In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

How To Make Caribbean Chicken Foot Souse.

chicken foot souse
Chicken Foot Souse

In the Caribbean we find  (delicious) ways to use just about every part of the animal (and bird).. dishes you must try before passing judgement. Souse is traditionally made with pig trotters, ears and snouts when I was growing up on the islands.  However, chicken feet are also used, especially by people who don’t dine with the swine! Souse is basically a spicy pickle, served cool (for the most part) with herbal and citrus notes, along with the kick of Caribbean Sunshine – scotch bonnet peppers.

You’ll find variations of this chicken foot souse recipe as you make your way up and down the island chain, so please use this as a beginners guide and don’t be afraid to personalize it a bit with your signature touch.


You’ll Need…

1 lb chicken feet (cleaned and trimmed)
1 scotch bonnet pepper
2 cloves garlic
water for boiling the chicken feet
3-5 cups of water for the souse
2 tablespoon shado beni (or cilantro)
1 scallion
1/2 large onion sliced thin
juice of 1 lime
lemon slices
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch black pepper
1 medium cucumber

Notes: Remember to wear gloves and to wash your hands with soap and water immediately after handling scotch bonnet (or an HOT) peppers. If you don’t want the raw heat, do not use the seeds of the pepper. I used Shado Beni (culantro), but you can use cilantro if you cannot source it. Remember to give the ingredient list a once-over if doing this gluten free to ensure they all meet with your gluten free dietary needs.

chicken foot souse (3)

Hopefully your butcher will clean and trim the chicken feet for you. In my case I had to trim off the sort of toe nails off the feet, then wash and place in a deep pot with water. Bring to a boil, add the salt and let them cook on a rolling boil until tender (about 40 minutes). If you see any sort of residue on the surface of the water, skim off and discard.

chicken foot souse (2)

chicken foot souse (1)

As they cook, you can use this time to prep the other ingredients. Thinly slice the onion, scotch bonnet pepper, shado beni, cucumber, lemon, scallion and finely dice (or crush) the garlic.

chicken foot souse (4)

Drain and rinse the cooked chicken feet, then place then in a deep bowl.

chicken foot souse (5)

Top with the sliced ingredients, go in with the black pepper, water and lime juice and mix well.

chicken foot souse (6)

chicken foot souse (7)

For best results mix well, cover and let it chill in the fridge for a couple hours. All the flavors will start working to combine for a spectacular dish – served as you would soup.

chicken foot souse (8)

If you want you can place the garlic, scotch bonnet pepper and shado beni in a food processor with a little water and blend until smooth.. that’s how you’ll find it when you purchase from vendors outside bars and night clubs. However I much prefer getting little bits of the fresh herbs and seasonings.

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How To Make Caribbean Chicken Foot Souse.
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  1. Ellen
    December 25, 2017 / 5:28 pm

    great recipe – just arrived for the first time in Barbados, saw pig snout and cow heel in the supermarket and was hooked. Adapted your recipe and our souse came out great. humble ingredients, yet so delish. Thanks for your posts – they help a lot to make the most of what the island has to offer. Onto dishes that use more culantro, dasheen and eddoes…

  2. August 23, 2016 / 7:33 am

    Do u put salt in the souse beside when u boiled the chicken feet i.e. the final souse?

    • admin
      August 23, 2016 / 5:16 pm

      just what is mentioned in the list of ingredients.. but you can add more to your liking

  3. Smh
    January 15, 2016 / 2:20 pm

    1 star theta lemon ruined my whole batch with it makes it taste bitter

    • Chantel
      July 1, 2018 / 4:14 pm

      You put too much then.

  4. Andrew Robinson
    May 21, 2015 / 8:09 am

    This looks great Chris, and I will try it. Growing up in Miami, we also ate ALL of the chicken, including the feet. One request: Do you have a hot souse recipe, like Bahamians make with chicken parts, like wings or legs?

  5. Andrew Johnson
    July 10, 2014 / 5:54 pm

    Instead of the entrails such as feet, ears or snouts could I use chicken wings instead?

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