The Trail

Cullen Campbell of Crudo Makes Crispy Pig Ears

Page 3 of 4

The Prep

"People are like, 'The kind I give to my dog?'" says Campbell, just a little bit incredulously.

And the answer is, yes. The pig ears served at Crudo are just like the kind you give to your dog -- but better. In fact, Campbell gets his from Colorado's Tender Belly, a popular supplier with many of the Valley's top spots.

When they arrive, the ears look decidedly unappetizing. Pink and rubbery, the flaps of skin and cartilage actually do look better suited for a pooch than a fine dining establishment. The good news is that after 15 or so hours of cooking, they hardly resemble their initial state.

To start, Campbell boils the ears in water and salt at a low temperature overnight. At about 200 degrees the cartilage and skin in the ears begins to break down; in the morning, the chef turns the heat up to about 350 degrees.

Once the ears have been removed from the oven and allowed to cool completely, you're left with a moderately scary looking mixture of whole ears suspended in a jello-y, grey substance. The meat jello can then be warmed to a liquid and strained off from the ears, which by now have turned from pink or brownish grey.

At this point the ears are also slightly translucent, revealing a previously obscured network of veins.

In other words, they're still not the kind of thing you'd want on your dinner table.

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria