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)

Beet and Wild Rice Salad

For me, this recipe screams Fall! Thanksgiving! Family time! One of my aunts makes a variation of this salad for family get togethers. This is a copycat version of her recipe.

The original recipe calls for regular feta cheese, if you prefer.

My family uses Black Duck Wild Rice, from Peterborough, Ontario. This rice is roasted with maple wood and makes your entire home smell absolutely amazing!

Beet and Wild Rice Salad

image

Ingredients

  • Beets
  • Wild rice
  • Dill (fresh), chopped
  • Goat feta cheese, crumbled
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Maple syrup

Directions

  1. Cook beets and wile rice at the same time. Boil the beets until cooked through, and cook wild rice according to directions (I made about 12 beets + 1 cup of wild rice).
  2. Rub beets with a paper towel to remove the skin (and wear rubber gloves so you don’t dye your hands). Seriously, this works really well and there is less waste than if you try to peel with a pairing knife.
  3. Slice beets into bite-sized pieces and add to wild rice.
  4. Add dill and goat feta cheese, then stir.
  5.  Mix the vinaigrette (2 parts olive oil, 2 parts balsamic vinegar, 1 part maple syrup).
  6. Pour vinaigrette over salad.
  7. Enjoy warm or chill in the fridge and serve later!