Crisp cracklings are a sign of a capable cook, one who knows how to utilize the secondary cuts of the pig and make something wondrous from them. Storing fresh cracklings -- and reheating them to crispness -- takes a little more than cooking technique, because you're fighting oxygen and time. You get two to three days of refrigerator storage and up to two months of freezer storage when you pack cracklings airtight.
Step 1: Separate and degrease the cracklings with a paper towel.
Let the cracklings cool to room temperature. Pull apart the cracklings into individual pieces, if needed. Degrease the cracklings with a paper towel.
Step 2: Package the cracklings in an airtight container.
Pack the cracklings in an airtight container or a sealable food-storage bag. If using a bag, squeeze out the air before sealing it. Use a freezer-safe bag or container if you intend on freezing the cracklings.
Step 3: Store the cracklings in the refrigerator or freezer.
Store the cracklings on the bottom shelf towards the back of the refrigerator, where it's coolest. If freezing, mark the date on the container or bag and place them where they fit.
Step 1: Heat the broiler.
Adjust the oven rack to sit about 4 inches below the broiler. Start the broiler and let it heat for 10 minutes. If you have a convection oven, turn the fan on.
Step 2: Set up a broiler pan.
Place a wire rack over a baking sheet. A wire rack and baking sheet allow more air to flow around the cracklings than a regular broiler pan does and the wider spacing lets more fat drip from the cracklings.
Step 3: Arrange the cracklings skin-side up on the pan.
Space the cracklings at least 1/2-inch apart on the rack. Place the pan in the oven.
Step 4: Broil the cracklings.
Broil the cracklings for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes then turn them over. Broil the cracklings for 1 1/2 minutes on the other side. Serve immediately.
- Refrigerate or freeze cracklings within two hours of cooking them.
- Cracklings may smoke during broiling.
- As an alternative to broiling, reheat the cracklings in a 425 degree F oven for 8 minutes, or until sizzling. Use the same rack-and-pan set up as you would for broiling.
You should only reheat cracklings one time after storing them. Repeated cooling and reheating puts food in the temperature danger zone (in which bacteria thrive) too often to stay safe for consumption. In addition, the quality of the cracklings diminishes with each instance of cooling and reheating.