It’s easy, but there’s many ways to end up with a disaster. These are sticky, gelatinous, spattering delights. Best to get it right.
Here’s how I do it:
- Clean the ears with a preliminary wipe.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Put the ears in, leave to boil for ten minutes.
- Scoop out ears, dump out that water (consider that round a bath for the ears and nobody wants to eat dirty ear bath water).
- Fill the pot back up and get it back to a boil.
- While you’re waiting for the water to boil, take some dry tea/paper towels and really clean out the ears of any pieces of loose skin or dirty bits.
- Once water is boiling agin, return the ears to the pot.
- Allow pot to remain on rolling simmer for a few hours.
- Check the ears every now and then by piercing with the point of a sharp knife. They should be tender, without crunch. If you take them out before the cartilage is broken down, you’re ripping yourself off from pleasure and bioavailable nutrients. 🐷
- When ready, drain and allow to cool on cupboard on a pan lined with paper/tea towels. Leave until cool and then change towels under the ears and put in fridge, uncovered. This is where they must stay for a few days. It’s essential that they are dry as a bone when they meet your cast iron pan. I turn the ears over every day and check them to see how dry they are. I wait a minimum of three days. When they’re dry enough, you can run your finger along the skin without any tackiness.
- When ready to cook, add either lard, ghee, bacon fat, or duck fat to a cast iron pan. Be generous with the fat, a few big blobs are in order. Get your pan very hot.
- Slice the ears at the base in roughly 1/2 inch slices. When you are done with the canal bits, just cut a small notch at the bottom of the ear so that you can lay it flat in the pan. You can cut it into strips but doing so exposes more of the sticky gelatin bits and things get messy. I prefer cutting after it’s cooked.
- Put ears in pan with a weight on the big ear ‘flap’, and quickly tent the pan loosely with a piece of aluminum foil. This is just to protect you and your kitchen from the snapping that’s about to happen. Cook until crispy brown, flip and do it all over again. Make sure they’re golden and crispy.
- .Put ears on paper/tea towel on a plate, sprinkle with coarse salt (we love smoked salt) and a few sprinkles of homemade vinegar if you like (more on that here #slowdownfarmsteadvinegar).
That’s it, you’ve made crispy pig ears! It took me a lot of experimenting to figure this out. My pain, your gain. Enjoy!
Please be advised that I abhor the idea of recipes with numbers and measurements and I’d rather throw myself into a thrashing pond of alligators than talk about 1/4 teaspoon this, 1/2 tablespoon that. Recipes are not my thing, but I do hope to inspire and motivate and help with processes whenever I can. Now, go make some pig ears and delight in your cooking prowess!