Chicken Crackling

Joined Jan 11, 2018
I work in a pub in Sydney, NSW. Recently I made a bunch of chicken crackling and threw it out on the bar for the sake of not wasting the skin. The hotel owner now wants to me to find a way to commercially make these, he will pay for proper packaging and everything else, but I'm unsure how to make them so they've decent expiration dates not be soft within a week. He wants to sell them behind the bar the same way you do jerky and whatnot with a percent of the profit going to myself. I really don't want to have to handle preservatives, is there a simple step i'm over looking that could help?
Thanks in advance!
Joined Oct 31, 2012
There is undoubtedly a Small Scale food producers organization in or near Sydney. Certainly there is some form of government agency that would handle issues like this. Contact them and see what regulations are involved and what they can recommend for product shelf life, etc.
Preservatives are not inherently bad or dangerous to handle. Salt is the original preservative. There are others of course but you don't know yet that you need any besides salt. You don't know how long they will last yet if they don't sell immediately or what kind of packaging will be appropriate. Depending on how much you can really sell, how quickly and other factors, you could decide on a shorter shelf life, different packaging, etc. If this is really profitable, you consider the value of setting aside time more or less often to produce a batch, depending on how many you can make in a batch, how much time they take to make, the availability of the skin, how quickly they sell, etc. .
Given the owners interest in paying for packaging, I'll assume you have a steady supply of chicken skins to make the cracklings with. What if sales take off? Will you be able to locate more skins and increase production?
In any event, lots to think about.
Joined Sep 26, 2017
If you can keep them air tight, they will last for months (up to forever). The only enemy of this thing is staleness (smelling like cardboard). The loss of crispiness usually comes at the same time it goes stale.

Just make sure to fry low and slow until it stops bubbling. Using too high a heat will give it a burnt taste even when it's still nice and golden in colour.
Joined Jan 11, 2018
Thanks Pat, I've been doing them in the oven instead of frying, gives a better shape / taste I reckon. Got the boss to buy a heat sealer and some packaging, going to try oxygen absorbers in the bags too. See how long we get out of them.
Joined Oct 1, 2006
I would think water/moisture migration is a bigger issue than oxygen.

I only know enough to be dangerous. You may want to get an experts opinion to avoid prolonged trail and error. The cost might be worth it.
Joined Jun 28, 2017
Food safe desiccant packets will be your friend for these - they help keep food from going stale. Oxygen absorbers are typically used for longer term food preservation as far as I know. You could also use vacuum bags, but that seems like it would have more downsides than upsides to me (takes longer, costs more, can break fragile crispy foods, harder for drunk people to open).

Three other things to consider:

1) When you pack an oily product into clear heat seal bags they can end up looking really smudgy/sloppy where the oil gets all over the inside of the bag (might not matter selling them in a bar, otherwise you can think about mylar or kraft barrier bags - although most consumer research shows that people buy more when they can see the product).

2) If you're selling the cracklings in heat seal bags, the portion size needs to be one single snack - otherwise the customer opens them, eats some, doesn't have a way to reseal it, and the rest of the cracklings go stale. So if you're selling a take-home size that's meant to last a few days it needs to be resealable.

3) What are the labeling requirements in your jurisdiction?
Top Bottom