PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds Are Scary Snackable (and Totally Vegan)
What do Shark Tank’s Matt Higgins, Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, Emily Deschanel and Cesar Millan have in common? They’re all investors in Outstanding Foods, a plant-based brand that invented the first-ever vegan pork rinds. Take it from Snoop Dogg: PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds are one cure for the munchies you don’t want to pass on.
Created by the inventor of the ever-popular Beyond Burger, Chef Dave Anderson, these pork rinds are *technically* not pork rinds at all. Real pork rinds, also called cracklings, are traditionally made of fried pig skin. PigOut’s pork rinds, on the other hand, are 100 percent vegan, thanks to main ingredients rice, sunflower oil, pea protein and pea grits. But that doesn’t stop them from being a pretty uncanny plant-based copycat. Because they’re baked instead of fried, they’re just as crispy as traditional pork rinds without the extra calories. But they are notably less greasy, less salty and have a lighter mouthfeel and crunch since they’re free of sticky animal collagen.
They’re also pretty good for you too, especially compared to real pork rinds. This alternative has 75 percent less sodium and 67 percent less saturated fat. A single serving contains 130 calories, 13 grams of carbs and 7 grams of plant-based protein. If you snack like us though, odds are you don’t have the willpower to stop after an ounce. In that case, one full-size bag contains 450 to 460 calories and 25 grams of protein. These poppable snacks also have 6 grams of fat per serving (and 21 in the whole bag), but on the plus side, they’re free of gluten, sugar, soy, GMOs, trans fats and cholesterol.
Variety and single-flavor packs of both full- and snack-size bags are available starting at about $16. So, if you’re looking for something to munch on that isn’t potato chips, give these a go. After all, they come in five classic flavors that you already know and love.
The first thing you’ll notice when you open the bag is how surprisingly similar to pork rinds these plant-based ones look. Their shapes are random—some tight and curly, others large and rounded—just like the O.G. And despite these being the “plain” flavor of the bunch, they’re pretty darn flavorful, thanks to a seasoning blend of pea protein, yeast extract, sea salt and a hint of white vinegar. They’re ridiculously crunchy and have a mouthfeel similar to mini rice cakes, but not as Styrofoam-like and with more backbone.
We know what you’re thinking. Cheese? Isn’t that dairy? Not on these vegan gems it isn’t. The plant-based seasoning contains sea salt, yeast extract, onion, garlic, green bell pepper and tomato powders, spices and just a dash of jalapeño pepper. There’s an impressive creaminess that comes through and the seasoning blend masquerades as cheese powder surprisingly well. There’s also the slightest kick of heat that compliments the mild, almost buttery flavor in the best way.
Damn, these smell so delicious. Just like the potato chips you can’t control yourself around, but also like a real-deal dry rub you’d put on steak or chicken. The seasoning is a mostly a mix of cane sugar, tomato powder, natural smoke flavor, paprika, garlic and sea salt, which tastes like a perfect balance of sweet and savory. Of all five flavors, this one feels the naughtiest to us because it truly echoes a worse-for-you snack, so you can feel like you’re indulging without the extra junk.
If you like your snacks spicy, you’re in for a treat. Just updated with a hotter-than-ever new formula, these are, well…hella hot. A mix of paprika, white vinegar, paprika extract, habanero pepper and spices packs a punch that’s salty, spicy and savory while you chew. Afterwards, the heat lingers on your tongue and in the back of your throat (your lips might even get tingly!). Spice wise, we’d say these are somewhere between jalapeño kettle chips and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
Salt and Vinegar
This combo always makes us think of days spent by the ocean with our faces deep in a pile of salty steak fries drenched in malt vinegar. So, we were beyond psyched when we heard this new flavor was joining the ranks this summer. The moment the pork rind hits your tongue, you’ll feel that familiar bright acidity that vinegar is famous for. But we will say that it fades pretty quickly, and the saltiness is pretty on par with the other four flavors. While they’re without a doubt tasty, there’s definitely room to jack up the seasoning’s intensity in our book. We’re not afraid to pucker up.