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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

PIckled Pigs Feet and Pork Rinds

            My special thanks to Dave at Dolores Canning Company for providing me samples of Pickled Pigs Feet and Pork Rinds.  I received no payment for the following review and the opinions expressed are my honest personal opinions.

            If you have read my March review of the Dolores Chili Brick, you may remember my rave review of the product and the recipe I created using it.  At that time I had mentioned that having enjoyed the Chili Brick so much I was curious to try the pickled pigs feet and pickled pork rinds made by the Dolores Canning Company.  Dave Munoz from Dolores saw my interest and graciously sent me a jar of each.

        Now, these are products about which I have been curious but have been hesitant to try.  I tried to find some of my family members who might want to sample these with me, but none stepped forward except my adventurous youngest daughter, Angelina.  I seem to recall having tried pigs feet about forty years ago and somewhat liking them, but I was apparently not so enamored as to try them again since that time.  This past Sunday Angelina and I were up for the challenge.

           Appearance-wise what can I say.  They look very weird in an unappetizing sort of way.  My wife refused to look at them.  Ange could only describe them as "gross".  Here is a picture of the two jars from the unlabeled side.

         When opened, the pork rinds smelled of vinegar, jalapenos, and oregano--the odor was essentially the same as jalapenos en escabeche, which is a pickling solution.  The smell was not unpleasant.  However, the pigs feet did not smell as good.  The odor was not quite as vinegary and with a stronger meat scent--and not good like smoked meats, but like fatty meat soaked in vinegar.

           Ange tried the first tasting which was the pigs feet.  I captured the moment on video.  By the way, despite the fact that she still looks like a kid, Ange is 21.  The toddler in the background is hers.  I'll let the video speak for itself.

         Okay so Ange wasn't thrilled with the pigs feet.  I guess I wasn't too surprised.  I thought I might do better with it.  But no, this was a bit much even for me.  There did not be much in the way of any meat--it was very bony.  Okay they're feet.  I guess they would be bony.  The texture was too coarse and rubbery for me.  It reminded me of a leather shoe that had been tenderized in vinegary brine.   It was all too alien for even my exotic tastes.

         So now it was on to the pickled pork rinds.  Angelina threw in the towel.  She refused to have any part in this one.  I was scared.  It looked like small strips of fat in a pickle jar with some jalapenos mixed in.  The jalapenos looked good, but the pork pieces were less inviting.  It was not too unlike the meat substance you find in a bowl of menudo.  If you are not familiar with menudo I'm going to talk about it in my post tomorrow.  If you've had menudo then you are familiar with that meat substance I'm talking about.

        I sampled my first bite.  Not totally unpleasant, but not invitingly pleasant either.  I was not looking forward to subsequent bites.  I did not like the texture at all.  I was like uncooked bacon or salt pork that had been soaked in vinegar with jalapenos.  I was hoping that it might be chewy, but the texture was more like congealed fat.  It reminded me of strips of cantaloupe that had been dried and then reconstituted in a fatty vinegar brine.  I ate more of this than I did the pigs feet, and yet after several bites the jar still looked full.  I was finished for today.  

        An unpleasant aftertaste and a fear of pigs lingered with me throughout the rest of the day.  And yet hours later my mouth watered when I though of these products.  I am thinking that, like menudo, this might be one of those things that one might have to acquire a taste for.  I'd like to ask someone who likes these products what it is that they like about them.  And there must be a number of people who like these.  Or maybe they are sold as a novelty joke food product to trick unsuspecting people.  If I watch somebody actually eating these and truly savoring them then maybe I'll be convinced.

         Now I'm a big fan of those crunchy crackly deep-fried pork rinds.  I'll buy those every now and then to snack on.  The pickled pork rinds?  In all fairness, I think they might have a place in some recipes or with other foods.  I think they would be really good chopped up into a bowl of pinto beans.  After all I usually have some kind of pork to season my beans and I like to add vinegary chow chow or relish into the beans when they are served.  Pickled pork rinds would probably be very similar to this.  Also I can picture using the pickled pork rinds in some kind of salad.  So far I haven't figure out what kind of salad, but I can imagine some kind of salad.  Maybe they would be good in a dip or a salsa with chips.  But I don't know if I would want to just sit around and snack on pickled pork rinds.

         As for the pigs feet, I really am at a loss (so is the pig I guess).  I understand that pigs feet are often used for soups, stews, and to season beans, but I don't think those are the pickled variety.  I'm thinking that a lot of this might be cultural.  I asked a Latino clerk at my local Ralph's Grocery store and he said there was no way he was going to eat pickled pork rinds or pigs feet.  Then again he seemed like he had probably grown up in the United States.  Maybe it was cultural for him too.

