Crispy Pata

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Recipe by Gravity84. Wikified by Kenning.

Crispy Pata
PAH tah


Heart-stoppingly good, crispy, crunchy, braised-till-tender then deep fried pork legs and knuckles. Skin, meat, cartilage, tendons, all deliciously tender and gelatin laden on the inside, golden brown and crackling on the outside, dipped in a savory/spicy vinegar to cut through the porky deep fried goodness. This stuff makes funnel cakes and deep fried twinkies blush.

I like to do two at a time, because two fit on the bottom of my pressure cooker snugly without resorting to more layers, therefore requiring less water, which requires less salt, less time to bring to pressure, and so on.

2 pork feet with hocks and knuckles, whole. Sometimes you'll find it cut into thick shank steaks. You can use these, but when it gets tender you'll have to be very careful with it or it will fall apart.
Water to cover by an inch
3 bay leaves
2 tsp peppercorns, whole
1 tbsp fish sauce
5 cloves garlic, crushed

Dissolve salt in water and add to pot with pata and herbs/spices. Simmer till tender, or bring to pressure and cook for 30-40 minutes. Drain carefully and drip dry on a cooling rack on a cookie sheet. Cool on countertop until cool enough to transfer to the fridge. You want it chilled for at least a few hours, preferrably overnight. You want the pata cold and dry before you fry. Like sisig and lumpia, you can bypass a lot of the prep work by doing big batches and freezing; braise the hocks ahead of time and freeze them individually, in a foodsaver bag or ziploc. Just defrost and pat dry before deep frying.

Note: Do not skip the cooling/drying stage. It's important to allow the gelatin released by the boiling to set to keep the leg from disintegrating in the fryer. You may want one of those flat wire mesh splatter guards, frying this much cartilage and skin gets pretty splattertastic.

In a deep stockpot or cast iron dutch oven heat oil to about 400 degrees and carefully lower in the braised, cooled, dried pata. You will get a huge drop in temperature, just keep the temp somewhere between 350 and 375 and you should be fine. Fry till golden brown and delicious.

Serve with:

Sukang may Toyo

3/4 cup cane vinegar or distilled white
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 scallion, chopped
1-2 siling labuyo (birdseye chili) to taste, cut into little coins.
Salt and pepper to taste

Googling some recipes I see that some have people braising with 7up, or adding baking soda. I've never done any of that, but you can try it if you want to.

Here's a link to an oven roasted method. I've never tried it, and I'm skeptical it will make it any healthier. The legs are already really fatty and I don't think baking will render out more fat than deep frying. Yes, I'm making an argument that submersing in oil is less fatty than roasting, and I think I'm right for this particular instance.