Crispy pigs trotters

Matt Tebbutts recipe takes a little time, but the result is sublime and well worth the effort
By Matt Tebbutt
Crispy pigs trotters
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: plus 28 hours brining and soaking
  • Effort: medium


  • 1 pig's trotters, preferably from the hind feet
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • a few peppercorns
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a fewsprig thyme
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
  • panko Japanese breadcrumbs, for coating
  • Dijon mustard, for coating
  • butter, for roasting

For the brine

  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 4.5 litres water
  • 700 g sea salt
  • 500 g brown sugar
  • 60 g salt petre
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 10 peppercorns, crushed

For the sauce gribiche

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • tbsp chopped capers
  • 1 tbsp chopped gherkins
  • 1 tbsp chopped tarragon
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 big dollop Dijon mustard
  • 50 ml olive oil


1. For the brine: clean a crock or bucket and lid with a couple of handfuls of bicarbonate of soda dissolved in boiling water. Rinse well and leave to drain dry without touching it.

2. Put the brining ingredients into a large stockpot, bring to the boil and boil hard for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

3. Pour the cold brine into the dry crock, though a muslin-lined strainer.

4. Wash the pigs trotter in cold water and leave to soak for a few hours to remove any blood.

5. Immerse the soaked trotter in the brine and keep it below the surface by laying a piece of boiled wood, or a scrupulously clean plate, on top. Cover and keep in a cool, dry place at a temperature below 15C. Leave the trotter in the brine for 24 hours (a leg of pork can take up to 10 days), then remove and rinse.

6. Put the trotter into a large saucepan with the vegetables, peppercorns, cloves, bay leaf and thyme and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 hours until tender, but not falling from the bone.

7. Remove the trotter from the stock and cool on a tray. Leave to set firm.

8. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

9. Combine the chopped parsley with a few spoonfuls of breadcrumbs. Spread a little mustard over the trotter, then roll it in the breadcrumb mix.

10. But the trotter in a baking dish, dot with some butter and roast for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

11. Serve with sauce gribiche.

12. For the sauce gribiche: separate the egg yolks from the white, chop each individually and put into a small bowl. Add the capers, gherkins, herbs and mustard and combine gently. Gradually add the olive oil, adding only enough to just bind the mixture.

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