Embrace the nose to tail philosophy of sustainable eating with this WTF?! A Crunchy Buffalo Pig Ear Strips Recipe! Local farm raised pig ears are slow cooked until tender, then cut into strips and fried until super crispy. Toss the strips in a spicy buffalo sauce for a unique appetizer that tastes yummy too!
WTF?! Is probably what you thought after reading the title of this recipe. When I told my own open-minded-about-all-kinds-of-foods Mother about this recipe, she replied “You can eat pig ears?” Yes, you can eat pig ears. People eat them all over the world, but in America, only really cool people eat them.
I thought twice about posting this because I questioned if anyone would actually look this recipe up to make it. Then I realized, it’s okay that this recipe will probably never be #1 on Google. Heck, I don’t even know why anyone would ever search for “Crunchy Buffalo Pig Ear Strips”. Although I searched for them, before I made this recipe, and numerous links to pre-made dog treats appeared on Google, but no recipes for humans in sight. Guess the good news is that IF anyone does ever Google “Homemade Pig Ear Strips“, my recipe will be the only one that pops up! Yay me!
I’m no stranger to pig ears. I’ve eaten braised pig ear strips in Chinese restaurants numerous times and have always loved them. Sliced thin and served cold tossed in a light sesame oil dressing, the strips have a chewy texture with a bite and are delightfully delicious. After a recent trip to my favorite local farm, I bought some ears with the full intention of making my favorite Chinese salad at home…until I talked to my good friend Dawn and she told me about the crispy buffalo pig ear strips she ate once…DONE! I’m making spicy crunchy ears!!
Let’s face it. Eating farm-to-table is not always as pretty as this, but it’s always yummy. It’s normal to feel uncomfortable when thinking about eating other parts of an animal that don’t come in the nicely wrapped up packages at the grocery store. Adopting a nose-to-tail approach to eating is a wonderful way to broaden your culinary horizons while also honoring the ultimate sacrifice made by these animals that are raised for our consumption. It’s more sustainable, less wasteful, and…from a strictly selfish viewpoint…uncommon cuts can be unbelievably delicious. Appreciate the whole, not just the pretty pieces.
Hope you give these WTF?! A Crunchy Buffalo Pig Ear Strips Recipe a chance and try them at home. They are paleo and gluten free too, plus they make great game day eats for the Final Four games this weekend!
- 1½ pounds pig ears (about 5 or 6; local farm raised, organic, and grass-fed preferred)
- 2 fresh whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- oil for deep frying
- ½ or 1 cup buffalo sauce, homemade or store bought
- blue cheese dressing for serving, optional
- Wash pig ears thoroughly and scrape off any hair, if necessary. Place pig ears in a large pot and add the garlic cloves, thyme, and peppercorns. Fill pot with water until it just covers all the ears. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover pot with a lid and simmer until ears are fork tender, about 3 hours. Check the pot a couple of times to make sure the ears are completely covered by water at all times while cooking.
- Remove cooked ears to a cooling rack to cool and reserve stock for a later use. Once cool, dry the ears and place in covered container in the refrigerator overnight.
- When ready to fry, fill a large pot with 3-4 inches of oil and heat over medium-high heat until temperature reaches 350F degrees. While the oil is heating, remove ears from the refrigerator, pat dry with paper towels (if necessary), and cut into ¼" strips. Fry strips in batches (don't overcrowd) for 2-3 minutes, until crispy and golden brown, and remove to a rack or paper towels to drain.
- Place all the strips in a bowl and mix with the buffalo sauce. Serve immediately with homemade blue cheese dressing!