Posts Tagged ‘pork’

Snack Food Review: “Britains Best Pork Scratchings” “Pork Scratchings by post”

30 September, 2010

AN unusually quick review this evening. Mostly because there’s not much to say about this particular snack food. Why post at all? Because I know there are a LOT of people out there who love their pork scratchings as much as I do, which is why I picked up this enigmatic bag whilst in Cardiff recently.

“Britains Best Pork Scratchings” “Pork Scratchings by post” bag

At a stall in the temporary outdoor foot market in Cardiff Bay was a purveyor of pork scratchings. For £2 per bag, you get this large, transparent bag. The only thing to describe about it is the business card contained within.

“Britains Best Pork Scratchings” “Pork Scratchings by post” card

There you have it. Going by their pricing, what looks like good value pork scratchings by post. You have to admire the ambition of calling them “Britains Best Pork Scratchings”.

The Yahoo.co.uk email address hints at the fact that they don’t have a website. And the “quite” typo which should probably read as “Keep the old man quiet gift”, confirming that these aren’t the product of a large manufacturer.

Every single one of these packaging quirks and shortcomings can be immediately forgiven if the scratching are delicious. I’m looking for decent sized pieces, flavour and taste without excessive-salting and a generously sized bag. Well, we’re off to a flying start with that last point.

“Britains Best Pork Scratchings” “Pork Scratchings by post” close up

Here’s a photo of the first few pieces I grabbed. Hoping that they’re representative, you’ve got to say that they haven’t skimped on size. The porky and seasoned smell is not bad either, plus they’re not too greasy to the touch.

What are they like? Some pieces are hard as granite, some have soft porkiness. Seasoning, if there’s any at all, is light and I can barely taste the salt.

What do I like so far? I’m loving that they are straightforward, uncomplicated, good value pork scratching. The variety and hand-made feel are all good.

What don’t I like so far? If you’re looking for a sophisticated, seasoned snack, this isn’t for you. Some of the harder bits are also nearly as hard to chew as boiled sweets.

To sum up, these seemingly unbranded pork scratchings “by post” are good. If you like your pork scratchings to be traditional, straightforward and uncomplicated, these are for you. If you do have a dad or uncle who likes traditional pork scratching with a bottle of ale, I’ve no doubt these would be a great little gift. Now I’m going to stop eating, and save the rest of the bag for when I have a beer to enjoy them with.

Have you tried these? What did you think of them? Are you the man who made them? If so, then leave a comment below!

Snack Food Review: MS Authentic Black Country Pork Crunch Savoury Pork Snack

12 August, 2009

I WASN’T going to do another one of these, but the combination of my curiosity and your enthusiastic response to MS’ Traditional Pork Scratchings convinced otherwise. From Costcutter on Brick Lane, here is a bag of MS Pork Crunch; an Authentic Black Country Savoury Pork Snack.

MS Pork Crunch front of bag

First impressions are that they didn’t exactly splash out on the packaging. There’s little to disguise the fact that this is a transparent plastic bag. Nevertheless, it says everything you need to know. Plus you see exactly what you’re getting.

If, like me, you remembering how delicious MS’ Traditional Pork Scratchings were, you won’t care that it looks like it was made on a kitchen table. You will already have pulled one from the cardboard shop display that pork snacks are, for some reason, hung on in shops.

The back of the bag has much the same details as MS’ Traditional Pork Scratchings.

MS Pork Crunch back of bag

The top ingredients are pork rinds and salt. So you might want to skip these if you care about health. If health isn’t your thing, your teeth might be. If that didn’t put you off, they still recommend it only for “people with strong healthy teeth”. Besides the story about them producing Authentic Black Country pork snacks for over twenty-five years, the only other detail worth reading is the address where they came from. And yes, it was “produced in the heart of the Black Country” in Wolverhampton no less.

So what are MS Pork Crunch like? How to they compare to other “Seasoned Pork Rind” snacks? I’m looking forward to finding out.

MS Pork Crunch close-up

MS Pork Crunch are surprisingly easy to describe. They are big, chunky, crunchy, meaty, tasty Quavers. If normal Quavers are too feeble for you, you will love Pork Crunch. Unlike every other seasoned pork rind, this is the easiest to eat of the whole lot. I don’t know why they have the “healthy teeth” message. They are about as challenging as a thick-cut crisp.

What am I enjoying about MS Pork Crunch? A lot of things. They are a lot of fun to eat. And they taste of pork. Not too salty either. This could go very well with some light, summery ale. I also love how they do something different with the pork rind formula. I’ve not yet seen anything else on the shelves like this.

