Slow-Cooked BBQ Pig tails

Pig tails are a staple in my family. They’re plentiful and easy to find in my hometown of Kitchener, ON, which also happens to be home to the second-largest Oktoberfest in the world.

I’ve been told by my family that pig tails are a traditionally German food. So it makes sense that a family that’s lived in this city a few generations would call this a staple.

However, the recipe that serves as our base when making pig tails is from an old Canadian-Mennonite Cookbook. The city is bordered by a large Mennonite community, so this makes sense as well. What are the actual origins of the recipe, German or Mennonite? I really am not sure.

That said, the recipe I make is my own version. It’s different than the way my Dad makes it. And different than Nana’s recipe. So I think I’ve decided that it can be influenced by both potential origins.

One thing we can agree on, however, is that pig tails make a very affordable and delicious dinner. Traditionally, my family serves this with a side of roasted or boiled potato and sauerkraut.

Lately, I’ll serve it with a side of brown rice or sweet potato and a salad.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lbs pig tails

BBQ Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil (I use grapeseed)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 bottle dark beer (Shhhh don’t tell S that I cook with beer)
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix all of the BBQ Sauce ingredients.
  3. Toss the pig tails in a large roasting pan and mix in the sauce until evenly coated.
  4. Roast for 20 minutes at a high temperature.
  5. Turn the heat down to 280 degrees Fahrenheit and let it roast for 2-3 hours. The fat should render a bit, the meat will become tender, and the sauce will be caramelized.
  6. Let the meat rest for a bit before serving.
  7. Enjoy and keep lots of napkins at the table! (The sauce can be a bit messy)
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You Don’t Win Friends With Salad

Eat more salad, they told me.

And yet the whole time, this clip from a older episode of The Simpsons (Lisa the Vegetarian first aired in 1995) was running through my head:

I’m not opposed to eating vegetables. I’m not opposed to eating salad. I just thought, previously, that I was doing ok with my ratio of food-type consumption.

First, a Dietician told me that I needed more leafy greens in my diet. Then, a Natuopathic Doctor. It took two professionals to set me on the right track.

And you know what? 9 months later I can honestly say it’s been a long time since I’ve felt as good as I do now. It’s not just that I eat salad. I made a lot of dietary changes. But salads have probably been the biggest change and the most challenging to integrate. At first, ideas for salad didn’t come naturally. And they don’t always now, but it’s getting easier. I have to meal plan. I have to make new choices at the grocery store.

I had to decide it was time for a change.

I’ve learned to embrace salads as a daily food choice, as part of my meal planning, and part of my grocery budget.

Know what else? I’ve won friends with salad.

I’m slowly becoming known as the friend with all the salad ideas. People have mentioned that my constant barrage of salad pictures on Instagram inspires their own salad-making!