How to Make Chicken Skin Cracklins

They're easy to make and season however you like. What're you waiting for?

Who doesn't love crispy chicken skin?

But sometimes the chicken is best cooked without the skin on it. There are a lot fewer calories in skinless chicken, and it's hard to keep the skins intact when you pound chicken breasts flat, for example. It's also hard to make them crispy if you marinate the chicken as in my Buxom Chicken Breasts or Cornell Chicken.

Poultry skins are packed with flavor and it's a doggone shame to chuck them out, especially since they are so easy to make into a crispy and delicious snack or garnish. I make cracklins from them and sprinkle them back on the dish as a garnish. If you make them properly, they are crispy and crunchy like potato chips, and they're just as good as bacon bits on a salad, on a chicken breast sandwich, on pulled chicken, on pasta...use your imagination.

Click here to read more...

Average: 4.7 (15 votes)

Average Rating - Votes are tabulated end of day

Please rate this recipe ONLY after you cook it: 

Share This Recipe:

Print Recipe

chicken cracklins

Don't throw away those poultry skins! Cook them up into cracklins, those crispy, savory snacks that double as a garnish for the cooked poultry they came from.

Course. Appetizer. Side Dish. Snack.

Cuisine. American.

Makes. 2 to 3 servings.

Takes. 5 minutes prep. 30 to 45 minutes cooking.

Ingredients

1 whole skin-on chicken, turkey or duck, or 3 to 5 pounds poultry parts

1 to 2 tablespoons Morton's kosher salt 

Method

1) Prep. Remove the skins from your chicken, turkey, or duck. Turkey skins are thin with little fat underneath, chickens have a bit more subcutaneous fat, and duck has a lot of fat. Cut the skins into squares or strips about 1" long and 1/2" wide.

2) Cook. Roasting method. Preheat your smoker or set up your grill for 2-zone indirect cooking and get the air temp in the indirect zone to about 325°F. Spread the skins onto a flat pan like a cookie sheet, sprinkle them with salt, not too much, and place them in the indirect heat until they are crispy. Turkey will take about 30 minutes, chicken 45 minutes, duck an hour or more. Your time will vary depending on the amount of fat on the bird. If you wish to add wood and flavor them with smoke, go for it. You can even do this in your indoor oven.

Frying pan method. Cover the bottom of a frying pan with about 1/4" of water and add the skins. Heat until it simmers gently but does not boil. Add the skins. It is important that you do not simmer too vigorously or they bill spatter all over the place and then burn. Wear a shirt you don't care about. Stand by the pan and stir the skins every three minutes or so until the water evaporates. Pour off the fat and save it. Continue cooking over low heat until the skins are golden and crispy. Scoop them out and place them on a double layer of paper towels to drain. While they're hot, sprinkle on some salt.

3) Serve. Try not to eat them all immediately, OK?

Chicken skin bacon

At Lillie's Q in Chicago, one of my favorite BBQ restaurants in the country, Chef Charlie McKenna uses his imagination a lot. For example, he smokes chicken, removes the seasoned skin, breads the chicken meat, and fries it.

Like me, he didn't like discarding the skins, especially since they had all that rub and smoke flavor. So he came up with a clever idea. He took the skins, placed them between two baking pans, put the pans in the oven, and roasted them until crispy. McKenna calls the crunchy skins "chicken bacon" and serves it on a BLT.

Placeholder

You don't have to use smoked chicken, any skins will do. Just be careful, they burn easily. I recommend cooking them at 325°F, and yes, you can use your grill as an oven, just cook them with indirect heat. The pic shows what a piece of chicken bacon looks like, and no that's not Chef McKenna.

Schmaltz & Gribenes

No, this is not a law firm out to get your money. Schmaltz is the Yiddish term for rendered chicken fat and it was commonly used as a cooking fat in Eastern Europe. Render the skins and subcutaneous fat with some heat, drain off the schmaltz (the fat), take the skin cracklins that are left behind, add in some onions and fry them together with a little schmaltz, and you have gribenes, a peasant delicacy for the hearty farm worker.

Meathead Goldwyn

Meathead is the founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, and is also known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", a New York Times Best Seller and named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.

Placeholder

Placeholder

Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. On Amazon it works on everything from grills to diapers, they never tell us what you bought, and it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site! And remember, we only recommend products we love. If you like AmazingRibs.com, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazonhttps://tinyurl.com/amazingribs

...some HTML for the first variant...

Placeholder

Placeholder

Get Smoke Signals, our free e-letter. No spam. Guaranteed

Enter your email:

If you love barbecue and grilling, get a FREE 30-day membership in our Pitmaster Club. We can up your game.

  • FREE 30 day trial membership.
  • Sneak previews of Meathead’s new book.
  • We block ads from members.
  • Real community. No politics. No flame wars.
  • Monthly newsletter.
  • Video seminars with famous pitmasters.
  • Weekly podcasts with Greg Rempe.
  • Weekly BBQ cartoons by Jerry King.
  • Comprehensive Temperature Guide Magnet ($10 retail).
  • Monthly giveaways of Gold Medal grills and smokers worth up to $2000.
  • Discounts on products we love.
  • Support for AmazingRibs.com!

Lookit what our members are cooking:


Post comments and questions below

Placeholder

1) Please try the table of contents or the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can't help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.

 

Click to ask questions and make comments