         Maybe someday someone will educate me about eating pickled pigs feet and pork rinds.  Or maybe they'll tell me some other ways to use them other than eating them out of the jar.  It still makes me shudder when I think about it.  And yet my mouth starts salivating when I start thinking about those two jars still in my refrigerator.  Who knows?   Shudder.

          Have any of you ever tried pickled pigs feet or pickled pork rinds?  If so, tell us about your experience.  Are there any other ways to eat these that you know about?   Are you adventurous about trying new things?   Would you be willing to try these items?



  1. Your daughter's face was priceless.

    I'm adventurous, I would try them both.

  2. Pickled pigs feet aren't something I've tried. Pork is so mild in flavour I would have guessed the vinegar would be all you'd taste.
    I have experienced salt cured pigs feet in soup.
    I love blutwurst (similar to black pudding) which is pig blood sausage.

  3. My grandmother (rest her soul) use to eat these, don't ask me why. She also ate cow brains but I on the other hand have tired neither.

    Loved the video though.

  4. Although I enjoyed reading your post I am not adventuresome in food. home plain cooking that's me,

    Have a lovely day.

  5. No. Just NO! I can't believe she took a second bite! Kat

  6. I have never tried either product. After watching your daughter and reading your description, I don't think I will try them. I don't eat food on dares nor do dares, so I don't fall for that. I once passed on $60.00 (in the early seventies when 60.00 was like 600.00 today) and refused to eat baloot in the Philippines.

    Being out of work still, I might try them if the price was right...

  7. What about the video of you trying it too? :) Very interesting post. Although I would not try the product, I enjoyed learning about it (and watching Marley in the background).

  8. I've eaten some exotic food in my time, especially from the Orient, but I draw the line at pig's feet.

  9. Yuck! Absolutely zero chance of me ever trying either of these! You and your daughter are very brave :)

  10. No. I don't care for menudo either. Your daughter is beautiful.

  11. I'm still not sure whether this is all a joke, or is this post above for serious???

    To clear things up - I'm a vegetarian :)

  12. I have never tried pickled pork rinds but I do LOVE fried pork rinds. I grew up eating pickled pigs feet and pickled pork hocks which I love but I only eat the meat not the skin.
    Now here's the really strange thing about it. I was born and raised in Chicago and Ca. back and forth. Yet I love those foods along with collard greens and other "Southern" foods. I have no idea why. My mother started me on them but she was born and raised in Chicago as well. Go figure! Love Di ♥

  13. PTM-- I also tend to be pretty adventurous when it comes to food. I'm not saying I won't try these again, but I've got to build back up to it.

    Al -- Foods with blood in the title sound pretty scary to me. I suppose I'd try it, but I think I'd rather see other people eating and enjoying it first--that's kind of a rule of thumb for me.

    Ocean Girl-- I don't think this would be for you. Of course, weren't you the one who talking about eating durian a while back. It's vegetable, but you said it smells bad.

    Jules -- I have eaten eggs scrambled with brains (don't know what kind though), but I'm not going to make a habit of it. It just doesn't look right. Same goes with tongue and kidneys. I'm starting to thing vegetarian isn't such a bad way to go.

    Yvonne -- How about kidney pie? Sounds gross to me, but isn't that a pretty common British dish?

    Kat-- Angelina is a daredevil. She would have probably eaten the whole thing if she'd gotten enough encouragement.

    Gregg--I don't recall ever being offered money to eat something. I looked up baloot or balut on google since I'd never heard of it. I wish now that I'd never heard of it--they even had a picture. That is so gross--I would have to be offered an awful lot before I'd try it and I'd have to see someone else eat some first.
    I think you've ruined my appetite for the rest of the day.

    Diana -- I prefer to remain a mystery for now and not appear on video--especially eating pigs feet and pork rinds. One day I'll put up a video of just Marley.

    Alex -- Oh come on, Alex. It's like science fiction food. You could eat it and pretend like it's something from another planet.

    Jemi -- Is that brave or wacky?

    Carol -- I have acquired the taste for menudo although I'm still not a fan of the meat parts of it. Thanks for the compliment for Angelina. I have 3 more just as lovely.

    Dezmond -- this is real and not a joke. You would have been totally repulsed.

    Diana -- Your mom must have picked up the cooking from somewhere. My something in her cultural lineage.
    Greens and pork hocks are quite good--I had them Thai style in a restaurant once and they were incredible.

  14. Whooo! Thanks for taking one for the team, Lee. Hope your fear of pigs has passed...

    The baby spinning around and giggling in the video made me laugh... what a cutie!!

