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What To Know Before Making Pork Rinds In An Air Fryer

Pork rinds
Pork rinds - Juanmonino/Getty Images

Air fryers are one of the more capable appliances sitting on your kitchen counter. From making light and fluffy donuts to perfecting air-fried cucumbers, these handy machines magically cook food to a crispy, fried texture simply by circulating hot air. Savory snacks that were once the exclusive dominion of the air fryer — like chicken tenders and French fries — can now be readily cooked on your kitchen counter. If you love the crunch of traditional deep-fried morsels, you need to try making pork rinds in an air fryer.

Pork rinds are made from pig skin and are typically cooked in oil or fat to form a deliciously crisp piece of puffed-up protein. When used correctly, an air fryer will whip up a batch of pork rinds every bit as crunchy as the fried variety you've come to know and love. To pull off the deep-fried texture, you need to make sure the rinds are spaced evenly and completely dry before exposing them to the high heat of your air fryer.

Read more: 11 Of The Best Cooking Tips From Bobby Flay

Preparing Pork Rinds For The Air Fryer

Air fryer in kitchen
Air fryer in kitchen - Hazal Ak/Shutterstock

Before they make their sizzling entry into the basket of a hot air fryer, pork rinds must be prepped correctly. To start, the rinds must be cut to size and dried. Slice the rind into snack-sized strips and then dehydrate the pieces of skin. For a quicker process, you can use a dehydrator; otherwise, place them uncovered in the refrigerator overnight. Dehydrating will drain the oily moisture from the skin, which could later prevent the skin from puffing up while cooking. If you have extra time, boiling is the key to light and crispy pork rinds. While not strictly necessary, boiling before dehydration will soften the skin and prevent the final snack from being too hard and dry.

When the pieces are completely dry, you can place them in the air fryer. Note that each piece of rind will roughly double in size while cooking, so space them out in the basket. For efficient and even cooking, make sure that you only load one layer of rinds at a time. Overloading the basket will result in undercooked rinds that are mushy and chewy instead of puffed up and crispy.

To achieve the classic deep-fried crunch and feel of a pork rind in the air fryer, it's also essential that you set the device to a high temperature. The specific cooking temp will vary across different air fryer models, but generally, you'll want to cook them around 400 degrees Fahrenheit and check on them after 10 minutes.

Add Some Additional Flavor

Pork rinds up close
Pork rinds up close - DronG/Shutterstock

Convection cooking will create the right pork rind texture, but you'll need to toss the rinds in some seasoning to really make them stand out. If you'd like to lean into the pork taste, try adding bacon salt, a seasoning that packs the sweet and smoky taste of the savory meat. Or, stir together onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper to form a classic French fry seasoning that tastes every bit as good on a crunchy pork rind. As soon as the rinds are finished cooking, add them to a bowl, sprinkle the desired seasoning over the top, and toss to evenly coat.

Beyond seasoning, you can also prepare a variety of dips perfect for these crunchy snacks. For a sweet option, try using a classic honey mustard sauce. This combination of mustard and honey is thickened with mayonnaise and offers a sweet, creamy consistency that will stick to the rough exterior of the pork rinds. For something a bit more tangy, try making a fry sauce that uses a dash of vinegar, like apple cider or balsamic. Vinegar will add a zesty kick to the sauce and act as a nice complement to the rich and savory pork rinds.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.