In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Crispy fried pork with an explosive dipping sauce.


trinidad-fry-pork-recipeOne of my favorite memories growing up on the islands was visiting my uncle, who owned a very popular bar in the southern part of Trinidad. If you’ve ever been to the islands you know that not only are the bars “open” (not enclosed as in North America), it’s usually a hub of activity on a Friday evening. At his bar, most of the oil workers would congregate after a long weeks work and enjoy beverages with their friends. Loud music, people trying their best to be heard over the music and the occasional arguments was the norm.

As you would find “tappas” if you went into a bar in Spain, in Trinidad and Tobago our version is called “cutters” but pronounced “cuttas”. Usually deep fried meats, black pudding and slices of cheese in some cases. Served either on it’s own with lively hot sauces or made into a sandwich using a over-sized dinner roll.

I can still remember the smell of the frying pork we would get (they lived directly above the bar) as it made it’s way up the back stairs. Fatty, crispy.. but so full of flavor. Though this is not his recipe, I’ve asked around and came up with this version.

Let’s cook  “cuttas” …

You’ll need….

2 lbs pork belly

3 tablespoon salt

1 cup vinegar

Water

3 cups of oil (one that can take high heat)

In a fairly deep pot, place about 4-5 cups of water (try to average so the water will cover the piece of pork in the pot) and bring to a boil. Add the pork, 2 tablespoon salt and about 1/3 cup of vinegar. Allow to simmer on low to medium heat for about 45 minutes or so. Try to have the pork completely covered with water at all times.

caribbean-crispy-fried-pork

pork-recipe

Remove from the pot of water after about 45 minutes or so, then using a knife, make cuts on the skin of the pork (see picture below) in a diamond shape. I went in about 1/4  inch or so. Then brush with the remaining salt and vinegar throughout the piece of pork.

caribbean-recipe-for-pork

IMPORTANT. I screwed up this part, so please learn from my mistake. Place the oil into a DEEP pan. Something like a wok would be great, since it’s nice and wide. When I first made this recipe I ran into hot oil splashing all over the stove and kitchen, since I used a basic non stick (shallow) frying pan. What a mess! If you can… try making this outdoor if your BBQ has a side burner. Not only do you have to deal with the oil splashing about the kitchen.. the “fry” smell does take a while to leave the house.

Here’s a pic of the pan that caused all the problems for me…

pork-recipe-trinidad

Be very careful when placing the pork into the hot oil. BTW, heat the oil on high to medium heat, just before you see smoke. Timing will vary at this point, since I didn’t measure the temperature of the oil, so yours may vary. The idea is the get the skin golden and crispy. Yes, you will have to flip the pork as it fries.

fry-pork

deep-fried-pork

When it’s reached the desired color you like (ensure it’s nice and crispy), remove and cut into bit size pieces. I almost forgot the dipping sauce. this is so simple…

2 tablespoon ketchup

1 table spoon soy sauce

1/4 tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce (you can control the heat here..add more if you wish)

Here’s how Tehya (our middle daughter) makes this simple sauce. Combine everything in a small bowl and get ready to enjoy. I did say it was simple! Add a little crushed ginger if you’d like to take things up a notch or two.

There are several different recipes and preparation methods for crispy fried pork on the islands, many of which are influenced by the huge Chinese community.

Thoughts? Leave me a comment below.

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80 Comments

  1. James McLaughlin
    March 31, 2019 / 2:55 pm

    Hey Chris I You are the man, I am in love with all your dishes and will be a friend forever I love west Indies good and will die for it thanks again.

  2. Charlotte E Brown
    November 3, 2018 / 2:30 pm

    Hello,
    My name is Charlotte.

    I prepared your jerk chicken recipe for my family last Sunday. They (me too) loved it and are still talking about how wonderful it was. My husband doesn’t like spicy foods, so I didn’t use the habanero peppers. I used cayenne pepper instead.

    Thanks for the recipes.
    Charlotte

  3. Madeline
    April 28, 2017 / 6:32 pm

    Will try this weekend. Let you know

  4. Alice Loke
    May 2, 2016 / 7:01 am

    Chris, I looked through the recipe. Hope I can add something interesting. Instead of making cuts crisscross on skin, use a fish beater/scraper (?) and rub sea salt instead of ordinary salt. Rest the pork for awhile….30 mins or so. To make the skin real crispy have the temperature about 280 – 300 C. That is how we Chinese make roast pork (The skin is crunchy instead of hard.
    Regards,
    Alice

    • admin
      May 2, 2016 / 12:48 pm

      Much luv for the tip!

