Soul Food for New Years: Trotters (Pig’s Feet)

(I am posting two New Year’s recipes today.  The below, the trotters, was actually made last August.  The black eyed pea and collard soup was made yesterday, and will appear here an hour or so after this one today. DO enjoy either or both.)

I have some packages of pigs feet in my freezer, and they have several uses.  One can use them for bone broth, one can make Korean jokbal, one can add them in to meatier ingredients to make head cheese or souse.  Or one can take a different leap of faith, and make a good Southern standby, a soul food pig’s foot recipe as below.  You might not be able to imagine it, but this is really good, tender, and tasty.

soul food, southern, pork trotters, pigs feet, recipe

Pork trotters, nicely braised

I was all up for the Korean recipe, but lacking enough ingredients I decided taking a gustatory page out of our Southern and African-American heritage in this country could be a good idea.  Back in the days of slavery, the enslaved would usually get the least “desired” bits of meat, and they were able to infuse flavor and nourishment into meals.

soul food, southern, pork trotters, pigs feet, recipe, Paleo, Whole 30

The butcher had cut these in half.

So, how do I have pigs’ feet in my freezer?  It is a side effect of ordering either a quarter or half a pig from local farmers — we’re asked if we want to take some of the awful, er, offal bits home with us, and I always say YES.  You can say NO, but if I’m sharing a portion of that pig with you, I’m willing to take your share of offal off your hands, too – in these cases it is generally free.  Yes, there are parts I am not crazy about – but if I can turn pig liver into pate or liverwurst, I’m your woman.  And there’s always bone broth for these feet.  I guess I’m Daddy’s girl after all.  He scoured all corners of New York City for unusual things to take home and try, but I actually don’t recall trotters.

soul food, southern, pork trotters, pigs feet, recipe, Paleo, Whole 30


This does take a while to make, and I’d be tempted to serve it as a side, with Hoppin’ John or another black eyed pea recipe as the center star.

soul food, southern, pork trotters, pigs feet, recipe, Paleo, Whole 30

For me, this served two. Hence a new plate for the second day of my enjoying this.

The author of this video states that pigs feet are a part of a soul food New Year’s tradition.  While this is the first I’ve heard that, I’m not exactly in the loop to truly know.  I did make minor changes in the recipe, mostly to keep things Paleo, or to deal with the lack of a couple ingredients in my house.

Prep time:  20 minutes (the meat soaking stage is optional)
Cook time:  3-4.5 hours
Rest Time:  Not needed, but you may want it to cool a bit.
Serves: 2
Cuisine:  Soul, Southern African American.
Leftovers:  Yes.
Serve with:  Hoppin’ John or a black eyed pea soup.

Soul Food Trotters / Pigs Feet

  • 1.5-2 lbs / 650-900 grams (2) trotters, more or less.
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 6 ounces / 170 grams diced bell pepper, any combo of color  
  • 3 cups / 710 mL liquid, (2 cups / 475 mL veggie broth plus 1 cup / 235 mL water)
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca powder (to make it Paleo)
  • 2 tablespoons Worchester sauce (for those who need, there is a gluten-free variety.)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1/2 cup / 120 mL apple cider vinegar.
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt.
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika.
  • 2-3 stalks, Celery, diced… I would add this in but this was the one ingredient I didn’t have in house when I cooked this.  60 minutes round trip, we do what we can do.
  • Optional crushed red pepper or hot sauce.

Soak feet in salt water for around an hour, then rinse.

Take 2 tablespoons of broth and the tapioca starch, mix in a small bowl until smooth.  Return to the rest of the broth.

Add to large cooking pot, then all the veggies, and all the seasonings (except the crushed red pepper/hot sauce) then all the liquids.

Bring to a boil, then a simmer.  Cook until it reduces some, cover.  Simmer 3-4 hours, and then check.  It should be tender, and if you wish to reduce down the liquid further, remove lid, stirring occasionally, maybe 15 more minutes.

Add in any hot pepper or sauce, adjust for salt and ground pepper, and serve.  Recommended to serve with black eyed peas, especially if you do this for New Years.

This dish is indeed truly tender!  Leftovers will thicken up in the fridge, due to the large quantity of healthy gelatin in the feet.

soul food, New Years, southern, pork trotters, recipe

Yes, folks, I WILL be making this one again!

Let’s hear it for Fiesta Friday, and indeed have a great Fiesta.  Mine here is sleety and freezing rain atm, but that’s how it goes.  Angie is a wonderful owner of this linked place, and we also, this week, have the co-hosts:  Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and Liz @ spades, spatulas & spoons.

In addition, let’s also celebrate a pre-New Years here this Sunday, over at What’s For Dinner? Sunday Link-Up.  I already see a plethora of good luck dishes there.

Happy New Year!!!




About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: I've now moved to my new home in rural western Massachusetts. I am raising chickens (for meat and for eggs) and planning for guinea fowl, Shetland sheep, and probably goats and/or alpaca. Possibly feeder pigs. Raising veggies and going solar.
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11 Responses to Soul Food for New Years: Trotters (Pig’s Feet)

  1. Pingback: Soul Food for New Years: Black Eyed Peas and Collards Soup/Stew | Of Goats and Greens

  2. What a fun use for pigs feet! I would toss one into my Traditional Black Eyed Peas if I had one, but I haven’t seen pigs feet for sale for decades. I liked hearing about how you got yours. Good for you! When I was growing pickled pigs feet were sold in all the small markets (usually attached to gas stations) but I never was brave enough to try one!

    • Yes, adding a pig’s foot to this recipe would indeed work as well as the bacon. I’d lightly braise it first, to add some extra umami, and get the meat/collagen breaking down. You’d probably want to an eye on it so as to remove the bones before adding it to the black eyed peas. Or, cook it up as to this recipe, de-bone, and add in.

      Actually, I might have done such with the black eyed peas, but I cooked the trotters last August (so intrigued with the linked recipe and all, in the moment), and the peas just a few days ago.

      (I do have a local farm source for more of these, however.)

    • oops, meant to say when I was growing up as in back in the day, not when I was growing pigs feet, lol!

  3. helenfern says:

    This flavorful meat is really under-rated! They add so much flavor to anything they are cooked in! Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party. Have a wonderful New Year!

  4. Have you had them pickled? They are delicious. And I love them in split pea soup as well. I agree they are much under-rated. Thank you for bringing them to FF.

    • I have not had the pig’s feet pickled. I did have pickled pig’s tongue (I think it was) in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and was not impressed. But it was probably that particular presentation, maybe?

      Maybe in the future I can try working up a pickling that I want to share, we shall see! Thanks.

  5. In our home for New Years we made goat trotters cooked with lots of spices and topped with fried onions in a soup base ❤️ truly a soul food. Happy New Years!!

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