We love pork here in the Dirty South, and while the rest of the country may be content to snack on corn and potato chips, down here we’re just as likely to reach for a bag of pork rinds. A pork rind is a tasty piece of fried pig skin. They are called Chicharrónes in Spain, where they originated, and the Spanish-speaking countries to our south where they are also a popular snack.
The Memphis area’s locally-made pork rinds come from Brim's, a snack food company located in the suburb of Bartlett that also sells products like chips, pretzels, popcorn and cheese puffs. Due to the peculiar overlap of the Dirty South and the Bible Belt, every product Brim’s sells comes with a Bible verse printed on the bag. It is interesting to note that they never seem to select verses dealing with the sin of gluttony. If I’m going to snack on a pork rind I stick to the regular Brim’s due to the refreshingly short and simple ingredient list -- fried pork rinds, salt. That’s it.
Another interesting thing you will notice on any bag of pork rinds, regardless of the manufacturer, is that the nutrition label always lists a relatively high amount of protein per serving followed by a disclaimer that says, “Not a significant source of protein.” This is because their primary ingredient, skin, is mainly composed of low-quality, incomplete protein made mostly of collagen. So they're mainly protein, but that protein is still mostly empty calories.