  5. Diana Samai
    February 28, 2016 / 8:02 pm

    great one but I don’t eat pork can try with beef let you know how it come out blessings

  6. Paul
    February 10, 2016 / 11:23 am

    could you not use a deep fat fryer instead? it would be a lot safer and most fat fryers have built in charcoal filters to stop the smell.

    • admin
      February 10, 2016 / 3:21 pm

      most def

  7. Mel
    March 8, 2015 / 1:52 pm

    Thanks so much for the recipe. I am a 32 year old Trinidadian woman and my family has been buying this all my life (and my dad’s too). I’ve never been able to figure out the recipe (the hot sauce is easy and can be made to individual taste though) I am going to try this right now.

  8. Cassilda van der Neut
    February 26, 2015 / 8:49 am

    Chris thanks for this recipe. Wow. We visited the Dominican Republic last year for holidays, and at one of their restaurants that was on their menu. We ordered it as part of our lunch, wow, we were hooked on it for the rest of the days of our vacation. The day before we left I made sure we ordered at least a sizeable package to take back home with us. Since then I have been searching the web for the recipe. I know I will surely try it. Thanks for making my week.

  9. Shawhay
    November 6, 2014 / 8:32 am

    Looks really great and mouth watering. Thanks a lot.

  10. October 8, 2014 / 7:37 pm

    Thank u. I would like to try this

  11. Wendy
    September 21, 2014 / 10:05 am

    I had an All Fours(card game in Trinidad) party last night and cooked the Crispy Pork as one of the cuttas. That was the first thing to finish.
    Love your recipes please keep them coming.
    By the way we lost the game. But we will get them next week.
    Have a great week.

  12. Shelly
    February 3, 2014 / 2:15 pm

    My day would love this one.

  13. Angela
    January 11, 2014 / 2:54 pm

    Love it! 🙂

  14. Andrew
    December 2, 2013 / 5:54 am

    How about some vegetarian dishes? My family and I are non meat eaters and although I will use the recipes to cook for guests I would really appreciate some non meat ideas.

  15. November 25, 2013 / 1:02 pm

    simply amazing. thanks chris

  16. Kate
    October 24, 2013 / 5:55 am

    Amazing!!!! I can’t wait to try it!!! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Sharon-Ann O
    September 5, 2013 / 8:21 am

    This looks simply delicious and so easy to prepare. I can’t wait to try it. I used to hear my father talk about cutters but never knew exactly what he meant. Thanks Chris for all that you do, it’s a real pleasure researching your recipes in the morning to plan my evening meal. My family is always raving about my newfound computer cookbook :). Have a great day.

  18. Layla_Wendy
    July 15, 2013 / 9:35 am

    I am glad with this recipee. You can buy it at the Chinese in Suriname, always wondering how they prepare it. So I will definately try it soon. Thank you Chris. And I think you have to dry your meat before baking in oil: otherwise: hmmmmmmm….. oil everywhere and IT IS HOTTTT… So take care, we still need you here…

  19. Percy
    June 2, 2013 / 12:27 pm

    Hi Chris,

    What oil do you recommend for High heat?

    Thanks,

    Percy

  20. DAWN
    April 2, 2013 / 10:41 am

    I can't wait to try this….I buy the fry pork in the domician bodega and it is Da Bomb, but expensive. Thank you Chris for your hard work and dedication.

    • brian
      May 16, 2013 / 9:42 am

      is it normal table salt or coarse salt

  21. Tricia
    March 1, 2013 / 10:33 am

    Don't eat pork but my partner would surely love this. Thanks

  22. Lloyd
    November 7, 2012 / 4:28 pm

    Hi Chris, this dish is great but when i do this dish for the sauce i do a brown sugar and honey reduce down with some pasata paint with a brush and rest for the jucies to intensify the meat before serving almost like sticky ribs……Nice with a green papaya salad and ice cold rum n lime lemonade. Tell me what you think Lloyd

  23. Indra
    October 4, 2012 / 12:53 am

    My granddaughter is the only one in my house who eats pork I'll try it on her.

