Doggie Crack aka Pig Ears
We have an Asian Market in Starkville where I work so I finally had the chance to check it out. When I saw the pig ears a little light bulb went off in my head. There are a lot of Asian and Thai recipes using pig ears so since these were prepared for human consumption I felt they would be safe. I knew I could figure out how to make some for the Kirbster!
Kirby so loved chomping on those pig ears. In fact whenever I gave him a pig ear or snout he would work on it until the very last bite was gone. Nothing could distract him from this task! About a year ago manufactured pig ears for dogs began to be recalled mostly due to salmonella bacteria. I couldn't keep up with which ones were recalled and which ones were deemed safe so I just stopped buying them altogether.
Now I can give him one of his favorite chews knowing its safe!
- Pig Ears
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp Ham flavored bouillion
1. First you need to remove any hairs on the ears. I purchased mine from the local Asian Market so that was already done. You can shave off the hairs with a razor or burn them off with a kitchen torch or butane lighter.
2. Next you need to remove any bacteria or impurities from the surface of the ears prior to cooking. Fill a large stock pot three-fourths full of cold tap water. Place the pig ears into the pot of water and bring to a boil. Immediately remove the pot from the burner. Remove the pig ears to a colander and rinse under cool running water.
3. Rinse out the pot and refill with cold tap water until it is three-fourths full. Add the seasonings to the water. Place the pig ears back into the pot and allow it to come to another boil. Turn down the heat to a low simmer for about fifteen to twenty minutes to allow the ears to soak up the flavors. (I saved and reused the seasoned water by letting it cool and then pouring into small ice cube molds for tasty cold treats)
4. Remove ears and dry on paper towels. Depending on the size of your dog you may now want to cut the ears into smaller strips with kitchen shears.
5. Cover a baking sheet with tin foil and place the pig ears in a single layer on a baking sheet.
6. Spray or brush both sides of each ear with a light olive oil or vegetable oil.
7. Bake at 200 degrees for up to five hours until the ears are a crispy brown color and very hard to bend which means most of the moisture has been removed. I baked these for three hours then, because it was so late, I moved them to my dehydrator to finish.
If you want flat pig ears like the store bought, just slice through the curling part with kitchen shears while they are baking. They were a little bit oily when done so I just wiped them with a paper towel. This does take a long time but is so worth it! I bet Kirby never thought he would taste another yummy pig ear in his lifetime, hence the name "Doggie Crack".
Also, remember pig ears next time someone lights up the smoker!
Pork, like chicken, can produce salmonella so be sure to clean everything it touches. Be very careful where you purchase your pig ears! You could probably purchase in bulk from a slaughterhouse but then you wouldn't really know how fresh they are. Foods sold for human consumption in the U.S. are regulated so to be safe I would only purchase from a local market.
Pig ears, unlike rawhide, are considered to be digestible, albeit slowly. That said you should monitor your dog every time he or she is eating any chew. If the dog doesn't chew it enough they can swallow large pieces which could cause an obstruction in their esophagus or stomach. If you see your dog isn't chewing enough then try cutting the strips into smaller pieces.
Pig ears have very a very high fat content so I recommend only one a week and never give any to a dog suffering from pancreatis.
Pig ears can be stored in a paper bag or wrapped in paper for up to six months and in the freezer indefinitely. Don't use plastic containers which cause moisture retention making the chews soft and moldy.
Pig ears can be a satisfying treat for your dog long as you take the necessary precautions.