What am I not enjoying about MS Pork Crunch? Very little. Some people will say that they aren’t real pork scratchings because it isn’t as hard as granite. It’s also hard to find. And when you do find it, there’s a good chance that they have already passed their “Best Before” date. Frustratingly, they do not have a long shelf-life.

To sum up, MS Authentic Black Country Pork Crunch is a delicious snack food. They are chunky, porky Quavers. They are unlike any pork scratchings I’ve tried before. And just like that other MS pork snack, I think it is worth your time and money to look out for this tasty post-beer snack when you do your shopping.

Have you tried MS Pork Crunch? What did you think of it?

Do please leave your angry criticisms, praise, opinions, corrections, suggestions and places to buy here in the comments.

Snack Food Review: Mr. Porky Pork Crackles

1 May, 2009

AMAZINGLY, people started reading my quick reviews of pork scratchings. So, for those people, here is another one: Mr. Porky Pork Crackles.

Mr. Porky Pork Crackles front of bag

If you missed the story so far, let me re-cap. Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings were mostly big and tasty, but too salty. Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings were smaller, tasty and not as salty, but still too salty. MS Authentic Black Country Traditional Pork Scratchings on the other hand were big, tasty, not too salty and brilliant.

Mr. Porky Pork Crackles back of bag

The back of this small bag is much the same as the back of the other Mr. Porky bags. There’s a message telling you not to attempt them if you have dodgy teeth. There’s an address for their parent company, Red Mill Snack Foods Ltd in the West Midlands. There’s a website address of www.mrporky.co.uk. A list of ingredients which reassuringly for your heart, lists “Pork Rind, Pork Fat” and “Salt” as their chief ingredients. And there is a table of nutrition information with big numbers next to protein and fat.

How are pork crackles different to pork scratchings? What are they like? Should you try them? Let’s find out…

Mr. Porky Pork Crackles open bag close-up

How are pork crackles different to scratchings? They don’t have the chewy porky bit. These are just the crackly, fatty surface. The result is a much tougher, crunchy and harder to eat snack.

What do they taste like? Much of the porky taste came from the bit below the crackle. That makes these pork crackles lack any real porky taste. And, although seasoned, you can’t taste much else at all. Maybe there’s some hints of something peppery, but mostly it’s salt.

What do I like about Mr. Porky Pork Crackles? They might not be perfect, but they get the job done. They are a crunchy and tasty snack. If you’re not looking for anything more, these are perfectly fine.

What don’t I like about Mr. Porky Pork Crackles? Well, their too small. About the size of popcorn is too small to be a real, meaty snack. They don’t have enough porky material to deliver a porky taste. That leaves the taste in the hands of the underwhelming seasoning. And you just can’t escape how salty they are. Not as bad as some, but still saltier than you’d like. And your fingers get covered in grease and seasoning dust.

To sum up, Mr. Porky Pork Crackles deliver a slight variation on the pork scratchings formula, but, like the other Mr. Porky’s, they fall into the trap of being too salty. Yes, they’re perfectly fine. I’ll happily scoff many more bags of them. But maybe it’s time for a new and improved Mr. Porky with more taste and less salt?

Have you tried Mr. Porky Pork Crackles? What did you think of them?

Do please leave your opinions, corrections, requests, recommendations and places to buy, here in the comments.

Snack Food Review: MS Authentic Black Country Traditional Pork Scratchings

15 April, 2009

BOTH bags of pork scratchings that I’ve tried so far have been from Mr. Porky. And both have been excellent. But they’re not the only pork in town. Here is a bag of MS Traditional Pork Scratchings from a convenience store on Brick Lane.

MS Authentic Black Country Pork Snacks Traditional Pork Scratchings front

The MS name at the top has a border with words describing it as “Authentic Black Country Pork Snacks”. To hammer home the point, most of the bag is coloured black. Under the window into the bag’s contents, are the reassuring words “Finest quality Hand cooked Seasoned Pork Rind”. I don’t know about you, but the words “Traditional” and “Hand cooked” are making me salivate.

MS Authentic Black Country Pork Snacks Traditional Pork Scratchings back of bag

The back of the bag has lots of information on it. It opens with the list of ingredients which, happily, starts with pork rinds. Less happily for your heart, the second ingredient is salt. There are lots of other ingredients, some natural, some not, but all too boring to list here.

Helpfully, they have allergy advice. And there’s a big table of nutritional information. But unless you want to shock yourself with the huge fat and sodium figures, it’s best not to read it.