  24. sayshe8
    August 30, 2012 / 6:42 pm

    I think I used a word that was too big for the site admins…they have removed my comment…
    To the site admins the meaning of the word is drool

  25. sayshe8
    August 30, 2012 / 6:38 pm

    With your recipe you have answered so many questions….I shall salivate until I make it

  26. Reecy
    July 18, 2012 / 2:36 pm

    This pork recipe looks really good will definitely be trying it out ..Thanks for all the wonderful recipes that you having been posting 🙂

  27. Lee Hatfield
    June 28, 2012 / 11:18 am

    Hi Chris,
    I really do enjoy your recipes.I have always been around food and cooking so I learnt to cook at a very early age.I also have had indian food all my life thanks to my maternal grandmother who not only was a great cook but taught me all about indian cuisine which I love. I have also had the privilege of living in Asia,(India and Sri Lanka) for a time which only enhanced my love of the food. The recipe you call cuttas,I know as chicharron,same recipe, same flavour.
    By the way I am from Belize,and have visited Trinidad a few times.the food for me is one of its selling points.Thanks for your recipes, my friend, keep them coming. Cheers.

  28. Ray (Tannam09)
    June 9, 2012 / 1:08 am

    Hi. I'm Ray, a Londoner living in Cornwall, England. I absolutely adore belly pork and this recipe looks the business; ideal for serving to my family and friends as a snack when we sit on the patio on a warm summer's evening. Accompanied by G 'n' T perhaps? Congrats on all your excellent recipes and thanks for the effort. Keep 'em comin'! Ray

  29. K Jones
    May 4, 2012 / 7:08 pm

    We lived right down the street from Kep and use to be tortured by the everyday fragrance when a new batch of pork is roasted. They are simply the best. Knew mr and mrs Kep and their kids.

    Jones

  30. Florence
    April 26, 2012 / 8:18 am

    Looks great! Wish I could taste.

    • KJones
      May 4, 2012 / 7:18 pm

      We lived right down the street from Kep and use to be tortured by the everyday fragrance when a new batch of pork is roasted. They are simply the best. Knew mr and mrs Kep and their kids.

  31. Joanne Williams
    March 21, 2012 / 7:09 am

    Hi am Joanne, i LOVE pork, and this looks mmmmmmmm deliciousoooo, am trying this one soon

  32. sandra
    March 3, 2012 / 2:04 pm

    sorry it looks nice but don't do pork

  33. Sandra
    January 2, 2012 / 11:02 pm

    Hi Chris,

    I do hope that your family and you had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. I tried the Cripsy Fried Pork and it was delicious, my daughter and I enjoyed it. Thank you so much for this recipe and enjoy the rest of the year.

  34. jenneil
    October 30, 2011 / 2:04 pm

    i rate you… bess fried pork eva first try and it came out bess!!!

  35. rox
    October 22, 2011 / 8:37 pm

    can't wait to try.

  36. Beverley
    October 6, 2011 / 1:08 am

    I opened this recipe this morning…7am here in uk..thank you Chris I look forward to your Sizzle emails..and recipe sounds great..

  37. Jane Smith
    May 21, 2011 / 11:27 pm

    I am so glad that you discussed the correct pan to use for this dish.

  38. kyle Boyce
    April 23, 2011 / 5:43 pm

    This is one of my all time pork dishes besides pork chops , but for a healthy option instead of frying i bake my pork in the oven same results but it gives me some pork dripping to spread on toasted bread so nothing goes to waste !!

  39. Zeppo Tate 6.3.0
    March 15, 2011 / 4:06 pm

    Love the recipe. I used to eat pork from a popular bar named Kep's in Princes Town.
    My wife will love this and I will do it as a surprise for her (even though she isn't the pork eater in the family).

    Jake

  40. Bonkeehill
    February 27, 2011 / 3:58 pm

    hI Chris
    I just love your recipes! as a Newfie with a taste for the Island flavour I look forward to each issue of the Carribean pot. We tend to stick to our traditional way of cooking salt fish ( which is usually salt fish boiled with potatoes and smothered in fried salted pork fat and onions) .
    Pork belly is a staple of Newfoundland cooking, we chop the pork belly into small peices that we call "scrunchion's". It is a must have with our salt fish and potatoes, as a matter of fact we fry everything in pork fat, although normally we use salted pork . We refer to this meaty pork belly as fresh bacon and would just fry it crispy and save the rendered fat for future use so I think i would omit the 45 minutes of boiling then adding to the oil to deep fry when the outcome would be the same by simply slowly frying until crispy. What do you think??

