In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

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.

pigtail-soup-tips

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).

pigtail-soup-recipe

trinidad-pigtail-soup

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.

how-to-make-pigtail-soup

caribbean-pigtail-soup

trini-pigtail-soup

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.

ingredients-for-pigtail-soup

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.

cooking-pigtail-soup

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.

split-peas-pigtail-soup

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…

pigtail-soup

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65 Comments

  1. Ralph Price
    January 20, 2019 / 8:22 am

    My mother used to cook this frequently and her recipe was almost identical to yours with one exception, she didn’t use “green seasoning” because we didn’t use it in Belize. When our family moved to America my mother couldn’t find salted pig tails or salted pig’s feet. So, she found a store that sold pig’s feet and she salted them herself. Whenever she would cook pig’s feet she would freeze some for me so that I could enjoy it when I would go visit her which would be on a weekly basis.
    I recently moved to the country and I will start looking around at some of these country stores to see if I can find some pig’s feet too.
    My wife is an American and doesn’t like ground food and turns up her nose at pig’s feet. So, I will cook it for myself and enjoy sucking on the bones.

  2. Lauren
    September 22, 2016 / 2:10 pm

    In Trinidad we use pig Tails ,feet, ears, and snout, to make Souse, delicious, eaten with freshly baked bread on a Sunday Morning, we also use pig tails in our Pigeon peas and rice pilau./pulau depends on where you come from the spelling is different memories. Your dish is nice too.

  3. Ms Angelina : )
    June 9, 2016 / 3:31 pm

    I enjoyed growing up with my mom who used to cook Sunday dinners “every” Sunday. The salted pig feet and pigs tail was one of my most loved dishes. Thank you! for sharing your version with us. I truly have a folder just for your recipes. : ) I Sincerely enjoy all your emails of fantastic recipes. Thank you! again.: )

  4. alfred
    February 21, 2016 / 1:07 pm

    In Jamaica we use pig tails in “stewed peas(red kidney beans) & rice. The Chinese in Ja also use it in stewed “chicken & pig tail”. If u have never had this, try it……use the usual seasoning plus five spice powder and stew them together…Yahman!! Irie !!

  5. stephen gooding
    August 14, 2015 / 6:27 pm

    Very happy that you posted this recipe, my mother cooked it all the time,I will continue her tradition thanks to you and this recipe. Will be cooking it as soon as it all the provisions together including the pig feet. Thank you.

  6. Shirma
    September 13, 2014 / 10:58 am

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

  7. Tasher
    March 30, 2014 / 2:50 pm

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

    • April 18, 2014 / 12:22 pm

      Tasher, there is a print button right above your post. Click that.

  8. Sharon-Ann O
    October 30, 2013 / 6:45 am

    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.

  9. William Tutai
    February 26, 2013 / 8:43 pm

    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

  10. Penny
    December 31, 2012 / 7:40 pm

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

    • Joanne
      August 14, 2013 / 7:53 pm

      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 Guyana..it has basically the same ingredients..actually no..here 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

      • pat
        June 8, 2015 / 10:05 am

        I have never made me tagged but have eaten it loveeeee it but never had peas in it. I am from Barbados and had oil down. Love that too.

  11. trinigal
    December 25, 2012 / 6:21 pm

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

  12. Pat
    December 22, 2012 / 11:44 pm

    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.

  13. mals
    November 24, 2012 / 10:41 am

    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

  14. sandra
    October 17, 2012 / 12:48 am

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

  15. donna
    August 15, 2012 / 6:11 am

    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

  16. LEONORA
    July 16, 2012 / 3:36 pm

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

  17. Leonoral
    July 16, 2012 / 3:32 pm

    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

  18. Bucky
    June 23, 2012 / 3:05 am

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

    Keep up the good work. Bless

  19. Doreen
    May 19, 2012 / 4:30 pm

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

  20. chrissy
    May 12, 2012 / 6:57 pm

    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.

    • January 22, 2014 / 1:20 pm

      Great comfort food. Thanks for sharing.