On the other column is the few sentences you want to read. They tell us that they’ve been making these pork scratchings for over 25 years. And that they use an “Authentic Black Country recipe”. Also making an appearance is that familiar warning that it is “Only Recommended For People With Strong Healthy Teetch”. Sound advice indeed for this kind of snack.

Also on the back of the bag, they tease you with a hint of another, probably tasty snack “Try our Authentic Black Country Pork Crunch”. Darn, that’s another snack I’ve got to look out for. If you find it before I do, leave a comment letting me know what it’s like.

The label closes with their “Heart of the Black Country” postal address. An address of Midland Snacks Limited in Wolverhampton. Apparently the Internet hasn’t reached that corner of the Black Country yet as they have no website or email address.

What are MS Traditional Pork Scratchings like? How do they compare to the Mr. Porky I’ve tried so far? I’m looking forward to finding out.

MS Authentic Black Country Pork Snacks Traditional Pork Scratchings open bag

First impressions are that these a big pieces. Maybe even bigger than Mr. Porky Prime Cut. But, like Prime Cut, there’s a variety of big and small. Somehow, these don’t look as dusty. In fact, they don’t look as well done. They look a little less crispy.

To eat, the taste is a pleasant porky seasoning. Not too salty. There’s just a gentle taste of pork and of things like pepper which must be the seasoning.

The texture depends on what the piece you eat happens to look like. If it’s a small and crinkly bit, it will be like chewing on gravel. Pick up a bigger piece, and it’s like eating some fresh, chewy pork with a crunchy top. And that seems to be what MS Traditional Pork Scratchings are about.

What am I enjoying about MS Authentic Black Country Traditional Pork Scratchings? I like how different they are to the competition. These have a decent sized chuck of regular pork attached to a decent sized layer of crunchy rind. All of which tastes good and isn’t like pouring a sachet of salt into your mouth. I also like how easy they are on the teeth compared to some of the competition.

What don’t I like about MS Traditional Pork Scratchings? They’re hard to find down here. Who know if I’ll ever get to try their Pork Crunch. Some people might object to the non-crunchy bit of the rind. Not me though. I can’t even criticise them for not having many in a bag, because they’ve compensated by having a lager than-you’d-expect bag. If you genuinely like pork scratchings, there’s like to criticise about them.

How can I sum up MS Authentic Black Country Traditional Pork Scratching? They are an excellent snack. If the strong saltiness or gravel-like texture of other pork scratchings puts you off, then try these. As far as I can tell, they are the real ale of the pork scratchings world.

Manufacturers, if you can top these, then get in touch. If you’ve tried MS Traditional Pork Scratchings, do please leave your opinions, corrections, requests, recommendations and places to buy here in the comments.

Snack Food Review: Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings Seasoned Pork Rind

15 March, 2009

WHAT goes better with a bottle of ale, than a small bag of crinkly pork fragments that are as crunchy as gravel? Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings made by Red Mill Snack Foods Ltd in Wednesbury, West Midlands, were inconsistent, but tasty. Here is the ubiquitous (you can find them in most corner shops) cousin of Prime Cut Scratchings, Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings. The down-to-earth, straightforward seasoned pork rind pork scratchings.

Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings front of bag

There’s not much to say about the front. It’s unmistakeably a Mr. Porky snack. They are, apparently, “Best Ever”. I’ll take their word on that. What does the back say?

Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings back of bag

No, not much different to the other Mr. Porky pork scratchings. That’s good, because it means I can whizz through what it says without dwelling on the boring small print. If you want to read absolutely everything, then read my post about Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings here.

The main ingredients are, unsurprisingly, pork rind, pork fat and salt. There’s a few other things too, but, pleasingly, no E numbers. The full address of Red Mill Snack Foods Ltd is on there in case you want to write to them. But I think you should go to their fun little website at www.mrporky.co.uk instead.

There’s also a big table of Nutrition Information where you can read about how much fat and salt you’re about to consume. But you don’t want to worry yourself by reading it. Make the most of these snacks now. Quickly. Before the nanny-state bans them or slaps a tax on them.

So, what do Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings look like? What do they taste like? And should you buy them? These questions I shall answer now…

Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings open bag close up

They are smallish pieces and tiny pieces of seasoned pork rind. About the size of popcorn. They smell a little of salt and seasoning. But not very strongly.

What do they taste like? They taste of seasoning and salt. I can’t taste much pork in there, but it is there. Hiding in the background. There’s nothing strong about the way Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings taste.