    Looking forward to your menudo post...

  15. I'll try just about anything once. And yes, I've tried them and actually liked them.

  16. Great post. I burst out laughing when you daughter said, "I feel like I'm eating an ear." Your commentary was hilarious, too. :)

    I not a fan of pickled pigs feet or rind (actually don't even remember if I've ever tried either), but I do like the pork rinds that have been baked.

    Menudo is awesome, but without the mystery meat (I know it's not a mystery, really). I can't handle tripas or that other stuff made from guts. GROSS!

  17. Lee...

    you'd be the perfect candidate for my wife's cooking. she cooked pigs feet a couple of weeks ago. or maybe you'd like to travel with me in a couple of month's to China. i can introduce you to some of the strange food i've eaten there. chicken's feet is common. all you do is suck off the skin and spit out the bones. baked scorpians is another one that i'm sure you would enjoy. believe it or not, they taste just like the pork rhinds you buy inna bag. only the men eat them as a rule... maybe they're an aphrodisiac of sorts? you can also try barbequed rat if you've a mind too. trio of snake bile is available should you get sick too. as for me....i think i will settle for youtiao(fried dough sticks) and stir fried rice and chase it with some Chinese beer which isn't much more then water... one can just p the nights away:)

  18. > "As for the pigs feet, I really am at a loss (so is the pig I guess)." <


    But, like Dezmond, I'm a vegetarian.

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

  19. LEE ~
    This doesn't have anything to do with pig's feet, but have you ever read this old blog bit of mine?

    Yeah, it's kinda long (what else is new?) but it's more important to Americans than is 99.5% of the rest of the stuff you'll find posted here at

    Let these people tell you of their plans in their own words!

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

  20. This vegan is about to be ill...

    What's just as gross is seeing pork butts in the store - they're shrink wrapped in thick plastic and hanging near the vegetables. And there's always a giant USDA stamp on each one. YUCK!

  21. This would have been one of the times you would have had to offer me money to eat it. That's what you used to do to us growing up to try and get us to try new things! I'm surprised Angie of all people is the one who tried it! Marley looked toooo cute in the background. Can't wait to see everyone!

  22. I can safely say I've never tried either and I won't. Ever!

  23. There are certain animal body parts I am not interested in, even though I do consider myself "adventurous. I can see myself trying it for the sake of say I did...Give me veggies and fruits and baked goodies, most meats of any variety are not high on my must have list to begin with.

    I remember when my dad made me eat pig's ear when I was about 12. A delicacy for him. Horror for me (and mom who cooked it for him). She put it in the lentil soup that I normally love. It ruined it, it made the house SMELL. Dad made me eat it. I couldn't get past the texture of skin and cartiledge (not to mention the smell or taste). I promptly barfed on the table.

    He never made me eat it again....


  24. B. Miller-- Menudo is on the menu for Wednesday, but what I'd really like is a good Carolina style pulled pork BBQ sandwich. MMMM.

    Marvin -- you've tried and liked both the pig's feet and the pickled pork rinds? And liked them? Well, maybe that doesn't surprise me.

    Lisa -- I'm with you on the menudo. I mean I can stomach (ooo-bad pun) the meat, but I'd rather just have the broth and hominy with all the added condiments.

    Bud-- Yeah, I'll have what you're having. I've seen some of those TV shows about some of the weird food they eat in China-- uh, not for me thank you.

    StMc-- Darn, I thought we might meet up for a good steak dinner in Phoenix one day. Tofu and salad then I guess. I'll check the post.

    L. Diane- oops! Another vegetarian. Well you think it sounds gross, try eating them.

    Emilee -- love you and looking forward to seeing you. I'm saving some pigs feet and pickled rinds for you-- I'll give you a dollar.

    Debbie -- Oh come on Debbie. Try it, you'll like it.

    Sig -- I with you. I don't eat as much meat as I used to and I do crave the baked goods and veggies more now. I hate it when someone cooks something that smells up the house in a bad way.

  25. Your daughter is brave; Now, where is the vid with you eating it?! Come on, now...

    I couldn't do it; reminds me of grandmother trying to get me to eat tripe...disgusting~

  26. You are one brave dude. Either one of those jars would send me backing towards the door, but you dove right in.


  27. I know some people like pickled things, but the only thing I like pickled are pickles thank you very much.

    Stephen Tremp

  28. Ellie-- Tripe? Just plain tripe? Cripes! Yipes! That's all I have to say.

    zz-- I thought it was.

    Raquel-- I wouldn't say I dove in. I cautiously entered with great trepidation and exited with my curly tail between my legs.

    Stephen Tremp--I like many pickled things. I really like those pickled hot sausages. But pigs feet and rinds I don't know.

