Categorized |Pork

Salted pig tails as comfort food?

cooking-pigtail-soupI think I mentioned in a previous post that one of the most comforting things about growing up on the islands was the amazing thick and rich soups we enjoyed just about every Saturday. Pig tails, salt beef, chicken, beef, vegetarian, salted cod or the 2nd most favorite of mine… fish broth with tons of macaroni and green bananas. There were so many versions of making these soups that we never got tired of soup-Saturday!

Today I’d like to share one of the ways of making salted pig tails with split peas soup. I call this one a “loner soup”, since I can’t convince anyone else at home to eat it with me. More for me I guess! Our girls eat just about every dish I make that’s considered “Caribbean”, except they won’t touch ground provisions and/or salted meats like pig tail, beef or cod.

Note: Don’t be turned off by the ingredients, it’s an amazing soup that’s more like a North American stew. It’s heavy, full of chunks of root vegetables and very thick.

You’ll need…

1 1/2 lbs of salted pig tails (ask your butcher to cut into 2 inch pieces)

2 medium potatoes (peeled and diced)

3 eddoes (peeled and diced)

1 1/2 lbs yam (not the sweet stuff – ask for Caribbean yam)

1 cup split peas

8 cups of water

1 can coconut milk (about 1/2 cup)

1 carrot (peeled and diced)

2 sprigs of thyme

1 tablespoon of green seasoning

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 hot pepper (optional)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 lime (juice)

EDIT (Jan 20 2010): I forgot to add 1 medium onion and 2 cloves of garlic to the ingredients list. Special thanks to Lygia for pointing this out to me. Chris…

Some optional ingredients. Feel free to add other ground provisions like cassava and green bananas as well as simple flour dumplins.


Let’s get started by washing the pieces of pig tails with the juice of the lime and water.After which place the pieces of meat into a deep sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 20 minutes. We’re trying to get rid of some of the brine/salt that the pig tails were cured in. After which you drain the water out and get ready for the next step in cooking (below).



While this is cooking, let’s dice the garlic and onion. Add the oil to a very deep saucepan (keep in mind how much ingredients we have to fit in there) and heat, then add the diced onion and garlic. When the onion is soft (translucent), add the pieces of pig tails that you boiled for 20 minutes before.




After about 3 minutes we can start adding some of the other ingredients like… black pepper, thyme, coconut milk, green seasoning and the hot pepper. Wash the split peas and also add this to the pot. The split peas and pig tails will take a long time to cook and get tender. Almost forgot… add the 8 cups of water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. This will now have to cook for about 1 hr.


Note: the picture above was taken before I added all the water. This is why my pot seems like it doesn’t have 8 cups of water.

While this is simmering away (pot covered) let’s peel and dice the vegetables we’ll be adding.


You can prepare this step before-hand, but remember to place the vegetable in a large bowl and cover with cold water to prevent them from going discolored. The next step is to now add the vegetables to the pot, bring back to a boil, then reduce back to a simmer. Allow this to continue cooking for about 20 minutes. I like my yams and potatoes well cooked, to the point where it’s melting away. I forgot to mention. Cut the ground provisions and vegetables into fairly big pieces.


Let’s recap the cooking time so you’re clear.

- boil pig tails for 20 minutes then drain

- cook onions etc for 3 minutes

- then cook (everything except the vegetables) for about 1 hr

- add vegetable and cook for a further 20 minutes.

NOTE: You’ll notice that I didn’t add any salt in the cooking process. This is because the pig tails should add enough salt to the entire dish, even though we already boiled it before. Feel free to taste at the end and add any additional salt if required. If there’s ever the chance that I need to add salt, I usually add about a teaspoon of “golden ray” margarine (salted butter).

The finished product…


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59 Responses to “Salted pig tails as comfort food?”

  1. Shirma says:

    Great recipe, a teaspoon of sugar added to that and you are in business. Keep up the good work Chris.

  2. Tasher says:

    Great recipe…wish there was a printable version of it…

  3. Sharon-Ann O says:

    You did it again. Now I’m craving this wonderful soup. Oh yes I remember those Saturday soup days well and always loved them. Now to take that long drive to get some pig tails. Thanks Chris. Great job.

  4. William Tutai says:

    hey chris love the recipe im from the pacific islands we have lot of the same ingredients but total different cooking styles but you know what if i was there man brother you be calling the soup island bowy doubles even doe there is a trini meal called that.. but loving learning about caribbean cooking fron jamaican to your style of family greats with a twist.. Kia manuia my bro means good luck and blessings catch up

  5. Penny says:

    Chris – if you are putting coconut milk this is not a soup but a dish called "Metagee".

    • Joanne says:

      Penny I beg to differ I know metagee and this is no where near metagee…metagee is made without any kind of peas and is found in has basically the same ingredients..actually are the main ingredients of metagee: half ripe plantains…sweet potatoes…cassava…dasheen(maybe) salt-fish …okras(maybe) and cooked in fresh coconut milk with the added boost to it ‘duff dumplings’ which are the last to go in and the first to come out and it is cook down dry…the Dominicans have a version to this and is called oil down made with breadfruit

  6. trinigal says:

    What!!!! Chris, where the dumplings???

  7. Pat says:

    I love salted pig tails with soy sauce, lots of fresh ginger, lots and lots of garlic. All by themselves; to eat with crusty bread, OR, along the same lines, like souse.

  8. mals says:

    next time add some pumkin it gives it a nice color and taste…also some golden ray butter if availabe and a dust of sugar….delish

  9. sandra says:

    Hi Chris ,thanks for all your great recipes , my mom use to make great soup like that ,i love your videos keep it up.

  10. donna says:

    My kidz almost turned green when I mentioned pig tails until they tried them, I remember eating them as a child but never really knew how to prepare them,, thanx for the reciepe

  11. LEONORA says:

    Thanks for all the great recipes,you shared ,you are the best at what you do,continue sharing and have fun,continue cooking,

  12. Leonoral says:

    Hi Chris ,i think you are the best when coming to cooking all sorts of food.well thanks for all the recipes,and continue cooking and sharing,Leonora

  13. Bucky says:

    Chris you are the man up in this mother ****** for real.

    Keep up the good work. Bless

  14. Doreen says:

    Hey Chris, you're a true Trini to d bone, thats exactly how we Trinis does cook, show them.

  15. chrissy says:

    Hey Joanne

    Get down to Brixton Market, London . You’ll find every Caribbean ingredient you need there. From salt pigtails,salt beef, to yam, breadfruit and eddos.


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