When it comes to football fare, there really is nothing more apropos than pig skin. Sure, people tailgate and/or eat pizza, but pig skin dishes are really just more befitting considering footballs were notoriously made with the stuff. So in a way, you can get in on the action yourself by pretending to eat footballs! It's the closest to an NFL star you will get. Though rest assured that these dishes are certainly more delicious than any turf-laden football could ever be.
Some of the classiest pig skin can be found at Acadia as part of the tasting menu. It's actually pig ear, served with peach, Osmanthus apricot, and mustard. It's made with Berkshire pork and it's miles ahead of typical game day grub.
In case a dish of pork tripe and pig's feet wasn't porky enough, The Purple Pig enriches the dish with a smattering of pig skin breadcrumbs. Would you expect anything less of a restaurant with that moniker? There's also chicken sausage and black-eyed peas on the dish, in case you needed a break from the porcine feast.
Start your morning with pig skin and noodles at Yusho as part of their Sunday noodles brunch program. The lion's head features pork meatballs, rice noodles, cabbage, and a corona of crispy pig skin.
(Berkshire pig ear dish at Acadia. Photo: Anthony Tahlier)
For a more no-frills noodle experience, Tank Noodles adds pig skin to a spring roll appetizer. Of course, tossing shredded pork and crispy skin into a fresh, minty spring roll sort of negates the lightness of the dish, but it's all good.
The most pork-tastic appetizer in town might be the Eastern Thai sausage at Sticky Rice. This wildly legit Thai spot sets appetites and tongues aflame with its peppery, plump sausages, laden with rice, ground pork, and pig skin.
Get festive at Publican Quality Meats, which makes Cotechino sausages incorporating pig skin and what they call Christmas spices. Ho ho ho. Across the street at The Publican, the temple of pork is famous for their spicy pork rinds, which have been described as a sort of porky Cheetoh. 'Nuff said.
If you still have room for more puffy, cheesy pork rinds, get thee to Lillie's Q. The barbecue spot is perfectly befitting a footballer's appetite, especially when your meal kicks off with crackly pork rinds awash in pimento cheese powder.
Over at Owen & Engine, pork rinds veer in a spicy Mexican direction via mole seasonings. The fried pork skins are also enhanced with organic cheddar, because that's always a good idea.
(Pork rinds at The Publican. Photo: Derek Richmond)