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Dec 2, 2007 07:06 AM

Pork hocks and feet - Long pig feet

Hi folks,
I am an archaeologist working in Ireland and have come across a large group of pig bones containing just the hocks and feet from the front feet. This is not a traditional cut of meat here in Ireland - my local butcher, who is also a slaughterman had never heard of this cut, but nosing around the Chowhound website I found a few references to this cut, and saw people calling it 'long pig feet'. I was wondering if this cut is popular with any particular ethnic groups or if anyone has any traditional recipes as to what should be done with this cut? Boiling the feet themselves is a traditional recipe in Ireland called 'Crubeens'.

I would really appreciate any help - Thanks

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  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. In a large Asian grocery chain (99 Ranch) the pig feet include more of the leg, though I couldn't say if they include the hock. They sell front feet separately from the rear, and there's enough of the leg to tell the difference. And, while an American style grocery sells the feet split lengthwise, the Asian one leaves them in one piece, but cut crosswise through the bone at 3" intervals. I usually complete the cut, and braise the pieces.


      10 Replies
      1. re: paulj

        Mmm. Thanks for that - it is interesting that they are available in Asian and in American groceries, and very interesting that the Asian stores have the 'longer' foot. Here pigs feet are now usually a special order rather than 'off the shelf', although as I say they were popular in the past. Braising sounds like a good option as the meat is presumably a bit tough if you don't give it time to soften.

        1. re: fif107

          Feet are mostly bone, skin, and ligaments, so need at least a couple of hours of simmering. I once had breaded feet (emborajados) in Ecuador, but I'm sure that was only the last step in a long cooking process. To keep them whole until tender, I've read you should wrap them in something like cheese cloth. Usually I fish out most of the bones, chop up the rest, and use it in a soup or stew. The broth can be rich enough in gelatin to glue your lips together.

          Cows feet are also available, especially in Hispanic neighborhoods. They are a necessary part of Mexican tripe soup (menudo). I don't know about Asian preparations, though I imagine they would provide a good soup base for Vietnamese Pho. However, tendon seems to be the preferred source of gelatin in this soup.


          1. re: paulj

            I think most cultures have traditionally used pigs feet - certainly here and in central/eastern Europe they often appear in traditional recipe books sometimes 'on' and sometimes 'off the bone'. They have a lot more meat than cattle feet so are generally worth the effort of cooking. So from what you say, in the case of the cattle feet these are presumably there to produce stock and thickening rather than as a source of meat per-se? I have seen reference to African immigrants to Europe sourcing cattle feet for traditional dishes, but am not sure what dishes.

            Coming back to the 'long pigsfeet' it sounds like the upshot is that you get something portion-sized but with more and better meat on it than if you just have the trotter itself - the difference between buying a standard size and a kingsize chocolate bar. This may be the answer to my puzzle.

            1. re: paulj

              Paula Wolfert has a great recipe for the kind of grilled pig's feet I ate in France. The feet are not split, but tied to splints and wrapped in cheesecloth, then simmered very gently for a very long time in seasoned water. They are then cooled, split open, the meat and now-tender gristle/tendons removed and chopped and the bones discarded. The chopped meat is mixed with some sausage meat and then stuffed back into the skin. The whole thing is coated with mustard, rolled in crumbs, then drizzled with butter and grilled. Kind of a grueling haul for one or two pig's feet, which is why it's typically a restaurant dish, since all the steps up until the grilling can be done well in advance. Still, I did it once, and the results were gratifying.

              1. re: Will Owen

                I've seen in a carniceria (Mexican butcher shop) blood sausage stuffed in pig's foot skin like this.

                1. re: paulj

                  That's a weird idea - to recreate the shape of the foot without the bones. It sounds as though it would look pretty good though, very impressive on the plate.

                  1. re: fifi07

                    Actually, my wife, who had heard me reminiscing about those pigs feet and had urged me to cook some, was disappointed because she loves to forage for the gelatinous bits among the bones. French as she is, she'd still rather have a plain boiled pig's foot from Swett's Cafeteria in Nashville than the grilled ones we had in Chartres. Sigh.

                2. re: Will Owen

                  As I've described in another post to this board, I used pigs' feet (with about 8 -10 inches of leg on them which I bought at a Chinese butcher in Oakland) for French beef terrine (from Wolfert's Cooking of Southwest France book). The pigs' feet provided the jelly which held the terrine, mostly made of beef braised slowly for hours at a very low oven temp, together. Any meat on them was chopped up after the simmering. I'd never used pigs' feet before and was a bit daunted at first. Soon, however, I overcame qualms. I also will probably only do this terrine once, but it was also gratifying as well as being quite delicious.

                  1. re: oakjoan

                    That's the same as the Creole Daube Glacé, a very popular dish in New Orleans, rarely seen now, but once absolutely required for a proper cocktail party. My family made it all the time and I guess it's best described as a beef version of hoghead cheese, although easier since you don't have to hunt down a hog head and deal with that.
                    I have small round molds for it that fit perfectly on melba toasts.

            2. re: paulj

              I just bought, from 99Ranch, a front pork foot - labeled as 'long cut'. They sell the front, which has more of the hock, for more /lb than the rear.


            3. The original comment has been removed
              1. isn't 'long pork' a euphemism for human flesh?

                3 Replies
                1. re: pepper_mil

                  Yes - it is based on the idea that people and pigs actually taste similar and was linked to cannibalism. Both species are red meat, and about the same size so have similar sized muscles (meat) etc and both are generally omnivores - eat meat and plant foods so the meat tastes similar and has a similar texture - in the same way that if you ask "what does rabbit/hare/pigeon/etc taste like?" the answer usually comes back as "a bit like chicken"!

                  1. re: pepper_mil

                    Humans were referred to as "long pig" when cooked in an imu through most of the Pacific at one time. Cannibalism usually wasn't gustatory so much as a celebration of beating a foe in battle, then eating him. Of course, there were times when people were a delicacy...

                  2. If you get the foot part cut off the long pig feet, you're left with the shank which you can braise like lamb or veal shanks.
                    Then throw them on the grill to finish as Pig Wings like these.