Pig ears are something that I didn’t even realize were fit for human consumption, until I saw them on The Food Network.

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Before then, the only use I had seen for pig ears was as a dog treat. My dog loved them, though they did not love her.

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I have been sitting on these guys for a few days  until I had time to prepare them. Every recipe I read called for a long, slow cooking process of several hours in order to break them down. I’m a pretty adventurous guy, but I have to admit when I read one recipe that called for a thorough check of the ears so you don’t miss any hair, I was a bit skeeved out. Especially when it went on to talk about shaving or torching the hair off, if it was there. I really don’t like to shave my food– unless it’s a vegetable. A complete visual inspection of my package of ears revealed no hairs or other blemishes.

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 It did appear that one of them was suffering from lobe stretching gone wrong.

Then it was time for these guys to take a long bath in the pressure cooker with some stock and aromatics.

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 Fast forward 3 hours

and you have a very interesting result.

All I could think about was a much happier pig running across a farm, with its ears flapping in a warm summer breeze. I sliced off a hunk for tasting and dove in. These little guys were just as gelatinous as they looked. Very soft, gloppy texture that I did not enjoy. The taste was very porky but the fatty, almost greasy, mouth feel was off-putting enough that I could not really enjoy it.

Next, it was time to fry one up and see if I could get it crispy. A quick bath in some oil and:

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They really did crisp up nicely. They were golden brown and I could  feel how crunchy they were. I hit them with just a little Malden sea salt and took a big bite. It was hard to believe this was the same thing I had eaten a few minutes before. Crispy and delicious. The remaining fat and gelatin inside of the crispy skin were great counterpoints to the crunchy exterior. Very much like chicken feet in their contrast. I would never recommend that they be eaten without frying, and I’m not sure I would recommend trying them at home since they take so much time. However, if you see them as an ingredient on a restaurant dish I would absolutely say “Try It.”

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3 Responses

  1. lee ann

    Eeeewwwww!!! Definitely a pass for me, it must be a dude thing and there love of pig based meats.

    Reply

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