Pigs Feet Aka Pied de Porc

Grab your pig’s feet, bread, and gin, there’s plenty in the kitchen.

I wonder what the poor people are eating tonight.

Fats Waller

Pied de Porc, Pig’s Trotter, Pigs Knuckles, Oh hell, its Pig’s Feet. You read that right, pigs’ feet. Don’t hold up your nose like so many of my friends have done these last few days.  Continue reading and you might walk away with a new found respect for those tasty trotters.

Tilly: Especially when served with Sauce Robert.

Olive: NO, Tilly that is not the southern way.

Pig’s Feet or Pied de Porc if it makes reading this better, was considered a great delicacy in ancient Rome. I even found two recipes from Apicius fellow.

255 Cracklings, Pork Skin, Tenderloin, Tails and Feet

Callum, lumbelli,1 coticulae, ungellae

Serve with pepper, broth and laser (which the Greeks call “silphion which is now believed extinct

Above from: APICIUS

DE RE COQUINARIA p159 Book VII. Sumptuous Dishes

Tilly: Okay, I’ll ask … what are callum, lumbelli, coticulae and ungellae?

Olive: Tilly, that is the title written in Roman street Latin, I am surprised you did not know that.

Tilly: Okay, so I resurrected some schoolroom Latin – callum = callous/corns; lumbelli = loins (as in dangly bits?); coticulae = cottages!!!!; ungellae = hooves.

Another tidbit of Roman history, Pig’s Feet were only eaten by the elite, not their slaves, due in part because of the cost of them little critters.

Tilly: The slaves didn’t have time to do all this cooking …

How did those trotters travel all the way to my home in the Southern part of the U.S.? Romans thought they had such a great recipe for Pied de Porc they traveled west to share their good fortune and recipe. All right, that might not be the only reason the Romans ventured west, but it’s my story and I am writing it.

Tilly: Odd that they used a French name for zampone di maiale.

Olive: Folks “zampone di maiale” is Italian for pigs trotters gees Tilly.

Tilly: So why not stick with the Italian/Latin?

Packing up their kitchen equipment and grabbing the recipe, the Romans headed for France by way of Germany. They must have known France would be the one country to uphold the tradition of the recipe. In fact, one King loved them so much he lost his head over Pig’s Feet.

Tilly: I tell everyone the Italians taught the French how to cook …

Olive: I have to agree here, that should shock you.

Tilly: I may never recover.

King Louis XVI should never have put his face on the currency for the postmaster to recognize him. The city is Sainte-Menehould, nice place to visit. I should know, I have been there, yes, they still eat pig’s feet.

Tilly: I hope they trimmed the trotters’ toenails.  

Olive: I hope so too.

It was also rumored that he, Old King Louie stopped at a local eatery the famed Le Pied Rare to chow down on one of his favorite meals, pied de porc. Below is a fine example of how you can eat like a king:

Pieds de porc à la Sainte-Menehould ~ Oven Grilled Pig’s Feet

Servings: 4

Cooking time:  2 hrs. 45 minutes


4 pig’s feet (cut in half lengthwise) , 2 cups / 500 ml beef broth (canned, cubes, or fresh) , 1 cup / 250 ml dry white wine , 2 whole carrots (peeled), 2 whole onions (peeled) , 2 cloves , 2 bay leaves ,2 sprigs parsley ,1 ½ tsp. / 7.5 ml Thyme , 1 stick butter / 113 grams , 3 eggs , 1 cup / 250 ml fine bread crumbs ,salt and pepper, to taste , mustard

Tie the halved pig’s feet to recreate four pigs’ feet.  Put the bouillon and the wine in a big pot. Stick one clove in each onion. Add the onions, carrots, bay leaves, parsley and thyme to the pot. Bring to a boil.  Add the trotters. Lower heat and skim the top until the broth is clear.  Cook over medium-low heat for 2 ½ hours. When cooked, remove the feet from the pot, untie them and let cool. (NOTE:  this can be done a day in advance).  Heat the oven to 375 F.  Melt the butter in a small skillet. Beat the eggs in a wide flat bowl, add salt and pepper. Pour the breadcrumbs in another flat bowl. Dip the feet in the eggs and then roll them in the bread-crumbs. Place them on a baking sheet. Spoon the butter over them on all sides. Put in the oven and cook until lightly brown for about 15 minutes. Turn them often and spoon on remaining butter. Serve them hot with mustard on the side.

