When it comes to snacking, nothing quite satisfies the craving for a crunchy, crispy and airy snack quite like pork rinds. Late-night movies, Super Bowl parties, and road trips have been relying on pork rinds for instant satisfaction for decades.
Over the years, companies have been releasing pork rinds in various flavors with unique features. Pork rinds have been the picture of junk food for years, but that’s all about to change. Whether you follow a high protein, keto, low carb, grass-fed, free-range, or organic diet, the uprise of this snack has made sure that no one misses out.
However, with so many options to choose from, deciding which brand, flavor, or style of pork rind to eat can be surprisingly overwhelming. Fortunately, we are going to thoroughly discuss the top ten most sought after pork rinds and what makes them stand out. The next time that late night craving hits, you will be greeted with new flavors, textures, and a new favorite snack.
Before reviewing each of these pork rinds, and we’re going to take you through a buying guide to make sure you will get the right one. (But in case you are familiar with the pork rinds, just move to the next section using the “Table of contents” below)
What is Pork Rind?
When looking to buy pork rinds, it is really important to know exactly what you are looking for. Many products out there are called pork rinds while others are called pork skins, cracklings or chicharrones. It’s important to know that all terms are correct.
A pork rind, pork skin, chicharrones, or crackling is simply a culinary term for the fried skin of a pig. While many pork rinds have the fat rendered off during the cooking process, others are fried in the fat or other oils to create an airy and crispy treat.
When it comes to the types of pork rind, there isn’t much to choose from. Most pork rinds are airy and crispy with a little bit of salt and maybe some seasoning. However, there are companies that make thicker pork rinds and some that simply make pork rind breadcrumbs. What you choose is entirely a personal preference, as the only real difference is flavor and texture.
The Most Popular Brands
One way to choose a pork rind is to look at popular brands and what customers have been buying for years. Some of the leading manufacturers in the pork rind industry have been around since the early 1900s and are still going strong today. A few of these brands are Utz, Macs, Turkey Creek, and Carolina Country Snacks. However, some of the new brands are really paving the way for healthier and more unique pork rinds. These brands are EPIC, Field Trip, Pork King Good, and Southern Recipe Small Batch.
Things to Look for When Buying
When buying pork rinds, there are a few things you can look for that will help with your overall decision. You should always start with flavor. Do you like things spicy or sweet? If you prefer things sweet, you might want to try dill rather than the habanero.
Do you like classic or unique flavors? Many old and new pork rind brands are making the classic flavors as well as the unique ones so that you can have both. Either way, these choices will narrow your results down quickly to ensure that you get a snack that is right for you.
The Style of Pork Rind
Next, the best thing to look for is the style of pork rind. Do you like them crispy and airy, or thick and crunchy? Many producers create both, but some specialize in one or the other. The texture is an incredibly important aspect of snacking. If the pork rind is too hard for you to eat, then it won’t be a pleasant experience.
People are becoming more and more conscious of how their food is produced. Whether it’s pork or tomatoes, people want to know that their food was produced using the least amount of antibiotics and hormones possible. They also want to know that their food was produced using humane farm practices. Many companies are taking these aspects seriously and it reflects in their products. If farming practices are important to you, you can rest assured knowing you can still have this delicious snack without any of the guilt.
The Cooking Process
This might seem like a silly thing to look at when picking a snack, but it is important to many people, especially those with health issues or watching their weight. If the reason you love pork rinds is because they are a great snack for your diet, it might be important to know how that snack was produced. Do you want your pork rinds fried in their own fat, or in a plant-based oil?
When looking for any snack, it is almost a no brainer to check the ingredients, especially if you are on a special diet. Whether you are avoiding salt, dairy, gluten, sugar, or carbs, it is important to look at what is in your food. If you want to avoid meat raised with hormones, preservatives, artificial flavors, and colors or any type of fillers, the ingredients are a great place to start. Additionally, if you are looking for a product that is high in protein or packed with healthy facts, the ingredients will be able to tell you a lot about what you are getting, not just what you are trying to avoid or cut down on.
10 Best Pork Rinds, Reviewed
Utz Pork Rinds, Original Flavor | Best Pork Rinds for Keto or Low carb diet
Utz Pork Rinds might just be the most recognizable brand of pork rinds on the market, and for a good reason too. Since 1912 Utz has been making high-quality snacks in Hanover, PA, but it’s their pork rinds that really took over the world. These pork rinds come in a massive resealable container that keeps them fresh for a longer period of time compared to a standard chip bag.
These pork rinds contain zero carbs and 8 grams of protein, making them the go-to snack for those following a Keto or low carb diet. Additionally, they are trans-fat free and contain the perfect amount of salt. This makes it the ideal snack for those who might have sensitivities to salt or are just trying to be conscious of their sodium intake.