  41. Roz
    September 11, 2010 / 10:36 am

    My cuban friends also enjoy this, compliments rum very well with a twist of lime or lime, Voila. Now, where the fish cake and goat water? A good Saturday lime.

    • jumbieg
      September 27, 2010 / 10:01 pm

      rum goes well with anything 🙂

  42. Janey
    September 8, 2010 / 3:14 am

    Cooked the pork last night. It was the best I've ever tasted, even having trawled most Soho restaurants. Although they usually bake it. I did, however, have quite a traumatic experience. I made sure that the pork had drained off the water for quite a while, then introduced it to my oil filled wok. Hmmm! Obviously not as dry as I had hoped!! Lid applied immediately! After many explosions of water in hot oil, the beast tamed and I very carefully, with lid permanently in hand, did as instructed and turned the pork until it was looking perfect. And it was!!
    My children enjoyed it too, 'best ever pork, mum', so once my blisters have healed, and I have recovered from the trauma, I will be veturing forth with a drier belly!
    I have to thank you , as I have often tried the get it this crispy and always been disappointed!

    • jumbieg
      September 27, 2010 / 10:01 pm

      🙂 had to smile after reading this. I too was caught offgard when the splattering started. thx for sharing your experience.

  43. Anne
    August 27, 2010 / 9:22 am

    Chris ….
    The crispy pork turned out really well, the best recipe I have found, I also tried it by cutting it into small chucks, pricking the rind with a cocktail stick then deep frying it…. Great !

  44. cheryl
    July 20, 2010 / 3:03 pm

    Chris! you are the man! love the pork recipe, but it's too early for me. I'll try it soon. Love them all. Thanks.

  45. chef pork man
    February 10, 2010 / 12:47 pm

    any thing with the celberty meat i alwys give 200%, when its been cook, whether it is roast,jerk,stew,and bake it and eat it afterward. So in summing my comment I will give any other food one hundred percent and with pork or celebty, sweat arnald I will give it 200%.

    • admin
      February 9, 2010 / 11:04 pm

      Ahira..NO.. don’t cheat on the diet 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting

      happy cooking

      chris…

  46. January 28, 2010 / 2:19 pm

    This sounds fantastic, Chris, I will definitely be trying this one -muh mout’ watering, man – I tried your ultimate chicken curry last night. Boy, was it good! Thank you so much for your excellent recipe postings, and keep up the good work.

    But beware guys, My wife now says “de kitchen is yours now Sundayfoodman, plan de next feast fuh tonight!”

    • admin
      January 31, 2010 / 3:31 pm

      Sundayfoodman.. glad to know that the curry chicken turned out well for you. “Kitchen is yours” love the vibes.

      happy cooking

      chris…

  47. Sal
    January 19, 2010 / 4:53 pm

    Hi Chris,

    I tried this recipe on the weekend. I used common sense after boiling and placing in oil by leaving the pork out for a bit so that the excess water to drip out – for those who had that concern. I didn’t have a problem with splattering oil, you just have to take your time and be careful.

    I modified the dip by adding some garlic, shadow beny and honey mustard – it was a great compliment with the pork.

    It turned out not only fantastic but a huge hit with my family and friends who came over and had it. It was delicious!!!

    I can’t believe how easy it was. I will definatley make this again – thank you! It is now one of my party favourites!!!

  48. December 8, 2009 / 9:20 pm

    Hi Chris,
    I am a lover of pork,and that recipe looks delicious but i am so sorry to say i have cut out fry food from my diet. But i will surely pass it on to a few of my friends
    .-= Pauline says:´s last blog ..Make room for Sada Roti, Pita Bread. =-.

  49. November 23, 2009 / 1:48 pm

    Is the baking soda used to make the pork crispier?

  50. Wendy
    November 22, 2009 / 1:01 pm

    This sounds really good, but I think it will splatter if you don’t dry off the water first. When making roast pork, I usually pat the skin dry with paper towels first, so will try this. Like the sound of the sweet potato surprise – will try this. Many thanks.

  51. Donna
    November 17, 2009 / 12:37 pm

    Hi Chris,

    I always wanted this recipe. Will try it and let you know how it came out. This time of year is perfect for this.

  52. Sue
    November 17, 2009 / 11:46 am

    Thanks for yet another great recipe Chris. However, I did have the same concern that Knaki addressed. In a less hostile tone, did you dry off the pork before putting it into the hot oil? I am worried about considerable splattering.

  53. November 12, 2009 / 12:19 am

    The Sweet Potato Surprise recipe sounds delicious, will definitely give it a try.

  54. KNAKI
    November 7, 2009 / 9:11 pm

    YOUR RECIPE IS APPRECIATED, BUT SUICIDAL HOW CAN U TAKE SOMETHING OUT OF WATER AND THEN PLACE IN OIL, TOTAL MADNESS, YOU MY FRIEND ARE INSANE. SETTING NOVICES UP FOR FAILURE AND A BURNT FACE, CRAZY PERSON, IF YOU CAN COOK THEN U WOULD NOT TAKE SUCH ADVICE RATHER SOAK PORK IN VINEGAR, WASH, SEASON AND THEN PLACE IN OVEN AND ROAST!!!!!!!

    • janetha
      February 16, 2011 / 3:30 pm

      Hey, you are very right. If you are a novice this can happen. I just had to comment because when i read your comment it justmade me laugh alot. Just had to tell you that. What you say is true though

    • Rico
      September 23, 2018 / 8:53 pm

      Wow. Could you possibly be any more rude? Are you aware that when you type in all CAPS it signifies yelling? You might habe some truth to what you are saying but it could be conveyed without belittleing the author. On top of that it’s not st all impossible to move food from water to oil. Maybe slightly hazardess but nothing warranting a reaction lile yours. Youre probably better off reading another site rather than trolling here.

  55. Marc
    October 31, 2009 / 4:39 pm

    I added some coarse ground mustard to the sauce which added a nice flavor. Also, peanut oil seems to be the best for high heat frying. Thanks for encouraging me to try this!

  56. October 30, 2009 / 4:11 pm

    yum yum

    you increased my hunger with that fried pork

    enjoyable i see

    will try it too

    thank you chris. GOOD COOKING KEEP IT UP

  57. althea
    October 29, 2009 / 1:49 pm

    ive aways wanted to know how to fry pork will try it soon thanks chris

  58. Malin LaPlace
    October 22, 2009 / 11:19 am

    Just an FYI – You should never fry in a non-stick pan. It gets too hot
    as most non-stick is only rated for up to 400 degrees.

  59. indar
    September 10, 2009 / 12:30 pm

    thanks a lot for those helpful hints it really went a long way especially when you have friends who actually live for pork ps try a little oyster flavored sauce in your sauce

  60. Tony T
    July 22, 2009 / 4:38 pm

    Chris I never realized how simple that roast pork recipe was lol
    according to my mother the key is the vinegar..dont use apple cider or anything else as a substitute lol
    for Chinese roast pork use 5-spice powder and rub the belly down, also baking soda gives it an even more crispier finish.

    • Kotsy R
      August 12, 2010 / 1:19 pm

      Hi Tony, when to add the baking soda?

      Thx

  61. raj
    July 9, 2009 / 6:51 am

    Here’s a recipe for a strange dish called “Sweet Potato Surprise”
    You will require the following ingredients:
    3pounds Sweet Potato; 1 pound of boneless salt fish; 2 medium onions, 3 medium cucumbers, 6 pimento peppers; 1 hot pepper; 2 stalks celery; 1/2 cup olive oil; 3 tbs white vinegar.
    Method:Cube and boil sweet potatoes ensuring that they do not get too soft, boil salt fish, then clean and shred to pieces removing any passoble small bones, finely chop onions, pimento, celery and hot pepper, peel and dice cucumbers in 1 inch pieces removing seeds in the process.
    In a large bowl add shredded salt fish, vinegar, chopped onions, pimento, celery and hot pepper, carefully mix to infuse the ingredients, add some black pepper, then add the sweet potato and cucumber before adding the olive oil.
    Mix again until all ingredients are properly coated with the oil and other seasonings. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in the refrigerator for at leat one hour before serviing.
    This is an ideal side dish for BBQ.
    You can also optionally add finely chopped shadow beni as a garnish just before serving.
    I am sure that the varied tastes of each ingredient would explode in your mouth.
    Enjoy and feel free to comment accordingly.
    Regards,
    Raj

  62. Jennie
    May 28, 2009 / 1:02 pm

    I appreciate your hard work in writing these posts. I know how difficult it can be to keep the ideas flowing. Thanks!

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