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Meathead's Gold Nuggets Lip Smackin' Cracklins Recipe

Making pork cracklins on a smoker
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3.83 from 52 votes
I call my Lip Smackin' Cracklins Recipe radically different. They are crispy, salty, and crunchy chunks "Gold Nuggets".

Serve with: a pale ale.

Sauces and Condiments
Side Dish


Servings: 6 servings


Prep Time: 18 minutes
Cook Time: 9 hours 30 minutes


About the skins. You want skins with the subcutaneous fat layer attached and, if possible, a little layer of meat at the bottom. You can order from a butcher or just order a raw shoulder or raw ham and specify you want it "with skin on". Then cut the skin and fat layer off of the meat. Leave a little meat on them if you like. I like. Do not get a cooked or spiral ham.
About the salt. Remember, Morton's coarse kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page


  • Prep. If there is some hair remaining on the pig skin, burn it off with a butane lighter. Do this outside. You know what burning hair smells like. Then wipe the skin clean. The skins are hard to cut, even with a sharp knife, so put the skins in the freezer for 30 to 45 minutes and they will stiffen and be easier to cut.
  • With a sharp knife, cut the skins into strips about 1" (2.5 cm) wide. Don't cut them into squares yet or they will fall through the grill grates into the fire. If you have a perforated pan or a mesh like Frogmats, you can cut them into squares. Otherwise, leave them as strips.
  • Cook. In a large pot, cover the skins with water and boil for about 30 minutes with the lid on. This step renders a lot of fat and breaks down the fibers that make the skin impenetrably hard. Discard the water and rendered fat.
  • Salt the wet skins with a generous hand, like you might salt popcorn. Then hit it with the Memphis Dust. If you wish you can season it with your favorite hot sauce.
  • Place the now puffed up strips fat side down in a smoker or grill and smoke over indirect heat at about 225°F (107.2°C) for an hour. Then crank it to about 400°F (204.4°C) indirect heat to render more fat for 45 minutes or more until they are GBD, but not dark brown. If you have a charcoal grill, move them over direct heat and put a pan with water between the cracklins and the flames or they will make a blazing inferno. Now you have a choice. Once again, think bacon. You can cook them until they are really crispy, or you can remove them when they are still moist and juicy. You pick. Try some both ways and decide which you like best.
  • Lay some clean newspaper the counter, cover with a layer of paper towels, and dump on the cracklins. If you've done it right, there will be little grease to absorb. Let them cool for about 15 minutes and cut them into squares if you cooked them as strips. Taste and add more salt, Meathead's Memphis Dust, and hot sauce if you wish.
  • Serve. Serve immediately or store them in the refrigerator in zipper bags for a week or two. After then they tend to oxidize and get funky. To reheat them, warm at 200 to 250°F (93.3 to 121.1°C) in the oven or grill. But not the microwave. They can explode!