I’ve recently embarked upon this journey to eat everything but the oink. My family thinks that I’m absolutely crazy (crazier than usual) and frankly I’m wondering if they will soon disown me. I’ve been a meat eater all of my life and although I don’t object to the concept of eating meat morally, I do find that the meat industry has really lost sight of what meat eating once was, a necessity to thrive. During my teen years I did object to the casualization of murder, and I resisted eating a lot of types of meat. I was even veggie for a hot second, gasps! Yes, really. Well, that lasted about as long as a danish in a room with fat kids. (aka …me) The reason man originally speared the beast was so that he and his family might survive and be nourished. The respect between man and animal was a strong bond, there was deep bond and understanding that the animal perished, so that man might be sustained. As technology and greed have taken over, the respect between man and beast has vanished. It’s to the point that commercializing meat sales have encouraged waste, disease and greed. The dawning of technology encouraged society to entirely lose sight of what meat really is, and where it comes from. We wrap it up and stock it in brightly lit cabinets like a shiny little immaculate meaty present. We treat meat so that it remains visually appealing, a pretty un-offensive color, we discard all of the unappetizing features, and with that we throw away the respect for life. Just like everyone else I’ve been sterilized into eating just what I know. As a carnivore or more accurately omnivore, I feel that its a responsibility as a meat eater to love the animal enough to try and eat more of it. I need to become more in touch with the whole animal. I’m continuing on with this experiment and I’m sharing, from an honestly virgin perspective, I’m not a professional chef, I’m not a life long snout eater, I’m just a girl on a mission to respect my meat.
Maybe some part of me thinks that I’d like to prove a point, but more so I’d like to share my experiences and possibly help to inspire just one more person give it a try. For those who have followed so far, you have seen that I’ve done tail, a terrine, belly, bones, liver, and I’ve even done feet. So now I’m working my way closer to the nose in this nose to tail journey. This adventure was with ears, by far the most “real” part I’ve dealt with to date. I couldn’t help but to think of that cute little piggy and how I was holding his floppy, flappy ears within my hands. I’ve seen the same recipe for “crispy pig ear salad,” It seems like a straight forward preparation and the most popular way to eat pig ears. So I referred to my meat bible. (The whole beast: Nose to tail eating by Fergus Henderson) The real value in this recipe to me is that something that started off as the most realistic piggy part turned out to be the most normal experiment yet. There was a good deal of skepticism, there was some hesitation, and honestly I was a bit scared as I simmered these and my pressure cooker released what smelled like … a barn gone wild. The reward of it all is that I learned something new, how to use my pressure cooker (which I’d previously TERRIFIED of) and I also learned how to make really amazing, crispy, crunchy fried pig ears. The final result was nothing short of delicious. There was no offensive flavor, there was no off taste, it simply tasted of sweet porky crunchy little treats. They tasted much like the fried Chinese noodles only sweeter, porkier, slightly chewy and absolutely divine. Following is my #1, #2, #3 to making your own perfect pig ears at home.
#1- Patience is a virtue … I don’t have. (Simmering) You want to blanch the ears for 4-5 minutes prior to simmering them. This helps get rid of some of the residue and funk. I forgot this step and as a result, scraped the funk off later. Remove from blanching liquid and simmer for 2-3 hours in a flavored broth. Instead of using a basic mirepoix, I went with a Chinese inspired broth with soy sauce, sugar and some chili flakes. Since my patience is lacking lately, instead of simmering for a very long period of time I used a pressure cooker. Using the pressure cooker to cook the pig ears was a great way to thoroughly tenderize them in under an hour.
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine
- 1/2 cup sugar
- red pepper flake, garlic powder
- #2- Time, and Flour are your friends. I sliced my ears and dredged them in a seasoned flour mixture. I allowed this to rest overnight before I cut them into bite sized pieces. You can leave them in slices however I was afraid they would be too …scary. So I went with bite sized pieces. (Cooling- allows the fat and cartiledge to adhere back with one another. Flour- helps to absorb moisture, so that once fried they will be extra crunchy.)
Rule #3- If you Fry it, They will come. I’ve gotten my kids to eat chicken livers as well as pigs ears now. The trick is simply frying it. I called these love nuggets “chips”, and they ate them without any hesitation, had I left them in slices I don’t think I would have gotten them to eat them as easily.
Fry at around 350 degree’s 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.
I served these with homemade sweet chili sauce, they were great with dip but also very addictive and delicious all alone. It was very much just a crunchy snack. They would be the perfect bar or movie snack. If you would like to try a more “traditional” variation of the crispy fried pigs ear salad find it here- serious eats: The Nasty Bits They are very crunchy and “cruton-esque” so I can see how they would go great on a salad.