Cruibins (crubeens) or pigs' trotters

I have always heard stories from people of my parents' generation, in particular Irish, talking about how wonderful and tasty the part of the pig that separates it from the muck on the ground is. Perhaps as adults we find delight in terrifying those younger with, almost cannibalistic, tales of gnawing on the pink feet not dissimilar to an ogre would. What I do not understand is why none of these people are eating them nowadays. Maybe these people did find them delicious....until they first tried proper bacon and after comparing, decided to abandon all but the story telling factor.
Although I have read that trotters have transcended the working class arena of years ago into the very poshest of restaurants. Trotters are making a comeback so look out for them on those menus! They would most likely be prepared differently to how I done them, without the bones.
Crubeens were traditionally a pub snack on Saturday evenings or on stalls by pubs who did not sell them. The grease and salt being used to good effect and driving up the sales of stout (a tactic well used by publicans worldwide in one way or another).

What you need:
Trotters, I used 2 (from your butcher, might be more difficult to find than bacon rashers)

Lots of salt and water

What you do:
  • Wash trotters thoroughly (they have been been marinated in muck for years!). Can be quite difficult if you do not like looking and washing your dinner with it's hair and nails still on.
  • Cover with salted water and soak overnight or at least 12 hours.
  • Rinse and cover with fresh cold water and bring to the boil.
  • Remove scum that forms at water surface.
  • Lower heat and simmer for 3 hours or until tender.
  • Drain and serve with mustard, soda bread and a pint of stout.

This is a very simple way but you can also add vegetables (onion, carrot) and herbs (thyme, cloves, parsley, bay leaves) to the boiling water to add more flavour.

Furthermore the boiled trotters can be rolled in beaten egg, then dry breadcrumbs and fried in bacon fat or just roasted in the oven to make the outsides nice and crispy.

I have to admit at this stage that I did not get to try my own crubeens. I learnt an invaluable lesson about shelf life of trotters. I got them from the butchers and kept them in the fridge for 3 days before cooking which I thought would not be a problem. There was a slight smell when I was photographing them but nothing terrible or unexpected. I was told there can be a distinct smell associated with them when they are cooking and that did not worry me.
However soon after they had come to the boil, the house stank. I mean there was a stench like nothing I have ever imagined. I thought it would go away but after a couple of hours even with every window open , it just got worse and worse. I chucked a few onions in at some point hoping to blunt the smell but no joy (possibly why aromatic herbs are used widely, to curb the boiling bacon smell).
I had to stop boiling them as family members started to develop trembling in their legs.
In the end, the kitchen was quarantined and out of action and i was sent out to KFC.
I do not know if they were off to start with or my 3 day delay was too long but my one message to you is: use them on the day of purchase (or separation if your a farmer), or buy them cured so they have less chance of being, or going off.
I really want to taste these as the meat is supposed to be extremely tender and I am determined to try everything once so when the day comes that I pluck up the courage to attempt them again this site will be updated.


  1. I live in the Southern part of the good ol' U.S. of A. and pickled pigs feet are common here. Although I've been here the better part of my 48 years here on planet earth, I have never found myself hungry enough to partake. Maybe someday, before I die.

    I never knew that this was an Irish food too, I'm 1/2 Irish and thankfully they never graced our dinner table.

  2. Thanks for comment.
    I was not aware of how (or if) they are eaten elsewhere in the world. Pickled feet wow. I think some things are easier to eat when someone else does the prep and cooking. I don't enjoy a fish as much if I have to gut it myself and pigs trotters are a far more extreme example of this.

  3. They keep large jars of the pickled feet sitting on the bar at the neighborhood pubs here. I think there is something about drinking alcohol that makes some people braver about what they put in their mouth!

  4. Any chance of a photo? :) M maybe you can do a post about them and I will link to it?

  5. Strange how many haven't eaten crubini, but amazing that any should shy away from them. I ate them as a child and have occasionally indulged since. I bought a pair ready to eat in a Breton supermerket recently, but home cooked are much better of course. I plan to make pig's head brawn for Christmas, but wife is sceptical even though a Geordie. Daughter may be more open minded. I'll have to use several small presentation pots in case some needs to be given away. It will keep for a month in the refrigerator. Best to you all.

  6. Anonymous above is 'Seadog.'

  7. Sorry to read you had such a horrible experience--they're truly excellent tasting! I just gave a pig slaughtering/butchering class to some of my readers and I saved the feet by putting them in wine case packed with salt. I'll pull them in a couple days then boil them like a corned beef hash, with onions, carrots, cabbage and spices and serve with mustard a guiness. I noticed your pig's feet weren't split up the middle to ease cleaning...which the butcher should have done immediately to help get most of the fur scraped and all the manure scrubbed.

    Finally, they shouldn't have had any nails on the hooves--they're supposed to be popped with a meat hook at the slaughter house when they've just been scalded to make them easy as the fur to remove. Bon apetit!

  8. I had crubeens for dinner last night. Breaded and fried. Delicious. The meat was succulent and had a very meaty pig flavour. Probably the strongest flavour of any part of the animal I've ever eaten and I've eaten most of it over the years.

  9. We had crubeens the other night in old towne Alexandria. They were off the bone and in a pastry type shell. Very nice and I made everyone at the table try them. And, no nails, hair or bone in the mix!

  10. Do people in Ireland still eat crubeens? Can they be found in the occasional put still? Lastly, how do you pronounce them (what does the word rhyme with)?

    1. Yes, they are still eaten in Ireland. Not commonly, I'be never seen them in pubs, but I bought some at the butchers today. It's pronounced Crew Beans.

  11. oh oh oh ok lamboghini mercy yo she chik so thirsty

  12. i like chicken and pigy legs

  13. What's wrong with the guy above me?? That has nothing to do with this plus that song sucks! Anyway I love pigs feet. When I was about ten my grandad would braise pigs feet in the BBQ pit and I really enjoyed them. I still eat them to this day, I enjoy the flavor yet I enjoy the memories that arise from when I was a boy eating them with my grandad. Funny how food can do that.

  14. They can also be eaten in parts of Spain. I've made them as a stew in the pressure cooker with chick peas and potatoes