Cueritos: Pickled Pork Skin

Cueritos are pickled pork skin that make the perfect Mexican appetizer for game days or any other gaterhing. The tangy and salty flavor of this delicious snack is truly addictive!

Cueritos on a jar.

What are cueritos?

Cueritos (or cueritos en vinagre) refers to a preparation made by cooking and preserving pork skin in a vinegar and vegetable mixture. This dish is very popular and appreciated in the Mexican, Venezuelan, and Spanish cuisine.

The name is the diminutive of cueros (plural) which means “skin”. It can refers to either the uncooked pork skin or to the pickled version. When it’s added to other types of pork meat and deep fried, they become a part of “carnitas”, another Mexican traditional dish.

Closeup to pickled pork skin cueritos on a jar.

How are they made?

The pork skin is first cleaned to get rid of most of the fat attached to it, then boiled twice or three times to finally preserve them in a vinegar mixture. Sometimes they will also include vegetables like carrots, onions, chili peppers, etc.

Where to buy them?

Pickled pork rinds are sold by weight in stores and supermarkets in Mexico. Outside the country, they can be find jarred at many Latin supermarkets or Amazon. But to be honest, it is pretty simple to make them at home and the flavor and quality is far superior.

Various store-bought cueritos brands.

How are they served?

In Mexico, cuernitos are commonly used to garnish other dishes, such as tacos dorados, tostadas, sopes, or enchiladas. Is also often served as a botana (appetizer) drizzled with Valentina salsa, and lime juice. They make the perfect accompaniment for Micheladas.

Those pickled pork skins are also a key ingredient in the preparation of other appetizers, such as tostilocos or dorilocos, or placed over chicharrones preparados (crispy rinds of flour with various toppings).

The ingredients

  • PORK SKIN: For this recipe I bought the rinds in the supermarket, they came already cut into strips and cleaned. However, I had to clean them further with a brush and plenty of water, then pluck some hair they had still attached.
  • VINEGAR: I used white wine vinegar, other types of vinegar, such as distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar are also good options.
  • SPICES: Garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and salt are used to cook and preserve cueritos.
  • VEGETABLES: I used carrots, onions, and jalapeño peppers. You can also use broccoli, potatoes (boiled), green beans or cauliflower.
Cueritos prepared on a large glass dish.

The step by step recipe

Wash the pork skin very well under running cold water, then place them on a large pot and cover them with plenty of water.

A collage with raw pork skin washed and placed on a pot with water.

Cook the skins

Put the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Allow to cook for about 30 minutes.

Cooked pork skin (cueritos) on a pot.

Drain the water and discard, then wash very well the rinds with cold water and cut them into small pieces.

Cooked pork skin cut into small pieces on a cutting board.

Return the pork skins to the pot and cover with water. Add 2 cups of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of salt, 2 bay leaves and 1 garlic clove.

Adding vinegar to the pot with cueritos and spices.

Place the pot over medium heat and cook until cueritos are very soft. It can take from 40 to 60 minutes.

Cooked pork skin pieces.

Drain the cooking water and discard it, then rinse again the pork skins with cold water and place them in a large glass container.

Cooked pork skins on a glass container, seen from above.

Make the garnish

Heat olive oil on a cooking pan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, chilies, garlic cloves, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Sauté for 2 minutes or until veggies start to soften.

Sautéed vegetables and spices on a pan.

Remove pan from the heat and add one cup of vinegar, salt, and oregano. Mix well and allow to rest until the mixture reaches room temperature.

Vegetables covered with vinegar.

Prepare cueritos

Add the vegetables mixture to the bowl with the cooked pork skins. Pour in one part of vinegar for every 3 parts of water to cover for about half inch all the ingredients. Add salt and mix well, then cover with cling film. Leave cueritos to rest overnight.

The cueritos covered with vinegar mixture.

