Pork rind frying; from pigskin waste to tasty pellet snack

Born during challenging times such as the Industrial Revolution and rooted in the “Waste not, Want not” philosophy, pork rinds are a great example of converting waste materials into useful ones. Made from pigskin leftovers, these pellet snacks are a true specialty, particularly in the north of Europe.

So what does it take to produce a pork rind snack? To find out we set up an interview with Valeria Lucinschi from Kuipers Food Processing Machinery, an expert company in industrial frying systems.

How is frying pork rinds different from frying other snacks?

Pork rind frying is considered an easy process because this pellet snack absorbs a lot of oil, meaning that the frying oil is always replenished within the fryer. In general, most pellet snacks absorb over 20% of oil, while other products like nuts absorb only around 2%. The overall process of maintaining oil quality is therefore less challenging in this case.

Frying is essentially taking the moisture out of a product. Since pellet snacks have a relatively low percentage of moisture, the frying process can be quite short. Some of them are even fried for just a few seconds (flash-frying) – this is not the case with pork rinds, however. This special product is usually fried at a higher temperature and for much longer than traditional pellets.

How can a manufacturer guarantee the uniformity of each pellet as they come out of the fryer?

It’s essential that the time inside the deep-fryer, called retention time, is the same for each pellet. When the pellet expands to form our crunchy snack, it also starts floating. A good transportation system inside the fryer is necessary to ensure each pellet is evenly fried and expanded while carrying it along towards the defatting stage.

Another critical factor is ensuring the fryer and the transportation system are designed according to the dimensions and properties of the products to be processed. Unlike other fried snacks, pellets can vary significantly in size.

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