In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

How To Make Salted Pigtails At Home.

Without a doubt, this is one of the most requested recipes from fans over the years. I guess with such a huge international audience tuned in to my work, its to be expected. Salted pigtails (like salted beef and salted fish like Cod and Pollock) is used in MANY of the traditional recipes of the Caribbean, so whenever I share a recipe including salted pigtails people are always stumped where to source it (outside the Caribbean). Luckily I’ve never had that problem as it’s easy to find in those huge white buckets at Asian and West Indian markets in Toronto and more lately, my city Hamilton.

You’ll Need

6-10 lbs raw pig tails
1 large bucket (make sure it can fit in your fridge)
6 cups Salt (pickling salt works best)

Note! Try to get a salt low in iodine, that’s course and does not clump easily. Yes you can add flavor ingredients to the salty brine (like bay leaves, spices, black peppercorns allspice berries etc), but this recipe is to show the simplicity in making the traditional version used in recipes in the Caribbean.

The raw pigtails can be sourced at many groceries or butcher shops. Should they not have it displayed, ask and I sure they will get some for you.

I start by scraping each piece with a knife to remove any debris and hairs, I then gave them each a good rinse with cool water.

Put about 9-10 cups of lukewarm water into the bucket you’re using and add the salt. The temp of the water will help to dissolve the salt. Whisk briskly until all the salts melts. Watch the video below for tips on how much salt you really need (adjustments).

Try to get a food grade bucket (new/clean) or a huge plastic container (ones you can find at most dollar stores). The key is to make sure it will fit the amount of pigtails you have and fit in your fridge at the same time. Luckily I have an overflow fridge downstairs.

It’s now time to add more chilled water, then (once the water in the brine is cool) pack in the pieces of pigtails into the bucket. Watch the video below to see how I added a plate to the top of the bucket before closing it, to help keep each piece of pigtail submerged in the salty brine.

Place in a cool dark spot (cellar) or in my case, the fridge for 3 weeks to a month. Then you’re good to start using salted pigtails in your next recipe. Make sure to keep the bucket in the fridge once you’ve started using it. It will keep in the salt for past 6 months. NOPE! I’ve never tried adding more raw pigtails to the same used brine… so I can’t comment on that question/concern.

Drop me your comments below, tag me on Instagram and don’t forget you can now get my cookbook – The Vibrant Caribbean Pot, 100 Traditional And Fusion Recipes @

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