What makes these Utz pork rinds stand out from the rest is the airiness of the rind. They just might be the lightest and crispiest pork rinds on the market. One of the benefits to this is that they don’t just make a great snack, they can be used to replace croutons on salads, breadcrumbs on meat, and other crunchy toppings that might be getting boring.
Get the look: Utz Pork Rinds, Original Flavor
Pork King Good, White Cheddar
When it comes to unique flavors and an all-around unique brand, Pork King Good is leading the way. This company was founded by people who were looking to create a crunchy and flavor-packed snack that wouldn’t cause unnecessary weight gain without skimping on the protein.
Pork King Good decided to tackle the snacking industry one pork rind at a time by making things simple and exciting. The white cheddar pork rind might just be the most exciting flavor available. There aren’t many people who can say no to cheese, especially when it’s made into a crispy, crunchy snack! Using simple ingredients such as pork, cheddar cheese, whey, and natural flavors, you really can’t ask for a healthier yet delicious snack.
At 9 grams of protein and 90 calories, you really can’t go wrong with these rinds if you’re trying to drop some pounds or maintain a certain weight. Additionally, the pork rinds contain 0 grams of sugar and 0 grams of carbs. What makes these pork rinds stand out aside from the unique flavor is how they pack that flavor in. The pork rinds are fried in their own rendered fat before the seasoning blends are added to them. This just adds another layer of flavor you might not find in other brands.
Get the look: Pork King Good, White Cheddar
Field Trip Crispy Cuts, Parmesan Peppercorn
If hiking, camping, and road trips sound like your idea of a good time, the Field Trip Crispy Cuts pork rinds are right up your alley. Field Trip makes snacks for the adventurer in you. Whether you need a snack to cram into your backpack, glovebox, or camping stash, they’ve got you covered. These pork rinds come in various flavors, but the most sought after is their unique spice blend of parmesan and peppercorns. The forward-thinking attitude that created these unique flavors combined with one of the most classic snacks in our time is exactly what got them into our top three.
These pork rinds are high in protein, gluten-free, and lower in sodium and sugar than other pork rinds on the market. Additionally, there are no added preservatives, artificial flavors, MSG, or other ingredients that might normally turn you away from the snack. When it comes to clean eating, the Field Trip Crispy Cuts can’t be beaten. With ingredients such as fried pork skins, parmesan cheese, black peppercorns, garlic, and spices, it would be tough to make a healthier snack at home that tastes just as good. At 80 calories, 7 grams of protein, and 6 grams of fat packed into a delicious compact package, they are the perfect snack to keep your energy levels up on the trail or on the road.
Mac’s Salt and Vinegar Pork Rinds
Mac’s Pork rinds have probably made it into your car or your home one way or another. Even if you have never taken them home, chances are you have walked by them once or twice in the gas station. Macs has been one of the leading producers of pork rinds since 1932 and they show no sign of slowing down any time soon. These pork rinds are a classic and take a no-frills approach to creating this delicious snack. However, their most popular flavor is the classic combination of salt and vinegar.
Mac’s Pork rinds are made out of the skins from the belly and back of the pig which contain the most amount of flavor and have a ton of great fat to render out. The company uses a unique processing method to render the fat that leaves the pork rinds crispy and golden.
Even though these are a classic, they still meet all the requirements for modern day snackers. These pork rinds are Keto, Atkins, and paleo diet friendly. They contain no carbs, no gluten, and no trans fat. This makes them a pretty good addition to your snack cabinet, whether you are dieting or not.
Get the look: Mac’s Salt and Vinegar Pork Rinds
Southern Recipe Small Batch Pork Rinds, Blackberry Habanero
Spice lovers rejoice, Southern recipe has released one of the most unique spicy flavors of pork rinds to ever hit the market. For years, lovers of spice and pork rinds have been stuck with eating the same red pepper flavor of pork rinds. While there is nothing wrong with that classic flavor, sometimes you need to spice things up a bit with something new, exciting, and with a little extra heat. Fortunately, Southern Recipe has taken the spice level up quite a few notches with the addition of the habanero pepper.
This recipe of pork rinds was inspired entirely by the South. The crispy and savory pork rinds combined with habanero chiles and blackberry jelly couldn’t capture the essence of Southern cuisine perfectly, and it doesn’t stop there. These pork rinds are small batch, which means each bag was crafted in smaller batches to ensure the flavors and textures come out perfectly.
Additionally, they even honor the South with their selection of ingredients and cooking methods. This company makes these pork rinds with the highest quality ingredients and cooks their rinds in 100% sunflower oil to get the crunchiest texture possible. These pork rinds are gluten-free, high in protein, and contain less than one gram of carbohydrates per serving. While these snacks do meet the requirements for a Keto or Atkins diet, you would never be able to know the difference because of the substantial amount of flavor in each bite.
Get the look: Southern Recipe Small Batch Pork Rinds
Turkey Creek, Dill Flavor
If classic is what you’re after, nobody embodies the flavors and textures of the pork rind better than Turkey Creek. Turkey Creek is another manufacturer of pork rinds that have been a fan favorite since the beginning. This brand checks all the boxes when it comes to the right amount of salt and airiness that you expect from a pork rind. While they dominate the game with their classic option, the dill flavor is their best seller.
