What To Do With Pork Shoulder Skin? A Full Guide

Pork shoulder is a versatile cut of meat that can be used in a variety of dishes, from pulled pork to crispy pork shoulder.

But what about the skin? Should you leave it on or take it off? And what can you do with it?

In this article, we’ll explore the different options for pork shoulder skin and provide some delicious recipes to make the most of this often-overlooked part of the pig.

So, whether you’re a fan of crispy cracklings or prefer your pork skin-free, read on to discover what to do with pork shoulder skin.

What To Do With Pork Shoulder Skin?

When it comes to pork shoulder skin, there are two main options: leave it on or take it off. The decision largely depends on what you plan to do with the meat.

If you’re making pulled pork, it’s best to remove most of the skin. However, if you want crispy, crunchy pork skin, then leaving it on is the way to go.

One popular recipe for crispy pork shoulder involves slow-roasting the meat for several hours until it’s tender and juicy. Then, the skin is crisped up by roasting it at a high temperature for a short amount of time.

Another option is to use the skin to make cracklings. Simply cut the skin into small pieces and fry them in oil until they’re crispy and golden brown. These make a delicious snack or topping for salads and soups.

If you’re not a fan of pork skin, don’t worry – there are still ways to use this part of the meat. One option is to remove the skin before cooking and use it to flavor stocks and soups. The collagen in the skin adds richness and depth of flavor to these dishes.

Why Is Pork Shoulder Skin Often Removed?

Pork shoulder skin is often removed because it can prevent the seasoning rub from permeating the meat itself. This can result in an unbalanced flavor profile, with the seasoning only affecting the outer layer of the meat. Additionally, if the skin is left on during slow cooking, it may not fully render down and can become tough and chewy.

However, there are also reasons to leave the skin on. As mentioned above, it can be used to create crispy cracklings or add flavor to stocks and soups. Additionally, leaving the skin on during slow cooking can help keep the meat moist and tender by allowing the subcutaneous layer of fat to melt into the meat.

Ultimately, whether or not to remove pork shoulder skin depends on personal preference and the desired end result. If you’re looking for a crispy texture or want to use the skin for other purposes, then leave it on. But if you want a more balanced flavor profile and tender meat, then it’s best to remove most of the skin before cooking.

How To Remove Pork Shoulder Skin

Removing pork shoulder skin is a simple process that can be done with a sharp knife or a sturdy pair of kitchen scissors. Start by turning the meat over and cutting along one edge of the skin. Pull the skin away from the meat, slicing with the knife to help peel the skin away. If you’re using scissors, simply cut along the edge of the skin and pull it away from the meat.

If you want to leave some of the skin on for added flavor, you can score it with a trimming knife to allow the seasoning rub to penetrate. You can also leave some of the fat on, as most of it will render during cooking and can be removed before serving.

Once you’ve removed all of the skin and excess fat that you want to, you can proceed with seasoning and cooking your pork shoulder. If you’re making pulled pork, be sure to remove most of the skin to ensure that the meat is tender and juicy. However, if you want crispy pork skin or cracklings, leaving some of the skin on is a great option.

The Benefits Of Cooking With Pork Shoulder Skin

Cooking with pork shoulder skin has several benefits, especially when slow-roasting the meat. Leaving the skin on the pork shoulder ensures that the entire layer of fat between the skin and the meat is left intact. This thick fat layer brings treasured richness and flavor to the pork, resulting in a juicy and flavorful dish.

Moreover, when slow-cooking pork shoulder with the skin on, the skin acts as a protective layer that helps to keep the meat moist and juicy throughout the cooking process. The skin also helps to create a crispy and crunchy texture on the outside of the meat, adding an extra layer of texture to the dish.

Another benefit of cooking with pork shoulder skin is that it can be used to make delicious cracklings or chicharrones. These crispy and savory snacks are made by frying small pieces of pork skin until they’re golden brown and crispy. They make a great topping for salads and soups, or as a standalone snack.

Finally, using pork shoulder skin in stocks and soups can add depth of flavor and richness to these dishes. The collagen in the skin helps to create a silky texture and adds a savory umami flavor to any broth or soup.

Crispy Pork Shoulder Skin Recipes

If you’re looking for ways to use the pork shoulder skin to make crispy and delicious dishes, here are a few recipes to try:

1. Crispy Pork Shoulder Tacos: Shred the cooked pork shoulder and serve it in warm tortillas with a variety of toppings like pickled onions, cilantro, and lime wedges. Add crispy pork skin pieces on top for an extra crunch.

2. Crispy Pork Shoulder Salad: Toss together mixed greens, sliced avocado, cherry tomatoes, and roasted sweet potatoes. Top with shredded pork shoulder and crispy pork skin pieces. Drizzle with a vinaigrette made with lime juice, honey, and olive oil.

3. Crispy Pork Shoulder Nachos: Layer tortilla chips with shredded pork shoulder, black beans, jalapenos, and shredded cheese. Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Top with crispy pork skin pieces and serve with salsa and sour cream.

4. Crispy Pork Shoulder Bites: Cut the cooked pork shoulder into bite-sized pieces and coat them in a mixture of breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven until crispy and golden brown. Serve with a dipping sauce made with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and honey.

No matter how you choose to use it, the pork shoulder skin can add a delicious crunch and flavor to your dishes. Give these recipes a try and enjoy the crispy goodness!

Pork Shoulder Skin-Free Recipes

If you’ve decided to remove the skin from your pork shoulder, don’t worry – there are plenty of delicious recipes that don’t require it. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Slow-Cooked Pork Shoulder with Apple Cider Vinegar: This recipe involves slow-cooking the pork shoulder with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and spices until it’s tender and falling apart. Serve it with your favorite sides for a comforting and flavorful meal.

2. Pork Shoulder Tacos: Shred the cooked pork shoulder and serve it in warm tortillas with your favorite toppings, such as avocado, salsa, and cilantro. This is a great way to use up leftover pork shoulder and make a quick and easy weeknight meal.

3. Pork Shoulder Curry: This recipe involves simmering the pork shoulder in a fragrant curry sauce until it’s tender and flavorful. Serve it over rice or with naan bread for a comforting and satisfying meal.

4. Cuban-style Pork Shoulder: This recipe involves marinating the pork shoulder in a mixture of citrus juices and spices before roasting it until it’s tender and juicy. Serve it with rice, beans, and plantains for a taste of the tropics.

No matter which recipe you choose, pork shoulder is a versatile and delicious cut of meat that can be used in a variety of dishes. Whether you prefer it with or without the skin, there’s no denying that slow-cooked pork shoulder is one of the most flavorful and satisfying meals out there.