NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - After the bacon. Before the barbecue. Somewhere between pork chops and ham hocks. There's almost nothing left to pull out of a pig.
That's where this story starts with a question from WGNO News with a Twist features reporter Wild Bill Wood.
"When there's nothing left but leftovers from the poor pig, then what do you have?" Wild Bill wonders.
The answer is, cracklins. Those chunky chunks of fried pork skin, meat and fat.
It's a vegetarian's bad dream come true. And it's the dish of the day every day of the week for Jake Dufreche.
Jake is from Ponchatoula, Louisiana. He's had a ten-year career in cooking and catering.
And now Jake Dufreche is Louisiana's Cracklin Man.
Where in the world did he learn how to cook cracklins?
Jake is a graduate of the CIA, the Culinary Institute of America in New York. He's trained in classic French cooking.
The French chef got his latest job in River Ridge, Louisiana at Tres Bon . It's a brand new Cajun meat market and deli.
Customers who come in to Tres Bon become guinea pigs for Jake the Cracklin Man.
After a taste test of what he cooks, their taste buds fly right to hog heaven.
They know the true test of good cracklins in the crunch.
Wild Bill Wood finds customers who know the crunch.
It's snap, crackle, crunch.
Cracklins are no microwave meal. Cooking them is a four-hour ordeal. It takes time. It's like fine wine. It's deep fried fine art.
That makes Jake the Cracklin Man also the Picasso of Pork.
Jake says he's more like a baby sitter. He keeps track of his little pork babies until they're all grown up into adult cracklins, lip smacking, waistline stretching cracklins.