  21. annonymous
    April 25, 2012 / 4:52 pm

    um mm how r u boy how is your wife could u put any of these pics as screensaver

    love
    anonymous
    anonymous
    love

  22. warner
    December 10, 2011 / 7:25 pm

    I Chris, this soup is a staple in my home, here in New York and back home in Antigua, except I do not add the peas, but all the ground provision you can thing about, now, I cook it for my self since my daughter stop eating pig, but the way I see it, it more for me . I just look this kind of food.
    Keep up the good work Chris. and thanks you
    warner.

  23. Lucy
    November 18, 2011 / 9:35 pm

    HI, where do you buy pig tail or can you give me your website?

  24. dianna
    October 21, 2011 / 10:12 pm

    "stacia, you can`t go wrong putting coconut milk or juice in any meal, super taste

  25. dianna
    October 21, 2011 / 10:11 pm

    OMG I love salted pigtails, where i live they sell fresh (unsalted) so i salt it n a bag n put at the bottom of the fridge, but man, pork gotta to be the best meat on earth

  26. Stacia
    April 15, 2011 / 4:42 pm

    Chris, I've never made soup with coconut milk….I definately have to try it….I make soup a lot especially during winter with all the ingredients you posted….also put fresh corm & dasheen…..

  27. NICK
    December 4, 2010 / 9:07 pm

    I CAN`T GET PIGTAIL IN OZ 🙁 ,ANY ONE KNOWS WHERE TO GET IT IN QUEENSLAND.

  28. Roz
    November 5, 2010 / 8:00 pm

    between your recipe and reading pigtail n breadfruit I will be cooking this very soon -thanks

  29. Joanne
    July 30, 2010 / 5:45 am

    I cant seem to get pigtails in London anymore! My mum used a cook a big pot of Stew peas and rice and it was delicious. I know how to cook it but cannot seem to source the pigtails. Anyone living in London know where I can get them?

    • Chris
      October 28, 2010 / 9:31 am

      have you tried the Asian food markets?

    • June
      September 1, 2011 / 9:05 am

      You can get pigtails from Dickensons butcher on Northend Road, Fulham, London and also from Shepherds Bush Market, London

  30. Antonette Simpson
    July 7, 2010 / 8:00 pm

    I definitely will try this one, have tried a few of them already. Thanks you make cooking look simple.

    • July 14, 2010 / 8:07 pm

      do let me know how it turns out for you.

  31. Ilovefoodie
    April 21, 2010 / 8:51 pm

    Ah feel like a bowl right now! Would add some dumplings too that recipe though, for added carbs as well as a soup thickener

  32. Valerie
    April 1, 2010 / 3:48 pm

    Hi Chris

    BBQ pigtails are great. Just like Barbados they are sold, especially on a Friday and Saturday, on the side of the road. Try them.

  33. Angela
    March 22, 2010 / 1:35 pm

    I have all the ingredients.. just have to go to the Korean store and get some pig tails.. My American born son of Trinidadian parents will be in for a treat for dinner tonight..Could almost hear the “Delish mom” comments he will be making..

  34. Aileen
    February 18, 2010 / 2:09 pm

    Hi Chris,
    I just wanted to say that I am about to make your oxtail stew. I cleaned, washed and seasoned them last night, so now I am ready to begin the real cooking. Wish me luck! I am not worried about cooking, I am just a little concerned about the brown sugar. I hope it doesn’t come out sweet. As for your pigtail recipe that sounds delicious. Where I’m from (Puerto Rico) we make a similar dish. We use salted pigs feet with either pink beans or garbanzos. OMG! That is to die for. As for your green sauce, its very similar to our recao except that we do not use celery and thyme. Well, continue posting fabulous recipes! I love anything from the Caribbean! The food is fresher tasting and comforting!

    • admin
      February 21, 2010 / 3:14 pm

      Aileen, PR is one of my favourite places.. especially old San Juan. Thanks for stopping by, commenting and sharing the similarities. The absolute best pork I’ve ever had was in San Juan…can’t remember the name of the restaurant now though (corona was too cheap that day).

      happy cooking

      chris…

  35. Jeannette
    February 13, 2010 / 8:21 am

    Hi Chris

    I have been enjoying reading all of your recipes you have been sending me. I love pigtail . Pigtail & stew chicken, Pigtail in
    all different kind of soups also in rice and pea.

