Pork Rinds: A Cautionary Tale

Around our house we call them “red light foods.”

You know the ones… the stuff you just can’t have in the house because you’ll snarf your way through the entire bag/box/container/bowl until every last lick/bite/crumb is gone.

A few weeks ago, I took a reader’s advice and modified my Scotch Egg recipe by rolling the meatball in crushed pork rinds. They were delicious! Crispy, rich, totally satisfying. And, I thought, totally OK with my dino-chow plan. They include a moderate amount of fat and a really decent amount of protein. Awesome, right?

The problem was the leftover pork rinds. Everytime I wandered to the kitchen – every time – I ate a few pork rinds. Until, before I realized it, I’d eaten the whole bag. And dumped the crumbs from the bottom seam of the bag down my throat.

Pretty girl!

Hmmmm, I thought to myself, I really shouldn’t buy those. I can’t control myself when they’re in the cabinet.

[pause to mourn the loss of my newly-discovered affection for pork rinds]

[begin rationalization]

I know! I thought to myself, I can measure them out into one-serving baggies and eat them one serving at a time – and not every day. I do that with Sunbutter. I’m sure it will work with pork rinds. I mean, jeez, I have a bag of Dove dark chocolates in the cabinet and I never eat those.

So the next time I went to the grocery store, I bought pork rinds, then I dutifully weighed out 1/2-ounce portions, and sealed them in individual baggies. Crisis averted.

When I went to my parents’ house for the weekend of July 4th, we made Scotch Eggs. And they bought their pork rinds in a big, plastic faux barrel. I ate almost all of them during the course of two days. Everytime I went in the kitchen, I grabbed a few until the barrel was almost empty.

Not good.

When I came back home, I remembered the pork rinds in the cabinet and promised myself I would not eat all of them at once. On the day I traveled for the corporate overlords, I ate one serving on the plane. Totally reasonable.

Then for a few days I didn’t eat any. Success!

Until this Friday night, when I ate one baggie’s worth. Then another. Then another. Until, thankfully, all of the pork rinds were out of the house.

My lesson: I haven’t evolved far enough yet to have pork rinds in the house.

If you don’t have a similar pork rind problem, you might be glad to know it’s pretty easy to make pork rinds from scratch, which eliminates the stigma of eating food that’s delivered to you in a garishly-colored plastic bag.

Unless you’re me. If you’re me, you can’t eat them. At all. ‘Cause they make you an eating machine. Like this:

In related news: Last week, a FedEx driver driving a tractor-trailer choked on spicy pork rinds, lost control of his truck, and jackknifed it before coming to a stop in a muddy ditch. I guess that dude shouldn’t eat pork rinds either.

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  • jencereghino says:

    I LOVE this post…so true!!! This is how I feel about dried mangoes…I have absolutely no self-control, so I just don't buy them anymore. But, the other day I was in Whole Foods and they looked so good, so…I bought a big handful. I put them in the back seat and proceeded to drive home. Unfortunately, I hit a red light…and, they were in reach. Ughhh!!! I ate all of them, before I even got home (10 miles…maybe.). That's the equivalent of like 20 mangoes…right!? Anyway…no more dried mangoes for me.

  • Lauren {StylizedExistence} says:

    Hahaha. Love the fedex tidbit at the end. I've been lurking around here for a while and enjoy your recipes. Thanks for the laugh this morning!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Jen –> Oh, man! I'm well-acquainted with the streeeeeetch to the back seat for the grocery bag. And now that you mention it, I *did* eat pork rinds in the car the first time I bought them. Maybe that's the sign a food is a red-light food? When the snarfing of it begins on the car ride home?!

    Lauren –> Thanks for posting! Nice to meet you. That poor FedEx driver! Can you imagine explaining THAT to the boss? "I was really hungry, and the pork rinds were SO good…"

  • Amber says:

    I have this problem too, mostly with "safe" foods that are only good in small portions. Dates? Forget it. Chocolate? Nope. I have a lack of self control when it comes to these items. Best solution? Don't buy it. If I buy it, I have to take responsibility for the fact that I am going to eat it, all. If I am ok with that, then I'll make peace. But otherwise, nope!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Amber –> Amen, sister. The first step to identity change is changing our environment… which means my immediate environment must be a pork rind free zone. Sad.

    This graphic illustrates it very clearly:

  • MIndy says:

    Cheese. I can't have it in the house. Other dairy…meh. I put a tablespoon of heavy cream into my coffee a couple mornings a week, no problem. I ignore my son's ice cream and yogurt. But if there's cheese in the house, I eat it, one "serving" at a time, many servings a day, 'til it's gone. And then my digestion complains and my weight skyrockets and I shake my head sadly at my complete lack of control and don't buy cheese for months.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Mindy –> The other day I was trying to figure out which cheese I miss the most — I know! Dumb game to play — and the answer was: really, really good shaved parmesan. But yeah, can't have it in the house.

  • Kelly says:

    I am the same way! temptation can send me eating out of control. However I’ve recently taken to cooking with ground pork rinds. I’ve used them to bread chicken, make zucchini cakes and now cauliflower pizza crust. So…the solution? When I bring them home I food process them. Trust me, you wont eat them when they are all ground up, but you can get all the joy out of cooking with them 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Thanks a great idea, Kelly! Thanks for sharing — not sure why that didn’t occur to me before but I’ll be doing that from now on.

  • kaila says:

    I busted a gut reading this. I did the whole “measure into baggies” thing too. I bought one of those big bags tonight, and regrettably, I “snarfed” my way through the whole thing. You made me realize I cannot keep them in the house.

    • Mel says:

      I am not safe if there’s a bag of pork rinds around. At all. They’re my treat for roadtrips, and I always SAY I’m not going to eat all of them


  • Peppie says:

    So glad I found this. Your Scotch Egg recipes calls for these and I was curious from a Whole30 perspective if it is “compliant”. Well I am going to say that it would be a begrudging yes. Thank goodness. I like scotch eggs!

  • April says:

    This looks so yummy — how can I modify it for someone who doesn’t eat pork? I’m assuming I can use beef for the meat, but what about something crunchy to roll these in? Any thoughts? Thanks!

    • Use beef or ground turkey for the meat. You can just skip the coating — or if you want to do extra work, roll the meat-egg balls in beaten egg then tapioca starch to make a breading. Brown them on all sides in a extra-virgin olive oil, then bake to cook through.