I know what you are thinking…tails of pigs? Yup. If we are going to eat pork, let’s use the whole animal. And the tail is really delicious. Gamey, salty and flavorful. Bear with me.
Here is what the tails look like. They are pretty cheap at about $4 bzd a pound but you are getting mostly bones. I don’t think that the butcher always has them. You need to look for a special sign in the window. (And, I didn’t do this but ask your butcher to chop them into 2 inch pieces for you. I don’t have a super sharp meat cleaver or machete so I am cooking mine whole. These things are almost impossible to cut.)
The tails aren’t just ugly…they are hideous. All men looking at this post are probably crossing their legs. My dim lighting and industrial white tile counter make them look even more creepy. A great prop for a horror film.
This meal is really economical. Aside from the PTs (let’s just call them that), dried splits peas and rice are also very cheap. This dish makes a very little meat go a long, long way.
1-2lbs of Pig Tails (don’t worry…most fat will cook off. Plus, I found it easier to trim off the bigger chunks after it had been boiled. Cut into 2 inch pieces)
1lb dried yellow split peas
2 yellow onions, diced
Okay, let’s start.
Put the pig tails in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes. Change water, repeat. Change water, repeat. For good measure, let’s change water and repeat again. Four boils in all made them perfect for me. Each time, the water will be greasy, a bit foamy and smell like you are boiling bacon. But all of that lessens with each boil. BEAR WITH ME!
Take the tails out of the liquid and set them aside. Rinse the dried peas and look for sticks, stones…whatever might have slipped into that bag. (For some reason, the peas are always yellow rather than green in the local stores…I’m sure it doesn’t matter.) No need to soak. Add 1 lb of the dried peas to about 4 cups of the broth. Add the diced onion. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Use this time to let the tails cool a bit and trim off anything you don’t want…fat, skin, hair, warts (I’m kidding about those last two.) Add the tails to the pea mixture. Cook covered for about an hour adding water as needed. (I added another cup) Make sure the peas don’t stick towards the end. The water tends to rise to the top so make sure you stir every 5 minutes or to avoid scorching.)
I like my split peas to be like very thick pea soup. Some people like a little chunk to their peas. Some like them very watery. It’s up to you…you could probably cook this stuff forever.
|The batch I’m eating for breakfast today…it gets better with age.|
Mmmmmm…serve with white rice. And, let’s be honest, it’s not going to be on the cover of Martha Stewart Magazine any time soon but it sure tastes good. It had better be…I’m going to be eating this stuff all week.
Don’t expect a ton of meat from the PTs. They are mostly bone with a bit of meat clinging to the sides. But like thick bacon in baked beans or ham hocks in pea soup, they make this dish taste so friggin’ good. Enjoy.
What I’d Change: Definitely get your tails cut up by the butcher or sharpen your own hatchet. Cut off the rounded stubby end. It’s all fat and skin. Doing all of this would help the tail cook more evenly.
Tips: 1. Do not prepare this dish for a first date. The smell is quite strong and you don’t look very sexy sucking the meat off of a pig tail bone. I’d say it is best to eat pig tail alone with the shades drawn.
2. In my mind, the more tails the better. 2lbs was perfect for me.
3. If you are not Belizean, might be fun to make this for your family for Halloween.