Chicharrones: A Low Ox Snack Taste Test
Updated: Apr 21, 2022
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I can honestly say I never thought I'd be doing a post on pork rinds! It wasn't until I started my low ox journey that I even considered these as an option. Now if I ate potato chips, these would be a good sub, and even still it is a nice crunchy snack to have on hand as a replacement for my sourdough crackers and sprouted grain pretzels (although I may still have some of those on occasion).
The absolute best pork rind I ever had was from a seaside diner on the Isle of Islay in Scotland. I wish they could always taste like that! That being said, these were all pretty good. Keep reading for more details!
Epic, as a brand in general, tries to be transparent. They at least give a line that their skins come from pigs raised without hormones and antibiotics (which isn't saying too much, though). They also list the countries of origin (U.S. & Canada). I wish I could get well sourced pork rinds or at least be able to tell from the transparency of the company, but I haven't found that company yet. If you know of any, please let me know!
Epic has quite a few varieties, and I tried a lot of them:
- Sea Salt & Pepper - These are very peppery and the brand to pick if you like very consistently shaped rinds. FYI: Black pepper is high oxalate (from @toxicsuperfoods list)
- Texas BBQ - They do taste like barbecue and the ingredients are straight forward, but overall, I think I'd rather have plain than any of the seasoned ones I tried.
- Chili Lime - Honestly, on a normal day I wouldn't purchase these because they have citric acid in the ingredient list. However, we were away from home, unprepared (kind of), and I needed more of a snack and these were the only pork rinds I found on the shelf. I say kind of unprepared because I did already eat some jerky and had coconut water to stay hydrated, but was out longer than planned and a hungry Nicole is not a good thing, haha (although, my blood sugar handling has gotten much better!). They were okay, The pieces were a smaller size than the salt and pepper, my guess is for more surface area for the spices?
4505 Meats as a brand is USA family farmed, from exclusively small family ranchers that practice sustainable and humane husbandry techniques. They remove all the fat before frying in rendered pork fat.
-Sea Salt- I have only tried this one variety and would definitely like to try others from this brand. Their crisps are larger, more inconsistent sizes, and airy. These do have some salt, but not overly salty to me. I love how big they are and their crunchy fluffiness! If I had to pick a favorite, these would be it.
Fresh Thyme Brand - For being a bigger store, it is so much harder to get information on their sourcing, but I thought it was worth a try.
- Original Pork Rinds - These are smaller and more compact than the other brands. They also tasted a little roastier/almost burnt but not quite, which I actually liked. Every once in awhile I would get a piece that was a little harder, though.