Slideshow: Porky Bar Snacks We Love in Chicago

Mole Pork Rinds at Owen & Engine ($5)
Mole Pork Rinds at Owen & Engine ($5)

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Best known as an English pub, Owen & Engine isn't afraid to incorporate other flavors into its menu. That explains why I didn't worry too much about the success of the mole pork rind. Instead of a mole sauce, the kitchen uses a complex chile powder, which certainly has some heat, but unlike The Publican's spicy pork rinds, the heat is darker, building up over time. As for rinds, I loved the variety of textures, which ranged from ultra crackly to soft and light.

Owen & Engine‎, 2700 North Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-235-2930; owenengine.com‎

Pig Ears Malt Vinegared with Cornichon Aioli at Billy Sunday
Pig Ears Malt Vinegared with Cornichon Aioli at Billy Sunday

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

I hate to bring up junk food again, but I find it impossible to discuss the pig ears from this Logan Square cocktail spot without mentioning another one. Each crispy sheet of airy fried pig is dusted with a malty powder that, when dipped in the creamy cornichon aioli, results in bite eerily familiar of Cool Ranch Doritos.

Billy Sunday, 3143 West Logan Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-661-2485; billy-sunday.com

White Cheddar Chicharrones at Trenchermen ($5)
White Cheddar Chicharrones at Trenchermen ($5)

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

"Is it wrong to compare something favorably to cheesy puffs? That's the position I'm in trying to describe the awesomeness of the white cheddar chicharrones ($5) at Trenchermen. In fact, they're more delicate than any puff I've ever encountered, with only a slight trace of pork coming through. The white cheddar is distinct but lightly applied, so that you get the shot of salt and funk, but without all that excess gunk left on your fingers. Basically, this is bar food par excellence, and I can't imagine ever stepping foot in the Trenchermen without an order of these." Read more here >>

Trenchermen, 2039 West North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-661-1540; trenchermen.com

Crispy Pig Ears at Nightwood ($6)
Crispy Pig Ears at Nightwood ($6)

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

The title of this Nightwood classic is right on: each one of these suckers is teeth-shatteringly crispy. But there's more to this dish than just texture. They are also slightly sweet, which helps balance out the salty, meaty aspects of the pork. Still, it's impossible to properly explain why I polished of a whole order of these before the main course arrived.

Nightwood, 2119 S. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60608 (map); 312-526-3385; nightwoodrestaurant.com

Pork Rinds with Pimento Cheese Powder at Lillie's Q ($4)
Pork Rinds with Pimento Cheese Powder at Lillie's Q ($4)

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

There's really no reason to add more order more pork here. I mean, you already need to get the best pulled pork sandwich in Chicago, and the ribs aren't too shabby (I won't even get into the glory of the beefy tri-tip sandwich). But that doesn't mean you shouldn't order these, either. The airy and crispy rinds are dusted with a pimento cheese powder, which sounds kind of crazy, until you realize that you're basically eating fancy Flamin' Hot Cheetos.

Lillie's Q, 1856 West North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 773-772-5500; lilliesq.com‎

Bacon Candy at Honky Tonk BBQ ($8)
Bacon Candy at Honky Tonk BBQ ($8)

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Like Bang Bang Pie Co.'s own version, these sweetened strips are aptly titled. But unlike that pie shop, these are less like bacon and more like roasted pork belly. Instead of thin and crispy, these are thick and substantial, making it easy to appreciate the full flavored fat and slight haminess of the pork.

Honky Tonk BBQ, 1800 South Racine Avenue, Chicago, IL 60608 (map); 312-226-7427; honkytonkbbqchicago.com‎

Bacon Fat Popcorn at Revolution Brewing ($5.00)
Bacon Fat Popcorn at Revolution Brewing ($5.00)

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Everyone knows that salty bar snacks go great with beer, but most of the time you don't even need to know what it's in the bowl before you reach in. But Revolution Brewing changed all that with the bacon fat popcorn, which works as a satisfying prelude to the rest of the menu.

Revolution Brewing, 2323 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-227-2739; revbrew.com‎