Cracklings - the winter-time crispy “sweetmeats”

Cold autumn days and first fogs are an ideal time for slaughter, and at the very thought of fresh meat you can hardly not think of what is most refined of it – real homemade pork cracklings. The crispy pork delicacy full of good fats is prepared by frying pork fat and creating delicacy that is rarely found. Having the size of the fingertip and the texture of the finest snacks, and rich in flavours, this delicacy is one of the trademarks of the homemade gastronomic offer.

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Preparation of cracklings is very simple, and this is done immediately after slaughter while pork fat is still fresh and gives best results. The fat is put into lard, water, milk is added sometimes, and then, the flavour of the cracklings is “tuned” using red or white onion. They are really popular as a specialty in Slavonia, Međimurje and Zagorje, and there are even several variants of this crispy delicacy. They can be pressed more intensely to make them crispier and are then a perfect, healthy and far more delicious replacement for chips and similar snacks, whereas those less pressed cracklings will be ideal with a loaf of warm bread, roughly chopped onion and just a pinch of salt.

They are often served with various platters, cold meat and cheeses, and they can be also packed in dough in preparation of the favourite salty cakes, čvarkuše. Čvarkuše, or crackling buns, are an ideal bite at any time of the year and go perfectly with a cup of hot milk or tea or good white wine. Layers of soft, leafy dough with crispy pieces of cracklings are ideal bites for any occasion, however, for good crackling buns you’ll have to jump to golden Slavonija. Actually, this area has preserved the exceptional custom of slaughter, and thus of small-scale family production of fresh homemade meat products.


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For this reason we went to the east of our country in order to discover original flavours of homemade specialties such as cracklings, crackling buns and other delicious miracles.

At the Stari Podrum Restaurant in Ilok we were explained how they prepare homemade pork cracklings.

“We make cracklings ourselves, and then we serve them with platters of meat products, kulen, ham and various cheeses. First, we extract pork fat and fry it in a large pot on lard, with a little salt. Our cracklings are small and crispy, just like they should be. Perhaps, that is the reason that guests order them quite often.”

The Kovač Čarda Restaurant in Baranja offers an ingenious novelty of the domestic gastronomic scene – carp cracklings. They say that they did not find anything similar, so this combination seemed rather interesting to them. They disclosed to us how carp cracklings are prepared.

“Certainly, we make them ourselves, actually we make ourselves all such and similar products found in our offer. Such cracklings are prepared of tail, without bones. Flour and unavoidable paprika are added, and they are served with roasted potatoes. Carp cracklings are a little smaller than pork greaves, so they are more interesting and thus ordered quite more frequently,” said Antonio Petrešev from the Kovač Čarda.


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If Slavonia and Baranja still seem distant to you for this forthcoming winter season, you can also find perfect cracklings in the menu of the Cocktail Restaurant in Sisak. Besides the classical ones, they also offer crackling breaded meat. Ultimate relish!

“The offer of the Cocktail Restaurant includes crackling breaded pork tenderloin. At first, we make a mixture of Panko bread crumbs, cracklings and thyme, then we roll up meat in the classical breading mixture of eggs and flour and that’s it. We roast meat on lard, in the oven, and this dish is extremely popular with us. It must be for the cracklings.”

Regardless if you enjoy cracklings in an ingenious combination or with the classical white bread and red onion, you cannot just skip the delicacy like this. Greasy, savoury and such attractive pork sweetmeat is simply made to please your palates this winter.

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