Recipe courtesy GENO LEE/BIG APPLE INN
In a pig’s ear — no, really!
Opened in 1939 on Jackson’s historic Farish Street, Big Apple Inn has been owned by the same family for four generations. Current owner Geno Lee is also the children’s pastor at Christ Life Church of the Highlands, our feature story this month. So we thought it would be fun to share with you one of his restaurant’s most iconic recipes: the pig ear sandwich.
Geno’s family is its own story: His Mexican great-grandfather Juan Mora, known as “Big John,” started the business by selling tamales on the street from his mother’s recipe. During the civil rights era, Big John would let NAACP leader Medgar Evers hold meetings at Big Apple Inn.
Big John would also bail Freedom Riders out of jail. One of them, a Filipino woman named Mary Harrison, met and married one of Big John’s grandsons, Gene Lee, “and, voila, Geno,” Geno says of his origins — also noting that Mary Lee is the only Asian woman featured in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
If you’re unsure where to acquire pig ears in order to make these tasty little treats, Geno notes that many grocery stores in the South carry them. If you’re hesitant about this particular delicacy, you might be surprised to learn Editor Katie Eubanks tried it during her Clarion Ledger days and liked it!
And finally, if you doubt your ability to craft your own pig ear sandwich, you can always just visit one of Big Apple Inn’s three locations: 4487 N State St., 3645 Metro Drive or the original store at 509 N Farish.
PIG EAR SANDWICHES
- 5 pig ears
- ó teaspoon salt
- 10 slider buns
- ó cup shredded cabbage
- Hot sauce (bottled or homemade)
Cut each pig ear in half and place in a pressure cooker with salt. When the pressure is builds up, cook for an additional 15 minutes. Let pressure build down (about half an hour).
While waiting for the ears to cook, shred the cabbage.
Lightly toast the slider buns and add a small amount of mustard to the top of each bun.
Place ear on bun (folded if necessary) and top with cabbage and desired amount of hot sauce. Enjoy!