All hail the chicharrones from El Palacio (“the palace”). This is the Hispanic answer to what Americans like to call pork belly. In places like my country of birth, we don’t take the time to braise it, smoke it, sous-vide it, or grill. Instead, we go all in and just dump that sucker in the deep fryer. This dish is as decadent as it sounds, but it is not as simple to nail as I am making it seem. For one, the temperature in which the oil is should be a specific temperature, to render as much fat from the meat as possible while not making the meat dry and chewy. The crust must be perfectly blistered and crunchy, and last but not least, it must be seasoned right after coming out of the fryer. If not, the seasonings will not stick; leaving you with a dish that can be practically flavorless. The only seasoning the dish needs is salt, which lets the flavor of the pork speak for itself.
El Palacio is one of the most visited eating destinations in the city, and the Chicharrones they serve are arguably the best thing you can find here. The cooks have it down to a science to the point of consistently slinging out pound after pound of greasy deliciousness. The turnover is so great, that you are practically guaranteed a fresh batch when it is your turn to order. The Chicharrones are thrown into a brown paper bag, and they smell and taste so good that the stains of grease making the carrying parcel transparent make you feel no shame at all. Instead, you basically pretend that you are eating something remotely healthy and feel pleasure with each and every bite that you take. Just like any other fried dish, the greasiness can get a bit overbearing. Never fear though, as a squeeze of limejuice saves the day and gives you enough acidity to make your way through your one bag serving. You probably won’t be proud of yourself after, but I guarantee you that you will enjoy each and every single bite of your experience. Just order your bag of Chicharrones, sit at one of the outside tables, and indulge. This is one of the most “Miami” things you can do, and I am proud that this part of our city’s culture.
El Palacio de Los Jugos
5721 W Flagler St, Miami, FL 33144
By Food Blogger, Santiago Cardona