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.
- 2 1/2 lbs pig tails
- 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
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix all of the BBQ Sauce ingredients.
- Toss the pig tails in a large roasting pan and mix in the sauce until evenly coated.
- Roast for 20 minutes at a high temperature.
- 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.
- Let the meat rest for a bit before serving.
- Enjoy and keep lots of napkins at the table! (The sauce can be a bit messy)