In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Salted Pig Tail And Ground Provisions Soup.

salted pigtail soup recipeLike the recipe I posted back in May 2009 for a Saturday favourite “Pig Tail Soup“, the base ingredients for this soup is pretty much the same. Except the final texture (consistency) and overall taste does differ. Yet another traditional dish enjoyed through the islands, with variations according to every one’s own unique way of preparation. My uncle on my mom’s side would make this soup on a Monday after a weekend of feteing (partying) to according to him..revive! Before we get to the recipe I must mention that you must be careful when stewing (browning) the seasoned pigtail. Since the meat still has it’s skin and it’s very fatty, when it hits the oil/sugar it will splatter a bit. Use a deep pot if you can and a long handle cooking spoon. Just to be safe.

You’ll Need…

2 lbs salted pig tails (cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces)
1 sweet potato (about 1lb)
1-2 lbs yams
4 eddoes (about 1 lb)
3 medium/large potatoes
3 tablespoon chopped cilantro (if you don’t have shado beni)
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 carrot (cut into coins)
1/4 teaspoon blackpepper
1/4 hot pepper (adds great flavour and some bite)
1 scallion (green onions)
3 sprigs thyme
1 can black eye peas – 19 oz/540 ml (Use whatever canned beans you may have in the pantry)
6 cups hot water
3 tablespoon oil
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ketchup
1 tomato
1 pimento pepper (optional ..if you have)
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
Macaroni (optional)

* Feel free to add any other ground provision you may have (cassava, dasheen or green bananas). If you’re good at making dumplings, it would also make a great addition to this soup.

* I used black eye peas in this version, but my favourite is lentils which I didn’t have.

*NOTE: Try to get your butcher to cut the salted pigs tails for you, as it can do some serious damage to your knife if you try doing it for yourself.

The very first step is to cut the salted pig tails if you didn’t already get your butcher to do so. Then wash and place in a deep pot, to which you’ll add enough water to cover it by at least 1 inch. Bring this to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer. I cook this for a fairly long time (at least 1 hr), until it’s tender. This also works to remove some of the salt the pig tails were preserved in.

pigtail soup

trinidad pigtail soup

While that simmer away I peel and cut the provisions/vegetables I’ll be adding to the soup (potato,yams,eddoes,sweet potato,carrot etc). I then wash and place in a bowl with water to prevent it from going discolored. I also chop/dice the other ingredients..pepper, onion, garlic, tomato, scallion, thyme, cilantro..etc.

TIP : Try you best to cut the vegetables so they’re all pretty much the same size, so they can all cook at the same time.

salted pigtail soup

salted pigtail with provision soup

provision for pigtail soup

After 60-70 minutes the pigtails should start getting really tender. Remove off the stove and drain well. In the same pot (no need to dirty a bowl) let’s season the cooked pigtail with: onion,garlic,pimento pepper, hot pepper (I use habanero), scallion, thyme, cilantro, garlic, ketchup, black pepper and worcestershire sauce. Mix well and get ready to brown or stew.

In a large pot over high/medium heat, heat the oil then add the brown sugar. Move around the sugar so it melts and start going caramel like. You’ll start seeing bubbles (frothy) and it will change colour, going from golden to dark brown. See pic below to see when we’ve reached the right colour. Now start adding (remember what I said above about splatters) the seasoned meat. Stir well so everything gets coated evenly.

recipe for pigtail soup

seasoned pigtail for soup

browning pigtail for trini soup

browning pigtail for soup

trinidad salted pigtail soup

Allow this to continue browning for about 5 minutes so we get a nice rich brown colour. Remember to stir often to avoid it sticking or burning. Then drain the provisions/vegetables we had sitting in the bowl of water and start adding the pieces to the pot. Stir well so they get coated as well.

cooking salted pig tail soup

trini pigtail soup

The next step is to rinse the peas (remember you can use your favourite peas) under running water. I do this since I don’t care for the liquid it’s packaged in. Then add it to the soup pot.

peas for pigtail soup

recipe for trini slated pigtail soup

Stir everything well, then add enough water to cover everything. In my case it was 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 35 minutes. If you’re adding green bananas (remember to peel first) add the last 10 minutes of cooking, same can be said if you’re adding macaroni and/or dumplings . Check to see if your yams etc is cooked, by pushing a sharp knife through it. If there’s no resistance, you know it’s fully cooked.

