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how do you eat whole pig's feet?

I was recently confronted with this problem at my regular vietnamese spot. It was in my soup bowl, perched on top, clearly the "special" part of the otherwise delicious special: a whole pig's foot. I think it was pig. I considered the possibility that it was just another collagen-rich soup bone that had accidentally slipped into my bowl, but every bowl of that special I have ordered (and there have been many, because it's freaking addictively delicious) has contained a foot, sitting proudly atop a little hillock of melty brisket and fat noodles.

I'm not averse. Just virginal.

So please help:

- How do you eat a whole pig's foot? Do you just pick it up and gnaw on it? The thick rubbery skin resisted my efforts, and the rest seemed like just fat barely cushioning trotter bones. I poked into the severed end for marrow with my chopstick without much luck. What part should I eat and what toss aside?

- How do you eat a whole pig's foot with chopsticks?


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  1. "How do you eat a whole pig's foot with chopsticks?"

    quite possibly the best, and funniest mental image i've had all day. :)

    and i have NO idea.

    1. When I have encountered it in pozole and menudo, its usually been tender enough to tear in the soup to pieces for the outer meat. The leftover collagen or marrow you pick up and eat or I put it into a tortilla with salsa.

      The city of Guadalajara is famous for tostadas de pata or pigs feet tostadas. Usually the meat is chopped into dice for you but at this restaurant near the Refugio this past summer I was given the whole thing! http://flickr.com/photos/xguadalajara...

      1. Go primordial.

        Pick it up with your hands, tear it apart with your fingers, gnaw at it with your teeth and suck it clean with your mouth.

        Bring a bib if you prefer, or use a makes-shift one with napkins if you must, but whatever you do don't be shy. Attack it like a steaklover would a prime ribeye after a month on a a vegetarian fast, er, I mean, uh, vegetarian diet.

        1. I eat congealed pigs foot from time to time and I don't eat it with chopsticks (even though it is korean). I just pull it apart with my hands and eat the toes one by one and then eat the rest. Tasty stuff

          1. I've never had one like this, but used to eat pickled pigs feet all the time as a kid. Just pick it up and start eating it.

            1. The dish comes with a spoon, no? Or use your fingers.

              1. My cousin used to put vinegar and hot sauce on pig feet, she had special
                china bowl that she would spit the bones into, they made a pretty sound, ping,ping, ping. She would start off with a fork to pull it apart and then use her fingers for the rest. The pig feet must be hot, you can stand up a fork in a cold pig foot! It was fun to watch her, but I never developed a taste for them, but then I can eat liver and onions and she can't.LOL

                1. I'd say ask for another plate and set the foot there to at least cool to the touch.
                  Then pick 'er up and start gnawing.
                  Set aside most of the skin (some people will gladly eat it all...me? I eat some but a wave of fat guilt always gets the better of me...) then munch the foot bit by bit.
                  Meat - no brainer.
                  Tendon and sinew - chew and enjoy.
                  Bone - chomp clean and spit onto plate.

                  Don't be afraid of making sucking noises and displaying pleasure! {;-/)

                  1. With a bottle of beer!!!

                    In the words of the immortal Bessie Smith,

                    I wanna pigfoot and a bottle of beer / Send me daddy, cos I don't care / I feel just like I wanna clown / Give the piano player a drink / Cause he brought me down

                    He just send me right off to sleep / Check all your razors and your guns / I'm gonna be arrested when the wagon comes

                    I wanna pigfoot and a bottle of beer / Send me cos I don't care oh no / Send me cos I don't care

                    1. Hilarious. One of the great posts, ever.

                      And I have no idea. I hail from pickled pig's feet country, but have never tried them. I'm afraid.

                      1. I usually see pig's feet tender enough so I can break it apart with a spoon or chopsticks. I guess if the pig's foot in the this case isn't that tender you can just pick it up and gnaw at it but I'd just consider it too undercooked to bother much with.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: PegS

                          If you're not in a hurry, you could always send it back to the kitchen for further cooking.

                        2. Ask for an extra plate and a small knife - break it down and get all the good stuff in small pieces and bits and then toss back into the bowl.

                          1. When I was a kid my father would order pigs' knuckles corned (brined like brisket) from the butcher. The meat would become pink and more flavorful and they would be the centerpiece of a boiled dinner with cabbage and potatoes. I loved them so much that I remmber ordering them for my birthday dinner when I was about ten. I wish I knew if or how you could get them like that now.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: junescook

                              Brining is simple enough. Its Instacure (#1 for this application) aka Prague Powder aka DQ curing salt aka 93.75% salt/6.25% nitrite mix which cures the meat pink.
                              Make a brine with this and water, soak feet in fridge for awhile (I did pork tongues overnight, ribs took a week to cure, and hams 2 weeks) maybe 10 days or so.
                              Cured feet in boiled dinner...hmmm, you got me thinking, that sounds good. I'll try it soon!