They’re not very tough on the teeth either. These are crunchy with very occasional chewiness. The crunchiness isn’t hard going like some pork scratchings. Just satisfyingly crunchy.

What do I like about Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings? I like the easy to eat crunchiness compared to hard as rock other pork scratchings. The taste isn’t off-putting in anyway. Even the most timid of snackers will be able to stomache the lightly salted and seasoned Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings.

What about the downsides? Well this ubiquitous little bag is so little, that you don’t get much for your money. You’ll have finished them before you’ve even begun. If you want extreme crunchiness or taste, you won’t find it here, either.

How can I sum up Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings? Quite easily. They are simple, straight forward, adequately tasty and easy to eat. For pork scratchings that is. Almost so inoffensive, you could call them boring. No wander they are what nearly every corner shop in the land chooses to stock.

Have you tried Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings? Do you work for Red Mill? What do you think of them? Do please leave your opinions, corrections, requests, recommendations and places to buy here in the comments.

Snack Food Review: Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings

20 January, 2009

SINCE I started writing this blog, I’ve wanted to find the perfect pork scratchings. Why? Because pork scratchings are one of the most honest, simple and tasty snack foods you can buy. Not to mention that they can round off a bottle of ale perfectly.

Crisps just aren’t as meaty. Probably because they aren’t made of meat. But pork scratchings are. So, if your religion allows, you owe it to yourself to try a packet of pork scratchings the next time you enjoy a bottle or pint of ale. As long as your religion doesn’t forbid that also.

So where do we start? The choice in shops isn’t exactly overwhelming. Tesco was my starting point and it produced this: a large 35g bag of Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings. Which I think puts this at the premium end of the market.

Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings front of bag

Mr. Porky himself, a jolly looking butcher type, makes an appearance on this, and the rest of the Mr. Porky range. These are, apparently “New”. And this “Seasoned Pork Rind” to give it it’s proper name is made with “Extra Big Pieces”. Yummy.

What of the back of the bag?

Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings back of bag

There’s quite a lot on here. And, in my experience, it’s much the same as what’s on the back of most packets of pork scratchings. There’s a quality guarantee in the form of “Mr. Porky’s Pledge”. There’s a red warning that only people with strong teeth should ever think of eating the contents.

The ingredients list starts off with “pork rind, pork fat, salt”. And that tells you everything you need to know about what it is and what it’ll taste like. It does contains wheat gluten and soya though, so watch out if you can’t eat those things.

There’s a whole table of nutrition information. But you’re about to eat almost pure fat and salt, so you don’t want to read what it says. Really, you don’t want to know how much fat you’re about to eat.

Elsewhere, we learn that this was made by Red Mill Snack Foods Ltd from Wednesbury in the West Midlands. And, if you want to, you can go to their website at www.mrporky.co.uk. On their website, which looks almost exactly like most brewers websites, we learn that this is just one of four types Mr. Porky’s. That’s going to make my search for the perfect pork scratching go on a bit longer than expected.

And that’s about it from the bag. All that remains is to open it up and sample the piggy goodness within. What will they taste like? And should you buy them? Lets find out.

Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings open bag

What do they look like? Curly bits of pork Some big, but at least an equal number of small pieces. They look very very thoroughly cooked, with top and bottom of each piece being the same yellowy colour. Plenty of seasoning too. My hands are covered in dusty seasoning and grease.

What are they like to eat? In a couple of words, crunchy and tasty. The meaty part is soft and the crackly part is crunchy. Together, they have a texture you won’t find in any other type of snack.

They taste mildly of pork. Not as much as you’d think. And that’s probably because of the seasoning and salt.

What am I enjoying about Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings? I like it that there’s some fairly big pieces in the bag. I like the salty seasoning that isn’t too strong. And that it’s well made.

There are one or two problems however. For a start, Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings are supposed to be “Extra Big Pieces”. Sure, there are some big pieces in there. But only about a third of them were. The rest were the normal small size. And that’s disappointing. There’s inconsistency in other ways too. Some of them are soft with a crunchy crackly top. Others are so well done that they’re all crunchy and as hard as granite. Still, it does keep you on your toes.

Are Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings the perfect pork scratching? I don’t know. I haven’t had enough to know. They are delicious though. I heartily recommend them. I can’t help thinking that there are better pork scratchings lurking somewhere out there in the British Isles. Or possibly beyond.

Have you tried Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings? Do you work for Red Mill Snack Foods? Then do, please, leave a comment here with your corrections, opinions, requests and recommendations.


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