This evening I stopped by my favorite quick stop, Covell Corner. Okay, it’s my ONLY area quick stop but they’re really great. I could write an entire post about the family who started that business, how nice their employees are, and how their deli pizza is scrump-deli-icious… but that’s not what I want to share with you. I wanted to let you know that I was in the store, wandering aimlessly because I couldn’t find Perrier or club soda, when I saw a full rack of El Sabroso Pork Cracklins beckoning me.
No, I don’t like pork rinds. Not really. But when I was a little girl, my mother would buy them as a special snack because SHE liked them. So a few weeks ago I purchased a local pork rind microwavable product at the Farmer’s Market because the owner of the company was a friend…AND I thought, “Give them to mom, she might like them.” My mother has made a lifetime habit of seeing some piece of clothing or other product while she’s out shopping, then thinking I might like it – purchases it and brings it to me at the next family get-together. It’s about time I turned the tables on her, don’t you think?
I haven’t tried the local product yet. I wanted to make sure they were okay before I gave something to mom that might turn out less-than-stellar. So, as soon as I saw the bags of prepared pork rinds hanging in Covell Corner I immediately thought, “Throw down!…..” I believe it’s important for you to know how that phrase sounded in my head. If you watch Family Guy (which, please know I’m not endorsing the show…I just – um, I see it occasionally) then you know every once in a while, Peter Griffin’s character looks at the screen and says, “Roadhouse!” It’s a long story, but here’s a link to a YouTube clip to give you an idea: “Roadhouse Clip.“
Now, substitute the word “Roadhouse” for “Throw Down!” and…you’re in my head.
As soon as I got home, I began my research. The MAIN reason I had purchased the “J&J Critters” product is because the owner told me you simply put them in a paper bag and then cook them in the microwave; thus, fresh product that’s not deep-fried, so, less calories.
By the way, just an aside here…did you see the description on the El Sabroso bag? “Fried out pork fat with attached skin.” Gag me. I KNOW pork rinds made a huge comeback in the 80s when the Akins diet first made waves…or was that the 90s? But, when I read the “…with attached skin” language, I think I threw up in my mouth just a little bit. And when I wrote that, I just heard Kate’s character from Dodgeball the movie express my sentiments: “Dodgeball Sound Clip.” Hmmm, this is just too much information isn’t it? (Please know, I’m not endorsing that movie…I just – um, I’ve watched it a couple of times…)
So, back to the Throw Down. I opened both packages and looked at the contents. In the J&J container, there are uncooked, seasoned pieces of pork rind. Fairly straight forward. In the El Sabroso package, the contents are cooked. I counted the pieces in the bag and there were exactly 50 making up 1.875 ounces. So, I counted out 50 pieces of the J&J product so we cook do a side by side check.
Then I cooked the J&J product according to directions. The first batch of about 25 pieces finished in approximately 1 minute, 20 seconds. The second bag finished in about 1:35. They’re “finished” when they’ve all popped.
Well, my first impression was, “Wow – the J&J product is huge and fluffy compared to the other,” but that didn’t necessarily mean anything to me. I wasn’t scoring for appearance. So, I tasted them. Then my dog tried them. Then Rylee tried them.
My dog gave everything a blue ribbon, wanted more, and stole the sack I cooked the J&J product in, ran away with it, and I had to chase her. She’s totally biased – she votes for FOOD, regardless of what it is. She got disqualified as judge.
Rylee tried both of them (she’s not really a pork rind fan either) and here are her comments: 1) She liked the J&J product, the seasoning was fine, and it was crispy. 2) The liked the ElSabroso product for about 1-2 seconds, then got a bad taste in her mouth that she decided must be the grease from the fryer….so she retracted liking them.
My opinion? Exactly the same as Rylee. The J&J product is tender, crisp and fresh. The fried pork rinds just tasted slightly stale, were harder to bite, and you get an after taste of oil. Lots of it. I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth again.
WHY am I being gross in this Throw Down post??
I shouldn’t be. I have to hand it to the J&J folks. That product is much better than the fried pork rinds, the flavors are good, there is no MSG, when you calculate out the cost you get about 2/3rds more product for the same money AND it’s at least 1/3rd less calories.
I’m sorry, but ElSabroso can go right back to California. I don’t like it, and we don’t need to ship in snacks to our state using all that diesel when ours are better, cheaper and have less calories.
And THAT, my friends, is the end of this THROW DOWN! (Or, Roadhouse…whichever you’d like to call it).