The way to end this recipe is to add about 1 tablespoon of golden ray butter the last couple minutes. But since that butter is not the best for our health and sourcing it may be difficult if you live in North America… you can leave that out. However, that added flavour is truly unique.

Now check for salt. Notice I didn’t mention salt in the ingredients list, since the salt from the salted pic tails is usually enough for this dish. however, this is a personal preference so check at the end (after you’ve add the golden ray if you’re doing so) to see if you’d like to add some more.

trini salted pigtail soup

how to cook pigtail soup

salted pigtail soup recipe

I’d love to hear from you guys to know your recipe for making this. I know my mom browns the provisions instead of the pigtails (just her way I guess)… leave me your comments below.

happy cooking


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  1. October 15, 2018 / 6:52 am

    I will make this meal on Saturday, I never ever brown my meat, will try it this time. Thank you Chris.

  2. January 6, 2016 / 8:00 am

    Hi Chris: Thank you for another great recipe!
    I was wondering though – why the need to ‘brown’ the pig tails?
    Could we not use a slightly healthier version and just saute the tails and then continue the recipe as you have instructed?

    • admin
      January 6, 2016 / 9:14 am

      Yea you can certainly do what you mentioned. However the browning as I did gives it a unique taste.

  3. Nic
    September 20, 2015 / 2:41 pm

    EH No..I do not know who made this recipe but in Trinidad and Tobago.We do not put Black Eye peas in our traditional soup..We use Yellow Split peas..And we do not brown our pigtail or saute it in a sauce pan lol
    We boil it separately cause it is very gets most of the salt out..
    We boil the yellow s.peas in a pot with seasonings and then add the Pig tail later on to cook..along with Provisions and flour dumplings or Macaroni..

    • admin
      September 20, 2015 / 3:41 pm

      Bear in mind that EVERY home will have their own take on a similar recipe. That is the beauty of cooking and recipes.. tailor it to your own liking. Thanks for taking the time to share your comments.

  4. August 21, 2015 / 10:17 am

    Hi Chris:

    I used to make this soup when I lived in Panama and in New York, but with split peas. About a week ago I had a yearning for soup, but here in Costa Rica you cannot get salted pigtails, so the soup will never taste the same. Thank you for bringing back memories of like another lifetime! Keep up the great work! God bless!

    Jean Gordon.

  5. Brent Lewis
    March 22, 2015 / 11:19 am

    Chris:I am just making the soup as I write this(simmer stage). I added some ingredients local to Panama, Yucca and a veggie that looks like a pear. A woman in the local town (Almirante) makes soup everyday and it is wonderful. I can’t wait to try mine. I will keep you posted as to the taste.

  6. Rosalind
    February 20, 2015 / 12:34 pm

    I always make pigtail soup but with split peas or 5-beans. My soup must always have dumplings and sweet potato. The soup is really thick and great. I have never caramelled/browned my pigtail before cooking it in the soup. With this method isn’t the pigtail going to loose that brown colour anyway?

  7. Merlene Kudiabor
    April 27, 2014 / 10:00 am

    I had pigtail soup before but never like this.

  8. Brenda
    April 1, 2014 / 6:57 pm

    We do our soup with red peas though,thanks for the recipe Chris

  9. Josie
    April 1, 2013 / 11:28 am

    Hi Chris

    You should try using split peas, it adds a fantastic flavour. Soak it overnight though.

  10. klp
    March 18, 2013 / 12:57 am

    Tree words….yummy yummy yummy….I have tried mostly all…cause I ca cook up too….you are awesome abd I recommended this site…now everyone wabt to be "Trini to da bone"

    • February 1, 2014 / 12:11 pm

      You left out one of the most important ingredient here, GINGER. Thats the secret ingredient in any soup dish.

  11. trinidad
    October 8, 2012 / 7:16 pm

    im a chef myself and i find your recipies all good n tasty. keep up d good work .

