I love pork. I know bacon in particular, and pork in general are pretty well played out in the foodie world but pork is good and I won’t apologize for my love of all things porcine. I was wandering around a Latin market in San Francisco on the hunt for another item and stumbled upon this jar.
To say I was excited was an understatement. I like pork, I like pickles, how could this be bad. The fact that I had a paper sack in my other hand that contained two different types of house made chicharrons should have been a pretty clear indicator that I was destined for some interesting pork. Pork, vinegar, jalpeno and oregano, what could go wrong? Sure it didn’t look very appealing:
But all the ingredients made it something I should enjoy. I was a bit worried about the texture. Crispy and pig skin go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly, so I wasn’t sure how soft was going to go over.
I cracked the jar and was bashed in the nose with a super vinegary scent. Getting in for a close whiff, that was really all I got, maybe a touch of jalapeno but that may have been wishful thinking. I stuck a fork in to fish one out of the jar and was immediately surprised at exactly how soft they were. The fork went right through with almost no resistance and it slipped right back off as soon as I tried to pull it from the jar. Though that may have had something to do with the freakishly long piece of skin I grabbed.
It is as if someone ran a pig through one of those apple peelers and dropped it into a jar. It cut apart very easily with a fork and the first bite had a very soft feel. Like the most tender calamari you have ever had. It had a slight bite to it as my teeth broke through the outside but otherwise there was not much resistance. Just like it smelled, it had an overwhelming vinegary flavor with a very mild touch of jalapeno, but not enough heat to cut through the vinegar. Sadly there was no pork taste at all which was a major disappointment. If you have ever really thought that you might like a skin pickle, then these are for you. If the very phrase “skin pickle” doesn’t take you on a journey from disgust to thinking that you have found the greatest band name ever then I don’t know what is wrong with you.
After a few more bites I tried to figure out what else I could do with it. I though maybe frying it up would help with the texture.
I was totally wrong, it didn’t get crispy at all, it wound up with a creamy texture that reminded me of bone marrow. Not that bone marrow is a bad thing mind you, just not what I expected with pig skin. If you thought skin pickle was bad, control your gag reflex while you ponder “creamy skin pickle.”
She looks much happier than I was. The raw product was actually pretty good, though I have no idea what I can use them for. Frying them was not a good plan but I think you could mince them up finely and add them to a dish but otherwise i’m out of ideas.
I won’t say you shouldn’t try them, if you like pickled things these are pretty good. They don’t have enough going on as a pork product to really give them a resounding “have to” but I won’t throw the jar away.