The Complete Guide on How to Cook Pigs Feet in the Oven
Pig’s feet may not be as popular as other pork dishes, but they are a staple ingredient in many cuisines worldwide. They are commonly used in Southern and Asian dishes, where they add a robust flavor and tender texture to stews, soups, and braised dishes.
While cooking pig’s feet may seem daunting, cooking them in the oven is a relatively easy method that yields delicious results. In this article, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about choosing, preparing, seasoning, and cooking pigs’ feet in the oven.
Choosing and Preparing Pig’s Feet
Before cooking pig’s feet in the oven, you must choose the right meat and prepare it adequately. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Choose High-Quality Pig’s Feet: Always opt for fresh pig’s feet with a pinkish hue and no foul smell. Check for any punctures or cuts on the skin and avoid those. Fresh pig’s feet should have minimal fat on them.
Clean and Trim the Feet: Rinse each pig’s foot under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris. Use a sharp knife to trim off any excess skin or fat.
Pre-Soak or Brine for Improved Results: Pigs’ feet can be tough and chewy without adequate preparation. Pre-soaking or brining can help break down muscle fibers, resulting in a more tender dish.
- In a large bowl or container, submerge the pig’s feet in cold water.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar (any type) per quart of water.
- Allow the pig’s feet to soak for at least one hour before cooking.
- In a large pot, mix 6-8 cups of water, 1 cup of kosher salt, 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of vinegar.
- Add the pig’s feet to the pot and refrigerate for at least four hours before cooking.
Seasoning and Flavoring Pig’s Feet
There are plenty of spices and flavors that go with pig’s feet, depending on your preference. Here are some flavor combinations to consider:
Classic Southern Blend: For a classic Southern-style dish, season your pig’s feet with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, thyme, salt and black pepper.
Asian-Inspired Seasoning: To add an Asian twist to your dish, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, ginger paste, and garlic.
Honey-Glazed BBQ Sauce: If you want a sweet and tangy taste with your pig’s feet recipe, coat them in honey-glazed BBQ sauce. Use any bottled sauce of choice then add honey to create the desired sweetness.
Remember that the choice of seasonings influences the type of sauce you will use in the dish.
Cooking Methods for Pigs Feet in the Oven
Now that you have prepared and seasoned your pig’s feet let’s move on to the cooking method. You can roast or braise (slow cook) pigs’ feet in the oven; however braising is often preferred as it results in more tender meat. Here is how to do it:
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Place seasoned pig’s feet in an oven-safe dish and roast for 20-30 minutes.
- Reduce the temperature to 325°F (160°C), cover with foil, and continue baking for another 2-2 1/2 hours until tender and fully cooked through.
Braising (Slow Cooker) Method:
- Place your seasoned pig’s feet in a single layer at the bottom of your slow cooker.
- Drizzle 1 cup of liquid like beef or chicken broth, white wine or apple cider vinegar over the pigs’ feet. This will help create steam that cooks the meat as well as a flavorful sauce to coat the dish later on.
- Cover and cook on low heat for six hours.
- Optionally, you can broil them in the oven after cooking to give them an extra crispy texture on the outsie from being juicy inside. Use a smaller roasting dish then broil under the oven broiler for three to five minutes until crisp to your liking.
Tips for Achieving Optimal Results
Here are some tips to consider when cooking pigs’ feet:
Low and Slow: Braising requires slow cooking at low temperatures (between 275-325 degrees Fahrenheit). Always allow enough time for your pig’s feet to cook thoroughly so that they’re tender, juicy, and fall off the bone.
Use a Thermometer: Consider using a meat thermometer to know when your pig’s feet have reached their optimal level of doneness. The internal temperature should read 190°F (88°C).
Cover Your Dish: When using braising method, always cover your dish during cooking time. This helps prevent moisture from escaping, which results in tender meat.
Broil the Pig’s Feet: To add extra crispiness to the pig’s feet, broil them in the oven after cooking under low heat. Use a smaller roasting dish then broil under the oven broiler for three to five minutes until crisp to your liking.
To present your pig’s feet attractively, consider serving on a bed of mashed potatoes with greens on the side. Also, you can serve different sauces and gravies like warm BBQ or hot sauce for dipping with some vegetables like carrots or beans for added flavor and nutrition.
Health Benefits of Eating Pig’s Feet
Pig’s feet are slowly gaining popularity due to their numerous health benefits. They are a rich source of collagen, which is essential for improving skin elasticity and joint health. Pig feet are also high in protein, chondroitin, and glucosamine, which promote bone growth and wound healing. Although they have a high-fat content, it is rich in healthy fatty acids that aid in brain function and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
Cooking pig’s feet in the oven is an easy way to create a succulent meal that’s rich in flavor and nutrition. With careful preparation, seasoning, and cooking methods discussed above, you can produce fall-off-the-bone meat that everyone would enjoy. Experiment with different flavor combinations until you find your personal favorite. A world of exciting possibilities awaits you!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I cook pig’s feet in the oven without boiling them first?
Yes, you can cook pig’s feet in the oven without boiling them first. However, pre-boiling them beforehand can help ensure that the skin is tender and the meat is fully cooked through.
2. How long does it take to cook pig’s feet in the oven?
Cooking time can vary depending on the recipe and the size of the pig’s feet. Generally, it takes about 2 to 3 hours to cook pig’s feet in the oven at 350°F (175°C).
3. What are some seasonings that go well with pig’s feet?
There are many different seasoning options for pig’s feet, including garlic, ginger, soy sauce, black pepper, and bay leaves. Additionally, adding vegetables like onions and carrots can enhance the flavor of the dish.
4. Can I store leftovers from roasted pig’s feet?
Yes, you can store leftovers from roasted pig’s feet in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze them for longer storage up to six months. Reheat thoroughly before serving.