Cooked with fresh, crispy cabbage, pig tails are a simple, traditional Southern dish that won't put a strain on your food budget. Pig tails are tough because they consist almost entirely of collagen and skin, but long, slow simmering renders an abundance of sweet, juicy pork flavor. You probably won't find pig tails at your local supermarket, but they are often available at ethnic markets or specialty butcher shops.
Things You'll Need
- Scrub brush
- Large, heavy pan with lid
- Chicken or beef broth (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- Cutting board
- Chef's knife
- Vegetables (optional)
- Bacon drippings or vegetable oil
- Serving bowl
Rinse the pig tails thoroughly under cold water. Use a scrub brush to remove all traces of grit and dirt.
Place the pig tails in a large, heavy pan, then fill the pan with enough water to cover the tails. If desired, you can add chicken or beef broth instead of water.
Season the pig tails with salt and pepper to suit your preference, then cover the pot tightly.
Bring the water to a full boil, then turn the burner to medium so the liquid continues at a slower boil. Cook the pig tails for 30 to 40 minutes.
Prepare the cabbage while the pig tails are simmering. Wash the cabbage and pull off the tough outer leaves. Cut the cabbage into quarters, then put each quarter on a cutting board and cut out the inner core. Cut the quarters into 1/4-inch strips.
Add the cabbage slowly to the boiling liquid. Cover the pan and lower the heat to low or medium-low so the liquid simmers gently but doesn't boil.
Add extra vegetables to the pot, if desired. For example, stir in chopped bell pepper, celery, carrots or onion. Additionally, stir in a small amount of bacon drippings or vegetable oil.
Remove the lid and continue to simmer the dish gently for an additional 15 to 30 minutes, or until the tails and cabbage reach the desired level of tenderness. Add extra liquid, if necessary, to prevent the pig tails and cabbage from sticking.
Transfer the pig tails and cabbage to a serving bowl. Season the dish with additional salt and pepper, if desired.