    Can you send me different kinds of recipes on Scotch Bonnett
    pepper sauces. I have lots of peppers and I only make pickles
    with them.
    Would appreciate it if you could send me some recipes on
    some Trini pepper sauces.

    Thanks
    J.Grant
    Miami

    • admin
      February 21, 2010 / 3:29 pm

      Jeannette, thanks for stopping by and commenting. Funny thing is I only just set some seeds to get ready for the spring to plant in my garden. I’ve posted a couple pepper sauce recipes so far and will we posting more in the weeks to come. You can get the recipes sent to you by getting the newsletter (see top right of the page).

      happy cooking

      chris…

  36. Suzette Edghill
    January 25, 2010 / 4:49 am

    I am a "Caricom Bajan" meaning my family were born in one or the other of the islands and have lived in Barbados for the past 50 years. I make what we call a "Long Soup" which is similar to yours but adding Ham bone, chicken,Pumpkin, Sweet Potatoe a bundle of Chives, Thyme and Marjoram in a massive pot. Sometimes I even put in Breadfruit if available. This is simmered for about 3 or 4 hours and when I call around and say "bring your bowl and spoon" I can have as many as 30 or 40 people turn up for a "Lime"!!! We fight over the Pig Tails so always have to have a large amount. In Barbados we also Barbecue Pig Tails at the side of the street and they are fantastic!!! Your children don't know what they're missing.

    • admin
      January 31, 2010 / 3:58 pm

      Suzette, sounds like something I’d book a flight to Barbados for. Funny enough only a few days ago a friend of mine living in NY told me about BBQ pig tails. In Trinidad and Tobago I don;t recall seeing pig tails being BBQed, but the feet and ears are used to make a thin soup called souse. Flavoured with lot of scotch bonnet peppers and shado beni.

      happy cooking

      chris..

      be sure to keep sharing those wonderful dishes you make in Barbados. Can’t stop thinking about that massive pot of soup.

      • Laverne
        August 20, 2012 / 12:19 pm

        We're BBQing pigtails in Trinidad now Chris. Has become popular over the last 4 or 5 years. Tastes delicious! A lot of roadside BBQ places offer it now.

  37. Lygia
    January 20, 2010 / 8:35 am

    Very nice! I followed this receipe and it came out muy excellente! One note though, the method in your receipe mentions preparing onions and garlic, however these are not listed in the “You’ll need…” section 😉

    • admin
      January 20, 2010 / 8:07 pm

      Lygia, Thanks so much for pointing this out. I’ll update the recipe 🙂

      Happy cooking

      Chris….

  38. Wendy
    January 14, 2010 / 1:14 pm

    Thanks Chris. Pig tail or ham bone in a soup – delicious! I usually pressure cook mine a bit first and change the water as I’m not supposed to use too much salt. Best wishes for 2010.

    • admin
      January 19, 2010 / 2:34 pm

      Wendy, Thanks for taking the time to leave your comments and wishes. I hope you achieve all you set for 2010 and you and your family enjoy good health and prosperity. Yes, definitely the salted meats must be boiled a bit to remove some of the salt. I too, try to keep away from too much salt.

      Happy Cooking

      Chris…

  39. donna
    January 8, 2010 / 5:26 pm

    hi chris happy new year to and your family,I love this recipe would you believe just today i was thinking of making soup with the ham bone and split peas and provisions with dumplings but like you my children don’t like it so i ended up makin fried chicken and mashpotato with corn, sour cream and ricotta cheese, it was good I’ll send you the recipe one day, but all in all I would have enjoy the soup better but there’s always tommorow.

