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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mojo Marinated Chicharron ( Latin Style Fried Pork Belly)

For those who are unfamiliar, chicharron (Chee Chah ROHN) is a type of fried pork common in many Latin American countries.  It is prepared using chunks of the same meat that bacon comes from, but the skin is left on and it is uncured and still in slab form before being cut into pieces.  I am not much of a fried food person, but some chicharron once a year is darn tasty!  It's crunchy on the outside, the meat is tender, and the layer just beneath the crisp skin is slightly chewy, mmmmm, mmmm, mmm!  Chicharron on its own is often eaten as a street food or a snack

This particular recipe is even more wonderful because you marinate the meat and pack it with flavor before frying it.  I dare you to try eating it without licking your fingers!  My mouth is watering just thinking about it!  Enjoy this recipe for some out-of-this-world chicharron!

You can see my video for the process here.  It's in the middle of cooking the mofongo, so part of the video is frying plantains too.

*This is the same recipe that I use for my mofongo or Latin style stuffed fried green plantain mash


  1. Desired amount of chicharron, marinated overnight in mojo recipe above.  You only need maybe 1/3 lb of chicharron for the actual mofongo, but I got 1.5 lbs and enjoyed the rest on its own.  It's super cheap.  Just ask the butcher to cut you some pork belly with the skin, meat, and fat all in tact.  Cut the chicharron into 1-1/2" - 2" pieces to fry. 3/4 cups water 1 tsp baking soda    
  1. Rub the marinated chicharron in the baking soda.  Cook the chicharron  over medium low heat (Skin side UP--you don't wan't to cook it in water or it'll get chewy, not crispy) in 3/4 cup water. The reason for drying it is because the marinade adds a lot of liquid and excess liquid will make your chicharron chewy.  It isn't supposed to cover the meat. 
  2. After about ten minutes of cooking on medium low (it should look very close to cooked, if not cooked), transfer the meat into a separate, ungreased, pre-heated pan to let it fry in its own grease over medium high.  Be sure to turn the meat two or three times to allow it to become crispy and brown on all sides.  
  3. Alternatively, you can also just fry it the chicharron the whole way it its own fat, rather than doing water, if you don't want to risk messing it up and getting chewy chicharron. Traditionally, the process is to cook the chicharron in 1 cup of water over medium low until the water evaporates, then it fries in its own grease.  This doesn't work for this recipe since we used a liquid marinade, not a a basic salt or salt and oregano dry seasoning.  Besides, many people end up with chewy chicharron with the water process anyway, and some opt to just fry the meat in its own grease the whole way, skipping the water altogether. 

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