About eight years ago I tried the Atkins Diet. I lasted for almost a year, but I knew early on that I was doomed to fail (the result of all diets that can’t be be described as “eat less, exercise more”) when I failed to embrace the snack consumed by all hardcore Atkins-ites: the pork rind.
Pork rinds are low-carb and protein-rich — the perfect Atkins food, fat content be damned. They’re not nearly as popular in New England as they are in other parts of the US, which meant that a bag purchased at a supermarket was inevitably full of almost-stale rinds. And once you’ve tasted the greatest crispy pig skin ever cooked, you’re loath to lower yourself to buying bags with the word “Bubba” on them.
I tried making my own with skin left over from my homemade char siu pork, but they were an abject failure. I didn’t discover this recipe until I had resigned myself to living a rind-deprived life, mocked by more competent chefs.
A few days ago, while watching the “Bacon!” episode of Unwrapped on the Food Network, I saw a segment about Lowrey’s Microwave Pork Rinds (pictured above). From what I saw, the product behaved exactly like microwave popcorn: toss the bag in, zap it for a minute or two, open the bag (avoiding the faceful of steam), and chow down on hot, fresh pork rinds.
I tracked down a bag (OK, a few bags) and tried it for myself. Much to my surprise, it worked exactly as advertised: fresh, hot, (and very salty) pork rinds in less than two minutes.
Since they weren’t fried, the fat content was only 2 grams per serving. In fact, the nutritional information proved this snack was rather benign: only 60 calories, 1 gram of carbs, 9 grams of protein, and 350 milligrams of sodium per serving.
Fortunately, I won’t be eating more than a bag on any given day. Even though my brain knows I’ve consumed relatively little, my stomach and taste buds still tell me “Dude, you just ate a bag of pork rinds.” I’m conditioned to know that a little rind goes a long way.
Besides, now that I have a working recipe, you know I’ll return to the fryolator to snatch victory from the jowls of defeat.