Tilly: Dire lack of garlic in the court bouillon …

Olive: You and garlic, according to your Queen, it makes your breath stink.

Tilly: Yeah, but it keeps Dracula away. He’s never been to our house. And chewing fresh parsley takes the pong away. I don’t think modern garlic is as niffy as it used to be … And how do you turn them often when they are in the oven for just 15 minutes?

This recipe is a tad older, published in 1846 by Harriet Toogood and David Bogue and I believe this was the recipe used when I passed through Sainte-Menehould on the way to Paris.


Scald and cleanse the feet, and split them lengthwise; wrap each separately in a pièce of linen, tie it up at the ends; put them into a saucepan with some salt; a large bunch of mixed herbs, basil, and three cloves of garlic; lay two cross pièces of wood in the saucepan, to keep the feet down, and then fill it up with water; set it on, keep skimming and filling up the pot with boiling water; let it boil for five hours, then take the feet, and when half cold, untie them; dip them in oil, or well-beaten egg and crumbs of bread, and broil them over a brisk fire.

Closer to home, Mary Randolph, first cousin to President Thomas Jefferson gave the following recipe in her book Housewife or Methodical Cook by, Mrs. Mary Randolph, 1861.


Split the feet in two, dredge them with flour and fry them a nice brown; have some well-seasoned gravy thickened with brown flour and butter; stew the feet in it a few minutes.


Let all the pieces you intend to souse, remain covered with cold water for  twelve hours; then wash them out, wipe off the blood, and put them again in fresh water; soak them in this manner, changing the water frequently, and keeping it in a cool place, till the blood is drawn away; scrape and clean each piece perfectly nice, mix some meal with water, add salt to it, and boil your souse gently, until you can run a straw into the skin with ease. Do not put too much in the pot, for it will boil to pieces and spoil the appearance. The best way is to boil the feet in one pot, the ears and nose in another, and the heads in a third; these should be boiled till you can take all the bones out; let them get cold, season the insides with pepper, salt, and a little nutmeg; make it in a tight roll, sew it up close in a cloth, and press it lightly. Mix some more meal and cold water, just enough to look white; add salt, and one-fourth of vinegar; put your souse in different pots, and keep it well covered with this mixture, and closely stopped. It will be necessary to renew this liquor every two or three weeks. Let your souse get quite cold after boiling, before you put it in the liquor, and be sure to use pale coloured vinegar, or the souse will be dark. Some cooks singe the hair from the feet, etcetera, but this destroys the colour: good souse will always be white.

Tilly: Sounds a lot like good old-fashioned Brawn, which I haven’t seen available for a long time.

Now if that don’t blow you away… get a load of what else history has done with those tasty trotters.

Estelle Woods Wilcox author of Practical Housekeeping, published in 1887 by Buckeye Publishing Company. You could use pigs feet to ward off “The Croup”. No, you did not read that wrong, I wonder if they taught that to my family doctor.  Don’t believe me… check out the recipe

Sure Cure For Croup

– Boil pigs’ feet in water, without salt, and let it stand overnight; in the morning skim off the fat (which will be formed in a cake on top), put in a tin pan, boil until all water is evaporated; bottle, and keep for use. Give a tea-spoon every fifteen minutes on the appearance of the first symptoms, and apply freely to chest and throat, rubbing well. A celebrated physician says that, a child cannot have the croup if pigs’ feet oil is administered at the first symptoms. Or, warm a tea-spoon with a little lard in it or goose grease; thicken with sugar, and give it to the child; it may produce vomiting, which is always desirable, thus breaking up the membrane that is forming. Apply lard or goose grease to throat and chest, with raw cotton or flannel. Care should be taken, removing only a small piece at a time of these extra wraps to prevent taking cold.