    • admin
      January 19, 2010 / 4:38 pm

      Donna, Thanks and all the best to you and your family. Seems we’re in the same boat. When I make this sort of soup, it’s usually a solo meal. Our girls will not touch it. They’re into the mashed potato as well.. but they do enjoy some of our Caribbean dishes as well. They were lucky enough to have my mom around when they were younger to spoil them with grandmas food.

      Patiently awaiting your recipe.

      Happy Cooking

      Chris….

  40. russel
    January 7, 2010 / 11:12 am

    If you never tasted salted pigtail then half your life is missing!

    • admin
      January 19, 2010 / 4:39 pm

      Russel.. ENT! Love me some salt meat too-bad.

  41. Gilda
    January 5, 2010 / 12:31 am

    This soup looks delish. I will definitely try it soon. Thanks for sharing.

  42. dorothea
    January 3, 2010 / 6:29 pm

    Salted pigtails are my favorite. I made a pot of this soup today and it really hit the spot. Any time its cold a thick soup really help. Mmmmmm!!!!

  43. Piper
    November 30, 2009 / 3:01 pm

    Salted Meat is hard to come by where I live so I salted my own pigtails. Soup is simmering on the stove as I type. Can’t wait. This is the ultimate all-in-one comfort food. We Bajans call this Bajan Soup but I realize that many of the other Caribbean Islands make it.

  44. September 15, 2009 / 7:30 am

    Hello All, thanks for all your comments.

    re: Glenda (also my sister’s name) You sound like someone I know who can’t get enough of TnT now that she played mas earlier this year. Trinidad and Tobago can be very addictive! Best of luck with your studies and do return and comment/test some of the other recipes. Maybe I can get your dad to give me some tips on restaurant ownership and the entire industry in general. My goal is to have my own restaurant very soon.

    Re: Janice, I’ve not had a chance to make sweet bread yet and I don’t have a recipe at this point. However we leave for the islands in 2 weeks and I’m hoping to convince my grandmother to bake some so I can document it. The only problem is that she’s 94 and get’s tired a bit faster these days. I’ll let you know the outcome when we return.

    Re: Peter. Pigs stop growing tails..man that’s a funny line. Here in Canada you can source them easily at Asian stores..most of the Caribbean grocers as well. I remember my grandmother sending me as a boy up to the village “chinee shop” to buy her salted pigtails, saltfish and/or salt beef. Bless her, she lived to be 93 with all that salted goodness!
    .-= Chris De La Rosa´s last blog ..More about the Chocloate Habanero or Chocolate Congo Pepper. =-.

  45. peter thomas
    September 15, 2009 / 1:08 am

    hiya chris, when I was a lad growing up, pigs tail was definatly a favourite at homw, now we never see any in the butchers shop, maybe pigs have stopped growing tails :((( which is a shame because they certainly tasted good the way my mother cooked em mmmmmmmmmmm

  46. Janice Swan
    August 15, 2009 / 9:10 pm

    Chris: Greetings!! There is one recipe that I have not been able to perfect, that is get it to taste like home and that is ‘sweet bread’. Can you help me in this area. In the meantime I enjoy your newsletters and pass them on to spouses and children of Trinidadians living overseas – must keep the culture growing.

    Best wishes

    Janice

  47. Glenda
    August 9, 2009 / 4:52 pm

    Hey Chris! i just discovered your website about 2 weeks ago. I am a culinary arts student with 3 classes in the culinary field left and continuing with a degree in hotel and restaurant management. i am a american-trini, meaning my father was born in trinidad and my mom from brooklyn ny. i was born here (usa) but my heart and soul is in trinidada. what a beautiful country! i went to carnival for the first time in 08 and i feel like a born again trini gyal!lol! my father also in the culinary field had 5 restaurants in brooklyn named Baldhead’s but now he just caters! my passion is trini food. i love everything about it, so everything i make has a hint of trinidad. i saw your recipe for caribbean soup. i followed your recipe and Chris it was delicious! the only thing i did different was added a package of cock soup mix. which i decide while eating the soup i really didnt need to add.
    Hey Chris you have a fan! lol!
    Blessings to you and your family!

  48. janice
    May 27, 2009 / 7:35 am

    look very tasty and bright

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