Since we know the culinary history of any culture is based on ingredients locally available. Pork is a Southern favorite being easy to raise on a small family farm and able to sustain many families throughout the year.
Throughout late fall and early winter, pork chops and roasts were prepared and eaten fresh. Ham, sausage and bacon were cured for use throughout the winter and lard rendered for baking and frying. These occasions became greatly anticipated yearly social events where family and friends came together to help their neighbors.
Cracklins (the Southern version of cracklins) are by-products of rendering pork fat for lard. As the fat and skin of a hog are heated, lard is rendered and crisp, tasty little pieces of pork skin and fat remain in the hot lard – known as cracklins. They were eaten as snacks and often simply thrown into a basic cornbread batter. Cracklin Cornbread has a subtle meaty flavor and interesting texture accentuated by the crisp and chewy little morsels.
Cracklins are available at a variety of grocery stores or you can make your own lard and create some of your own. The best substitution if original cracklins aren’t available is bacon cooked crisp and crumbled into pieces.
Wonderful cracklin cornbread may be made by adding cracklins to your favorite cornbread recipe – I use the one on the Martha White® Self-Rising White Enriched Corn Meal Mix bag. Why not add cracklins to biscuits? Here is a recipe for Cajun Cracklin Biscuits cooked in a cast iron skillet. Delicious!