Tilly: Goose fat, lard or any rendered fat was used in winter as protection against the cold and illness. The wraps or vests were left in place for the duration of winter in many cases. Smell must have been far worse than any garlic breath

Are you in shock yet? If not continue reading maybe that will do it.

The first is from the famed Waldorf Hotel, known today as the Waldorf-Astoria

The Cook Book By “Oscar” Of The Waldorf

Author  Oscar Tschirky

Publisher             The Werner Company

The year       1896 ( Oscar Tschirky, Maitre D’ Hotel, The Waldorf)

Wash some pig’s feet well, put them over the fire in a stew pan, with just water enough to cover, and as soon as the water boils remove the pan from the fire, strain off the water, and plunge them in a bowl of cold water. Clean the pan and put the feet into it again, with two quarts of water, one tablespoon each of salt and vinegar, and one ounce of flour blended smoothly in a little cold water. Put the pan over the fire and stir the contents till they boil, then place over a slow fire and simmer for four hours. Place the feet on a hot dish, pour over some good white sauce, and serve hot.

Another place, which might surprise you, “The Whitehouse.” You have heard of the Whitehouse, that big white building where the Pres. lives. Below is a reprint issue from the original published in the 1800’s.

Broiled beefsteak, broiled chops, broiled chicken, broiled fish, broiled quail on toast, fried pork tenderloins, fried pig’s feet, fried oysters, fried clams, fried liver and bacon, fried chops, fried pork, ham and eggs fried, veal cutlets breaded, sausages, fricasseed tripe, fricasseed kidneys, turkey or chicken hash, corn beef hash, beef croquettes, codfish balls, creamed codfish, stewed meats on toast, poached eggs on toast, omelettes, eggs boiled plain, and eggs cooked in any of the various styles.

Title :      The White House Cook Book

Author  Hugo Ziemann, F. L Gillette

Publisher The Saalfield Publishing Company

Year       1913

Tilly: That is one helluva heart attack on a plate.

The famed Fanny Farmer wrote, “Pigs’ feet are boiled until tender, split, and covered with vinegar made from white wine.” — Fannie Merritt Farmer. Chapter 16. Pork. The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. Boston: Little, Brown. 1918.

Below are some interesting facts concerning Pigs Feet that will surprise you.

Did you know that in Ireland they sold these on the streets? In the later part of the 1800’s you could even trade your surplus goods for these tasty critters. If you did not want to go right home and cook just drop into your local pub and have pig’s feet and cabbage. Today pig’s feet and cabbage is still a popular home-cooked meal in parts of Ireland.

If you have decided to try cooking these babies, there is one important piece of info..  Make sure you remove the hair. You do this by holding them over an open flame before boiling or roasting.  The open flame will singe the hairs left on them babies.  Now how many of you thought pig’s did not have hair?

Tilly: Nah – makes for discolouration in the cooking brine. Borrow your husband’s razor or use tweezers

Today, pig’s feet are making a comeback. You can find them listed on menus in New York, London and of course in France. So the next time you want to impress that boss of yours so you can get that pay raise. Serve them Pied de Porc, because if you tell them it’s pig’s feet, your ass might get fired.

Tilly: Especially if he/she/they are vegetarian or vegan!

Olive and Tilly


Let’s Eat Pig’s Feet

If you haven’t tried them, you haven’t lived!

By Rick Bragg

Published on July 12, 2017 



One Comment

  • Olive

    Oh boy am I in trouble…look what I found. I can’t wait for Tilly to see it.

    Pigs’ Feet Pickled
    From: Twentieth century cookbook: a feast of good things
    by:Babtist Church, Plano, Ill. 1907
    Take twelve pig’s feet, scrape and wash them clean, put them into a sauce-pan with enough hot (not boiling) water to cover.
    When partly done, salt them. It requires four or five hours to boil them soft.
    Pack them in a stone crock, and over them spiced vinegar made hot. They will be ready to use in a day or two.
    If you wish them for breakfast, split them, make a batter of 2 eggs, a cup of milk, salt, a teaspoon butter,
    with flour enough to make a thick batter; dip each piece in this and fry in hot lard.
    Or dip them in beaten egg and flour and fry. Souce is good eaten cold or warm

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