HomeMexicanoThe chicharrón and its peculiar history in Mexico and Latin America

The chicharrón and its peculiar history in Mexico and Latin America

Freddy's Tucan
May. 12, 2022

Few dishes are as well known in the Hispanic world as chicharrón (a type of pork rind), since this typical of typical dishes is recognized, elaborated, and requested in all Spanish-speaking countries. Since the arrival of the Spaniards and their introduction of this dish to continental America, it has become popular and spread also thanks to the introduction of the Iberian pig. This domestic animal easily adapted to American climates and this made its upbringing a lot easier.

In Mexico, in particular, the chicharrón is highly valued and is accompanied by almost everything and is eaten with all kinds of salsas. Throughout the 32 states of Mexico (and the Federal District) you will find delicious local recipes with chicharrón, either normal or pressed. There is also the pure meat crackling and the one that has more fried pork skin. Both versions are popular in gorditas, burritos, quesadillas and tacos. Although you can also enjoy eating crispy pork rinds on their own or with some freshly made tortillas.

When speaking of the richness of a dish, one must speak of all its dimensions, its presentation, its smell, and  its texture… The chicharrón, despite its simplicity, brings together all the necessary elements to make it a delicacy of the Gods. Its golden presentation is very appetizing, although what really “pulls you” is that delicious unmistakable smell when the pork rinds are being cooked in a large copper cazo. And what to say about the texture! Perhaps what is most characteristic of good pork rinds is that they are very crispy.

Pressed chicharrón or chicharron prensado is a very particular version available in Mexico that you can buy at the corner store or local butcher shop. Initially, this version was invented in order to preserve more pork rinds in less space and with less fat. Throughout the Mexican Republic, this type of chicharrón is used more than anything in basket tacos and stuffed gorditas, depending on the area. What distinguishes one type of pork rind from the other is that the pressed pork rind is more salty and is not crunchy at all.

Thus, although there are historic versions that this type of fried pork originated in America and possibly in the Dominican Republic, the truth is that it is 100% Spanish in origin. Since pre-Hispanic times in Andalusia, Spain, the rich pork rinds that are also known by the same name were already eaten and enjoyed. In other parts of old Spain they are known as torreznos but they are exactly the same thing, fried meat and pork skin made in a cazo (a type of large kettle) until they are crispy, golden in color and delicious in flavor.

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Fredys Tucan, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, México
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