  29. The look on Ange's face was priceless!

  30. This is how I spent my Sunday morning. I love pork rinds and once made them myself (link to image below). They were fabulous but the smoke alarms kept going off whilst baking them and afterwards, I couldn't clean the greasy crust away in my oven (I haven't used the oven since). The commercial pork rinds are too salty. So, when I saw a jar of pickled pork rinds at Walmart, I bought it. My first mini-bite convinced me that I had found something truly repulsive. I loathe waste so I just drained the jar, washed them,dried them with paper towels, and sauteed them in a frying pan with lots of good butter.

    They melted into a gelatinous mass. I tasted them and they were ghastly. I discovered that pork skins have some sort of magic glue in them and I couldn't remove the mess from my stainless steel frying pan. It took masses of cleanser, two steel-wool pads, and elbow grease to the max. I still haven't had breakfast.

  31. I really got a kick out your comment for this old blog post. It's always a surprise to get an actual legit comment for an old post, and yours was so funny and a little bit disgusting. The photo looked interesting, but the state of your oven and frying pans are lamentable. Now I know what not to do with pickled pork rinds though it is highly unlikely I would ever have them again.

    By the way, do you have a blog?


  32. Lee-I am blog-free. I've returned to silversmithing and my life is composed of two elements: mid-morning I go to the gym for a weight-resistance workout; I return home and start sawing silver. Thrilling, no? But it keeps me off the street.

    My stainless-steel frying pan is back to its virgin state. It's a fifty-year-old Farberware. Why do people use non-stick pans? Butter is an excellent reason to wake up every morning (particularly the Czech Jana Valley brand).

  33. Marly, thank you for paying a visit and leaving your delightful comments. Feel free to drop by anytime.
    I don't do much cooking and I am guilty of using non-stick pans so things don't stick. It's not always true and they start scratching so that I get paranoid that I may be ingesting particles of cancer causing something that might be in the non-stick ingrediant, but I use them anyway. Seems like when I cook with butter I end up turning it brown. Like I say, I'm no cooking expert.


  34. I'm not sure about the pork feet but I've had the pickled pork rinds (cueritos). I was skeptical at first and they tasted similar to what you described, not bad but not amazing either. Overall I liked it but I wanted to improve upon it. I threw half of what remained into another jar with just a tiny bit of the brine. I sliced up a lemon and squeezed lemon juice in the jar along with: a squeeze of sirarcha sauce, finely chopped cilantro, a few dashes of salt and pepper. I capped it, shook it, and then refrigerated it.

    The end result was actually quite good!

  35. A little late to the pork party here, but I just ate cueritos with my Mexican roommates and after googling found your post. I ate one long curled strip that seemed to rebound and attack my mouth. Between the two of them they ate about 2/3 of the jar, garnished with about a limeful of lime juice, doused in Valentina (a red, medium, slightly sweet hot sauce) and lightly sprinkled with salt.
    I don't think I could eat cueritos that enthusiastically, but won't say no the next time that jar filled with tapeworms makes it's appearance.
    On the other hand, I am a huge fan of freshly fried hot chicharones. At the small market around the corner in the back at the meat counter there is a small case lit by a heat lamp full of large, curled pork rinds. We're talking two-hand-span large. Sold by the pound for super cheap, it is my favorite snack EVER.

  36. I love cueritos, I get a small Ziploc bag, put a lot of strip cueritos, lime juice and valentina sauce the really hot one(a lot), close the bag shake it open it and eat them, mmm, hard to find where I live, if someone know of a place online that sell them please let me know. about the pig feet, I don't think I can even try em.

  37. There are many different brands of cueritos out there. The ones you chose seen to be old and maybe even spoiled. I personally like La joya Products brand cueritos. Theres this place near my house wich makes tostilocos which are nacho flavored tostitos topped with curitos, cucumber, mango, velentina sauce, chamoy and japanese peanuts. You should give them another brand a try. maybe prepare them abit with some cucumber, lemon juice and some hot sauce.

  38. Jose -- The tostilocos you describe sound quite delicious. I've seen those in various little establishments. Maybe I need to give them a try one day. I think the ones we had were okay, but it's probably an acquired taste. My daughter's reactions and comments at the time did not help either.


  39. Love pickled pigs feet and ears, especially with lemon and Tapatio Chili! But you have to get them from the big jar at a Mexican store. The market jar ones are disgusting and don't last. My kids think I'm crazy.

    1. Yvette, they are an exotic product that appeals to few people. I would have thought that the brand I tried would be about the same as those big jar ones you describe. I guess one has to be in the right mood in order to enjoy them.



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