The most important questions we imagine most of you would ask are, what? And why? What: Pork rinds are fried pieces of pig skin. The skin, which starts out tough and inedible, puffs up in the fryer, resulting in a delicious, and light-textured, snack food. Are they same thing as cracklins? No, not exactly. Pork rinds are skin-only; cracklins have a portion of the fat attached to the skin. They are great eating, as well. You’ll find both at the Pork Rind Heritage Festival in the small Ohio town of Harrod. Why? The largest producer of pork rinds in the country, Rudolph Foods, is based in Lima, a few miles to the west of Harrod.
Rudolph donates a supply of pork rind “pellets” to the festival, which are fried up fresh on-site. Rinds are great munched, at room temperature, straight from the bag, but you haven’t really had them at their best until you’ve sampled them warm from their hot oil bath. And did you know pork rinds are good for you? OK, perhaps that overstates things but, as the Rudolph Foods website notes, unlike potato chips or corn chips, pork rinds have no carbohydrates. And they pack more protein than peanuts. Why, they even have a recipe for low-carb donuts, where the ground rinds stand in for wheat flour!
But there’s more than pork rinds to this party, which opens Friday at 6 p.m. with the announcement of the Pork Rind Princess. That’ll be followed by live entertainment on the main stage. Saturday’s festivities begin with an all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast hosted by the local volunteer fire department. The parade starts at noon, to be followed by bingo, a fun run, a car show, raffle contests, and plenty of live entertainment. Find all the details here.