Dill is a flavor that has been seen in potato chips for years, While it’s a great flavor, it rarely tends to leave the potato chip section of the snacking aisle. This is where Turkey Creek really showed us their snack making skills. They took a classic snack, and a classic flavor that for some reason have never been combined, and they created a match made in heaven. Whether you love pork rinds or love dill flavored snacks, you can’t go wrong with this option!
Get the look: Turkey Creek, Dill Flavor
Carolina Country Snacks, Red Pepper
The next pork rind is made by a company called Carolina Country Snacks, based out of North Carolina. What makes this pork rind so unique is that it’s thick and crunchy, rather than light and puffy. However, some have complained that these might be too hard for some to eat. They cook their pork skins fresh every single day and use the best cuts of skin to make the most flavorful snack possible. One of the reasons this pork rind became so popular is because it contains less than 1g of carbohydrates per saving. This makes it a fantastic snack option for those following the Atkins diet. Additionally, these pork rinds contain 18g of protein per ounce!
This particular flavor is red pepper, which is a fan favorite and all around classic flavor. Red pepper pork rinds have been around since the beginning. They were the start of all of the unique flavors we see today. The red pepper is just enough spice for those looking to turn up the heat a bit, but it isn’t enough to leave you sweating. The combination of a soft heat with a thick crunchy pork skin truly is hard to beat. It is sure to satisfy your cravings when you are watching your carb intake.
Get the look: Carolina Country Snacks, Red Pepper
EPIC, Chili Lime
EPIC has been changing the snacking game for a while now. They focus on taking iconic snack foods and making them taste better, also overall better for your health. This particular snack is no exception. The EPIC chili lime are a unique twist on an American favorite that pork rind fans can’t say no to. These pork rinds are made with premium ingredients such as pork skins, spices, and Chile peppers. Everything you want, and nothing you don’t.
One of the unique aspects of this particular brand is that they use the entire animal rather than just the back or belly to ensure nothing goes to waste. This is also to avoid using pork raised on antibiotics. However, this doesn’t appear to affect the overall flavor at all. These pork rinds are packed with flavor through the use of intense but simple seasonings combined with unique processing techniques. Rather than frying the pork rinds in their own fat, EPIC takes a new approach that creates a pork rind with 40% less fat than the competitors. This process means you end up with a satisfying and tasty pork rind that is just a little bit healthier for you.
Get the look: EPIC, Chili Lime
Southern Recipe Small Batch, Kimchi BBQ
Here we have another fantastic flavor by Southern Recipe Small Batch. BBQ is a common flavor among pork rinds and it’s really no surprise. Nothing could be a better snack than a crispy crunchy pork rind that reminds you of a family BBQ!
However, this one is different. Southern Recipe loves to take classic flavors and turn them up a notch. This style of BBQ contains flavors that are reminiscent of Kimchi – a salty and fermented vegetable that is popular in Korean cuisine.
Cooked in small batches, in sunflower oil and using Southern cooking techniques, these pork rinds come out crispy, airy, and packed full of flavor. At 70 calories, 8g of protein, 4.5g of fat per serving, these are truly one of the most guilt-free snacking options you can have that doesn’t skip out on flavor.
Get the look: Southern Recipe Small Batch, Kimchi BBQ
4505 Meats, Jalapeno Cheddar
Last but not least, we have pork rinds from 4505 Meats. This company specializes in natural all meat snacks that are as delicious as they are nutritious. This particular flavor is Jalapeño cheddar, a combination of two of the most sought after flavors – cheese and spice. The spice in these pork rinds is just enough to heat things up but is immediately soothed by the addition of cheddar. This flavor has been described as a bacon cheese puff.
What makes these pork rinds so unique is that they were designed and are cooked by Chef and Butcher, Ryan Farr. Ryan Farr is an expert on meat and an expert on cooking. He has combined his skills, passion, and knowledge to put his twist on one of Americas most classic snacks.
These pork rinds are made from the back and belly of humanely and sustainably raised pigs. Additionally, all of the fat is removed before the skins are fried. This process creates an airy and light consistency that will melt in your mouth.
Get the look: 4505 Meats, Jalapeno Cheddar
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Pork rinds are a fantastic snacking option for many people in many aspects of life. Whether you are hosting super bowl Sunday with your friends, heading out on a weekend adventure, or are just trying to eat a bit healthier to watch your weight, pork rinds make a great snack.
Additionally, if you have never tried pork rinds before, there are so many familiar flavors that can help ease you into the world of pork rinds. With so many unique flavors created by professional chefs, farmers, butchers, and culinary experts, there has never been a better time to test out this classic snack. We hope that this article shed some light on the many pork rind options available and how to choose the option that is best for you.