  12. carol
    May 21, 2012 / 10:39 am

    Hi Chris, I had pigtail soup last Saturday but I prefer to make it with split peas or dhal. In this way the soup is thicker and creamier. I also like to put eddoes, sweet potatoes, irish potatoes and green fig as well as pumpkin and carrots. In the end you get a lovely bowl of nutritous meddly of provision. Yet I will try it one day with can peas. Thanks.

  13. myrna
    January 11, 2012 / 5:18 pm

    looks good can not o pigs feet

  14. Zona
    November 26, 2011 / 10:15 am

    Chris, I thought it was only in Guyana we had 'bush cook'…. I am based on the other side of the globe and I literally cried when I went thru your detailed recipes….. Evident is your love for OUR food!!! Garlic pork, dhal puri; sancoche… all beautiful!!!! Keep up the good work!!! Blessings….

  15. Cheri
    September 7, 2011 / 5:30 am

    I am from Trinidad and usually use split peas, but I had never thought to brown the pigtail I have stewed the chicken sometimes but when I had used pigtail it just never crossed my mind I cant wait to try this one.

    Tip: You can pressure cook the pigtail this allows for the pigtail (bone et all) to melt in your mouth. When I use this method I add some sugar to the water to cut out the salt.

  16. veronica
    January 30, 2011 / 12:55 am

    never heard of browning the pigtail before cooking we always soak it before cooking

  17. mabelle fernandez
    November 21, 2010 / 3:38 pm

    Chris do you have a receipt for Hayacas (spelling ??) a pastelle type food made from corn meal, spices, chicken and wrapped on a banana leaf. Thanks

  18. lord elpus
    August 15, 2010 / 7:24 pm

    im a calypso fan from Wales who has visited Trini twice and have cooked Trini food there and back home to great acclaim.I shopped at a big store in Diego Martin,similar to a Hi Lo but bigger and bought some salted pigtail.I love heavilly roasted chicken wings and belly pork so just roasted them and gnawed them off the bone,i have also made pigfoot souse Trini style.But this recipie sounds great.Browning the meat brings out natural sugars and i can imagine how the caramel will add extra richness.Cant wait to try this recipie.well posted.thanks.

  19. carol
    July 13, 2010 / 3:15 pm

    Hey Chris, I am from Jamaica, West Indies. the way I know how to make pigs tail soup is first you have to soak the pigs tail from over night in water or before you cook it, or you scall (boil) it off in some water to get rid of the excess salt and then you place it in the pot with red peas until they are half cook and the peas is the one to give the colour, then you put in the ground provisions with your dumplins, and then your seasnings like scallion, thyme, hot pepper, garlic, pimento, onion, a pack of cock soup or chicken noodle soup and a little salt to taste (if needed) and let it cook . depends on the size of the pot and the amount of vegetable you put in like irish potato, carrot, turnip and pumpkin it should give it a little thickness. That's how we make it in Jamaica West Indies. (Carol)

    • July 14, 2010 / 7:33 pm

      Carol. thanks so much for sharing your recipe with us. We also make one that's very similar but we add a few flour dumplings as well. I think I'll give your recipe a try this Saturday (dedicated soup day)

  20. Ashley
    July 1, 2010 / 6:44 pm

    Wow, that soup looking good. The only fing I haven't eaten on the pig is the rope. I intend to try the colouring; have never had it before.

    • July 14, 2010 / 7:31 pm

      season the rope well before trying 🙂

  21. Mary
    June 14, 2010 / 1:02 am

    I'm from Trinidad and I've never seen anyone brown there sugar for color, maybe i'll try it next time. I personally like the slight yelowish color from the split peas, but I'll try your way sometime. I'm in Maryland and it is hard to find pig tails so i use ox tails or cow heal instead.

    • June 17, 2010 / 1:12 am

      Seems that's the common take on this (browning0.. but I assure you that it;s done on the islands.. at least the part I'm from 🙂 Next time I head down to Toronto I'll grab some oxtail for another wicked soup

      • Kathyann
        December 25, 2010 / 9:38 am

        I am from Port of Spain, Trinidad along with all of my family members that are older than me and I have always seem the sugar browned before you add any type of chicken or beef and that is the way I was taught. It wasn't until recently that I seen in the grocery store here in Florida where I now live that they sell some type of browning sauce. I tried it once, but did not like it, will be sticking to the way my Grandmother taught me.

