Recipe: Make Ryan Skeen’s Salt & Pepper Pigs’ Tails


Chef Ryan Skeen is known for his porky exploits and, especially, his nose-to-tail cooking philosophy — not to mention a new-found “rock star” status. He shares his recipe for Salt & Pepper Pigs’ Tails, which can be found on the menu at Allen & Delancey.

Pigs’ tails can be purchased at specialty butchers and meat shops, says Skeen, and the other ingredients in the recipe are easy to find in any Chinatown market. He notes that pigs’ tails are inexpensive, as the butcher usually discards them. Silly butchers, because these little ends are delicious!

Salt & Pepper Pigs’ Tails

10 pigs’ tails
1 onion
2 heads of garlic
1 leek
2 bunches scallions
3 inches ginger
2 cups shaoxing (Chinese fermented rice wine)
4 cups ice
pork or chicken stock, to cover

Combine the vegetables in a pan and sweat. Deglaze the pan with the shaoxing. In a braising pan, pour the deglazing liquid over the pigs’ tails, and add the ice and stock. Over medium low heat, bring the contents of the braising pan to a slow simmer, over 30 minutes. Skim the pot of all protein film and discard.

Cover and braise the tails in oven for 1-1 1/2 hours (usual braising temperatures are an average of 200 degrees F). Remove the tails from the braising liquid, and reserve for the next batch. Chill the tails and they are ready for grilling or frying. Fry them in a bit of oil or grill them over a high flame.

Salt & Pepper Sauce

1/2 cup Indonesian long black pepper (or any black pepper)
1/4 cup pink eppercorns
1/4 cup dried green peppercorns
4 tbsp gula jawa (Indonesian red palm sugar)
1 cup sea salt, medium grind

2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
all lime peels
3 Thai chilis

Lightly toast all the peppercorns except the pink, and grind. In a small bowl, combine all the peppercorns with the gula jawa and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the soy sauce, lime juice, lime peels, and Thai chilis, and let marinate for a couple of hours.

After you fry or grill the pigs’ tails, toss them in a bowl with the soy marinade and salt-and-pepper mixture, and serve.