Store

Next day, transfer cueritos to clean jars or a large container. You can use sterilized jars and store them for up to 6 months. Otherwise, store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Read more about how to sterilize jars for canning.

Recipe notes

  • Pork skins need to be very clean and with almost not fat attached to the skin. Ask your butcher to clean them for you or use a ver shard knife to cut the fat yourself.
  • Cook very well the skins, they have to be very soft because once they cool down and rest overnight, they will become a little hard.
  • Don’t skip cooking the pork cueritos twice, the first time is just for a little bit to get rid of the smell and strong taste. There are recipes that calls even to cook them 3 times, is up to you and the quality of pork skin you bought.
  • When rinsing the pork skins, make sure you’re doing it under running water, this allow to get rid of unpleasant smells.
  • If you don’t like spicy food, skip the jalapeño pepper or cut it longwise and discard veins and seeds.
  • The vinegar mixture is 1:3, means when you covering the ingredients with it, if you use 3 cups of water, you need 1 cup of vinegar.
  • Cueritos need to be always covered with the vinegar mixture to prevent them from going bad. Use plenty of water and vinegar mixture.
Cueritos recipe for pickled pork skin.

Cueritos (Mexican pickled pork skins)

Cueritos are pickled pork skin that make the perfect Mexican appetizer for game days or any other gaterhing.
PREP 30 minutes
COOK 1 hour 20 minutes
TOTAL 1 hour 50 minutes
No ratings yet
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Servings: 10

Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ lb uncooked pork skin (cleaned)
  • 1 small onion (sliced)
  • 2 small carrots (sliced)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (sliced)
  • white wine vinegar (as needed)
  • 4 bay leaves (divided)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt (as needed)

Instructions

Cook the skins

  • Wash the pork skin very well under running cold water, then place them on a large pot and cover them with plenty of water.
  • Boil over medium heat for about 30 minutes.
  • Discard the cooking water, then wash very well the skins with cold water and cut them into small pieces.
  • Place the skins on a pot and cover with water. Add vinegar, 1 tablespoon of salt, 2 bay leaves and 1 garlic clove.
  • Cook over mediud heat until pork skin pieces are very soft. From 40 to 60 minutes.
  • Discard cooking water, then rinse again with running cold water and place the pieces in a large glass container.

Make the garnish

  • Heat olive oil on a cooking pan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, jalapeño, skinless garlic cloves, the remaining bay leaves, and peppercorns. Sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Remove pan from the heat and add one cup of vinegar, salt, and oregano. Mix well and allow to rest until the mixture reaches room temperature.

Prepare cueritos

  • Add the vegetables mixture to the container with cooked pork skins. Pour in one part of vinegar for every 3 parts of water to cover for about 1-inch all the ingredients.
  • Add salt and mix well, then cover with cling film. Leave cueritos to rest overnight.

Store

  • Next day, transfer cueritos to clean jars or a large container with cover and store in fridge for up to 2 weeks (read notes).

notes

  • Pork skins need to be very clean and with almost not fat attached to the skin. Ask your butcher to clean them for you or use a ver shard knife to cut the fat yourself.
  • Cook very well the skins, they have to be very soft because once they cool down and rest overnight, they will become a little hard.
  • Don’t skip cooking the pork cueritos twice, the first time is just for a little bit to get rid of the smell and strong taste. There are recipes that calls even to cook them 3 times, is up to you and the quality of pork skin you bought.
  • When rinsing the pork skins, make sure you’re doing it under running water, this allow to get rid of unpleasant smells.
  • If you don’t like spicy food, skip the jalapeño pepper or cut it longwise and discard veins and seeds.
  • The vinegar mixture is 1:3, means when you covering the ingredients with it, if you use 3 cups of water, you need 1 cup of vinegar.
  • Cueritos need to be always covered with the vinegar mixture to prevent them from going bad. Use plenty of water and vinegar mixture.
Nutrition
Serving: 2oz | Calories: 60kcal
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