer space because you will no longer need things like, juicers, vegetable peelers, salad spinners, rice makers, spaghetti strainers etc. You can sell all these things on eBay or donate them to a local charity shop.
My eBook contains plenty of valuable information you can use to make a successful move to the carnivore diet to make meat preparation, cooking and storage safe and effective. It is also very affordable, and the few pennies I earn from the sale will go toward covering the costs of providing this website.
You can buy my eBook through Amazon Kindle or via Smashwords, where you can use the code GM43Y at checkout for 10% off (Offer good through May 04, 2024). Or you can buy it through the retailers distributing Via Smashwords (Apple, B&N, OverDrive, Scribd, Kobo, Gardners and more).
2 Replies to “Pork Scratchings Vs Pork Crunch on The Carnivore Diet”