Behind the Seasoning: Chicharron Salt
It's finally time to reveal our latest product and we're so excited about it, we're declaring August 17th National Chicharron Day in its honor! But the concept for Chicharron Salt wasn't built in a day...
The concept for Chicharron Salt wasn't built in a day...
A few years back, the Bacon Salt craze consumed the culinary world and we started getting a lot of requests from customers for it. Typically, when this happens, Savory Spice co-founder Mike Johnston tries to jump right on it and create a great new product to supply the demand. This was no exception.
What is the story behind Chicharron Salt?
One of the first steps when we are trying to create a new blend based on a pre-existing concept is to get some, try it out, and see what all the fuss is about. After a quick Google search, a few different bacon salts were headed our way. When they arrived, we gathered some eager testers to give them a taste. That is when our bacon salt bubble burst. We had assumed others would use real bacon, but it was clear from the chemical aftertaste that they hadn’t.
Any kid growing up in the 70’s or 80's will remember bacon bits, and to be honest, probably loved them! After all, what was better than a spoonful of those salty, crunchy, bright red little nuggets heaped onto a thousand island dressing-soaked salad bar salad during those big nights out at the Sizzler. (Please say that's not just an 'us' thing!)
But we digress. As a key to create a new seasoning, we suddenly hated them and knew that success would require further exploration.
What is in Chicharron Salt?
Savory Spice co-founder Mike Johnston explains how this elusive flavor finally came to be.
I ordered some bacon bits to see if there was a way that I could spice my way around that artificial, chemical taste. It quickly became apparent that there was no good way to balance that distinctive and unpleasant flavor, so I shelved the whole bacon salt concept. In my head, I knew I’d probably come back to it eventually, as I’ve done before with other blends. Tikka Masala, now one of our top selling curries, had to be shelved a few times before I got it exactly right.
When I was in the Carolinas chasing BBQ a couple summers ago I tried some fresh batches of pork rinds offered for sale at most of the whole hog joints. I loved these fresh cracklins (a southern term for pork rinds or chicharonnes)! They were light and airy with a nice fresh crunch. They were even better when I hit them with the local combination of hot pepper and vinegar sauce...and that’s when the light bulb went on in my head. Screw the bacon salt, I’m going to create Chicharron Salt!
Back in the test kitchen, with spice particles in the air, I mixed up a few concoctions. When I mixed vinegar powder and chiles into the chicharron salt, we had a clear winner. Then I got cold feet. I’m confident in our seasoning making capabilities around here, but we never really had to deal with a meat product that has a shelf life.
After doing our due diligence and approval from the USDA, sourcing a vinegar product that works as a preservative to increase the shelf life, and passing a 12-month shelf life test with the Colorado State University Food Processing Lab, my concerns were alleviated. Meaty, tangy, spicy goodness was on the way!
How do you use Chicharron Salt?
Try a sprinkle on just about anything!
- Avocado halves (or avocado toast)
- Caprese salad (tomato, mozzarella & basil)
- Watermelon or cantaloupe (a play on the classic melon & prosciutto combo)
- Deviled eggs (or eggs any style!)
- Homemade pretzels
- French fries
- Corn on the cob or grilled veggies
- Mac & cheese
- Grilled fish or shrimp skewers
- Ice cream
- Salted Watermelon Slushie: Our spin on salted watermelon, only as a drink with a Chicharron Salt rim.
- Chicharron Salt Crusted Trout: Chicharron Salt and fish is a surprisingly delicious combination. Perfect for camping trips and weeknight meals alike.
- Avocado Tempura: A quick-to-prepare, crispy snack dusted with Chicharron Salt. These delicious little bites would be perfect by themselves or in an avocado taco (top with the salsa verde below!)
- Chicharron Salted Salsa Verde: An extremely quick and simple salsa verde that can be served with chips or any of your favorite Mexican-style dishes. Excellent as a topping for fish tacos.
Chicharron Salt in the Press:
“Savory’s Chicharron Salt is already a staple at my house. We eat it on everything: blistered shishitos, fried eggs, cantaloupe, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado…everything.” — Amanda M. Faison, 5280 Magazine Contributor