Crispy pata looks deceivingly simple: it's just deep-fried pork hock, you might think. Technically, that's true. But there's a lot of work that gets you to a perfect crispy pata—one that has tender, flavorful meat and crispy, airy skin.
- 2kg (or smaller) pata
- ½ cup salt
- 2 red onions, quartered
- 2 heads garlic, halved horizontally
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp whole black peppercorns
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- neutral oil, for frying
Prepare pata: Take the raw pata and cover with a generous amount of salt. Place on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and place in the fridge overnight.
Boil pata: The next day, prepare a large pot of water with the red onions, garlic, and bay leaves. Remove pata from the fridge, brush off any excess salt, then place in the boiling water. Boil until fork tender but not falling apart, about 1-1 ½ hours. Remove from water, pat completely dry, then return to a wire rack over a baking sheet.
Prepare skin: When cool enough to handle, use a fork or multiple toothpicks to poke holes into the skin. Rub the pata with soy sauce and let cool completely. Transfer pata to the fridge and let rest, uncovered, to dry out the skin overnight.
Prepare for frying: The following day, prepare a tall pot with enough oil to go about halfway up the pata. Heat the oil until it registers at 370°F. Remove the pata from the fridge while the oil is heating.
Fry pata: Once the oil reaches the correct temperature, carefully lower the pata into the hot oil using tongs. Immediately set the lid over the pot to protect yourself from splatters, but do not close the lid completely—leave a wide enough gap for steam to escape freely. Fry the pata, flipping halfway through, until completely crispy and golden all around, about 30 minutes. Remove the pata from the oil and set on a cooling rack. Let rest for at least 5 minutes.
Serve: Serve pata with steamed white rice, dipping sauces, and sides.