  22. April 19, 2010 / 1:23 pm

    Hi Chris,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. You have a great site here. Love me a good pigtail soup like the one I see here:-) The browning of the pigtail for the soup is new to me. I also rinse my peas. I know a few other Trinis who do as well. We all hate that ‘tinned’ flavour.

    • June 17, 2010 / 1:11 am

      I also posted a "white" soup earlier on that's flavoured with coconut milk and thickened with split peas if you're worried about the browning part.

  23. March 17, 2010 / 8:44 pm

    Great hearty soup, Chris. Unfortunately, I can’t find salted pig tails here. Do you know how to make salted pig tails? Or what’s a good substitute for it?

    • admin
      March 26, 2010 / 10:47 am

      Tutty, as a substitute you can use any salted meat (like beef or even salted cod). if using salted fish 9dry) message me and we’ll go through the difference in the technique. I’ve never made pigtails, but have discussed it on a forum and was told that it’s basically putting the pig tails in a brine solution. But I didn’t get the recipe for making the brine. Sorry!

      happy cooking


      BTW, you can use chicken or beef as well, just you don’t preboil and you will have to add salt. Season, stew and add provisions, beans etc and cook.

  24. March 15, 2010 / 8:51 pm

    Hi Chris,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. You have a great site here. Love me a good pigtail soup like the one I see here:-) The browning of the pigtail for the soup is new to me. I also rinse my peas. I know a few other Trinis who do as well. We all hate that ‘tinned’ flavour.

    • March 30, 2010 / 12:54 pm

      Seems the browning part is new to many readers as well. I thought it was kinda the norm back in TnT. Yes.. rinsing the canned stuff is a MUST!

      happy cooking


  25. Nigel
    March 15, 2010 / 9:36 am

    Chris, they do use dumplings in almost every soup. As for the bananas, my mom got a few trees in the backyard, you will love it as an addition. Tannias, we have two types, the red and white, the red tannia is rather firm even after cooking and it is used in soups and broth, and the main reason is that it will not thicken your soup. Chicken parts are sometimes used as well, and that is where the sugar and browning comes in, I saw someone said for colour and that is the main reason, it does make a pot look more attractive.

    • June 17, 2010 / 1:10 am

      Yea my dad used to have both types on tannias in his garden and we too had bananas at the back of the house. How I miss those days.

    • admin
      March 14, 2010 / 8:53 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Cynthia.

  26. March 10, 2010 / 2:32 pm

    I must admit that I’ve never cooked or eaten pig tail before although I’ve heard that it’s really good. Thanks for passing from my blog.
    .-= Ivy´s last blog ..Vegan Tahini Muffins =-.

    • admin
      March 14, 2010 / 9:38 pm

      Ivy, nice of you to visit and comment. Yes, it’s an acquired taste.

      happy cooking


  27. Dawn
    March 10, 2010 / 2:28 pm

    I’m from Trinidad and I’ve never browned the meat, but will admit that darker meat does look more attractive though. I also boil my provision first and add at the end because I don’t like my soup to get over-thick, especially split peas, which is what I primarily use for my soup. I like your take on this though. I’ll try it next time I make soup – hopefully this weekend, with the rainy weather that’s coming!

    • admin
      March 14, 2010 / 9:39 pm

      Dawn, thanks for taking the time to comment. I love the tip of boiling the provisions on it’s own. This is something I used to see my grandmother do as well.

      happy cooking


  28. Nigel
    March 10, 2010 / 1:08 pm

    Inrteresting twist with the burning of sugar, that I have not done before, in Dominica we do it a little different, me I use red beans, dumplings, pumpkin, irish potatoes, carrots, a few green bananas and tannias.

    Maybe I will try it, this way next time. Still a wonderful pot for a weekend cook up.

    • admin
      March 14, 2010 / 9:42 pm

      Nigel, my friends from Dominica adds a lot of dumplings in their soup as well. Next soup I make I’ll be sure to add some as well as some green bananas… however the hard part will be finding them. You’re lucky, I sure you have bananas in your back yard. BTW.. I don’t ever recall having tannias in soup.. we mostly use it for thickening curry pigeon peas.

      happy cooking


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