What To Eat In Charleston: Pork Rinds

Another true Southern staple is a good ole bowl of pork rinds, also called "crackling" or "skins" on some Southern menus. There is a crispy crunch with every bite and deep in the depths of the flavor is a hint of pork. That's because these popular snacks are the skin of the pig, or the remains after rendering fat from meat, frying or roasting the skin. You can find them in restaurants across the region, from more typical barbeque dives to high-end chef driven establishments. Most every gas station and grocery store in the south sells them.

Those looking for some places to run out and grab a plate of rinds in and around Charleston, S.C. can try one of the following places:

Básico: Starting right out the gate from just opening weeks ago, Basico offers a "chicharron" that comes from Revival Foods' heritage pigs. Chefs at the taqueria dehydrate the skin, cut in small sections and fry to order. They are then seasoned with lime zest and chile fresh from the outside garden.  This crispy, salty snack is the perfect bite to have while soaking it up at the nearby pool. 

Closed for Business: Known more for its beer and burgers, Closed for Business also boast a pretty hearty appetizer menu with mostly an all fried line up. The pork rinds are a standout on the menu and come as either salt & vinegar, BBQ spiced or sour cream & onions. With one of the best beer selection on tap, it's the perfect treat to eat with a cold one.

Food for the Southern Soul's outpost in the City Market: Pitmaster Jimmy Hagood left his corporate gig as an insurance advisor in 2002 and has never looked back. Nor should he, in our opinion. With a flourishing catering operation and a free standing store in the recently renovated City Market, patrons can go and enjoy a number of items to go or to eat at the nearby outdoor seating. One of the best sellers are his bags of crispy pork rinds, which are dehydrated pork pellets cooked in oil and lightly dusted with seasoning salt. They come in gallon size plastic ags with approximately 25 pieces for $5. Hagood recommends eating them with pimento cheese, a slice of pickled okra, your favorite hot sauce, or even spicy BBQ rub. Great to get for the road, it is hard to just eat one bag, so we recommend grabbing a few!

Home Team BBQ: Fiery Ron's version of rinds are made with a BBQ rub and come with their homemade pimento cheese to dip them into. Part of Home Team's "Munchie" menu, they make for a great starter at one of the two locations. Or get them to go and enjoy after a late night music show or outing to help soak up the evening's Gamechanger consumption. They are also part of their catering buffet options and are a popular hit for rehearsal dinners or an actual true southern wedding meal. 

Warehouse: Charleston's newest kid on the block, the Warehouse opened its doors less than a month ago and already the buzz is about their focused and delicious bar style menu. Pork rinds are one of the best-selling items and although topped with pimento cheese, it is done so in a "cheese whiz" style, literally in a string like manner on top of each rind. 

Scott's BBQ: Even though Scott's BBQ is roughly an hour and a half drive from Charleston, it is well worth the trip for their bags of "skins" alone. A hot commodity, these delicious jewels are the result of pitmaster Rodney Scott's work, who has been cooking hogs since he was eleven. The skins come either off the hog or kettle fried, and either way, they are delicious! Asked about his secret ingredient and Scott blushes, "love, of course." 

If you're lucky, you might catch them at some high-end restaurants like The Grocery, Husk, McCrady's and The Macintosh who serve them on seasonal menus. Lowcountry Bistro on Market Street offer them for free for happy hour patrons. According to food writer and farmer Jeff Allen, the best fried skins are found at the Mexican tienda next to Pollo Tropical off Dorchester Road.