Chicken Skin, Duck Skin, Turkey Skin And Other Poultry Cracklins
Who doesn't love crispy chicken skins? But sometimes the chicken is best cooked without the skins. It's hard to keep them intact when you pound chicken breasts flat, for example. And it's hard to make them crispy if you marinate the chicken as in my Buxom Chicken Breasts.
But skins are packed with flavor, and it's a doggone shame to chuck them out, especially since they are so easy to make. So 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.
1) Remove the skins from your turkey, chicken, 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) 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 225°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 for about 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 you indoor oven.
Frying pan method. Cover the bottom of a frying pan with a thin layer of cooking oil, heat it to medium high, and add the skins. It is important that you do not cook too hot or they will burn and spatter all over the place. Wear a shirt. Stand by the pan and stir them every three minutes or so for about 15 minutes until they are golden. Scoop them out and place them on a double layer of paper towels to drain, and while they're hot, sprinkle on some salt.
Try not to eat them all immediately, OK?
This page was revised 4/21/2013
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