Braised pig's trotters

Jokbal 족발

Jokbal (족발) is a rich, savory dish made by braising pig’s trotters in seasonings over hours until they totally absorb the flavors and are soft, shiny, and glazed with the meat falling off the bone.

I developed this recipe over years, trying different combinations of seasonings, different techniques and timings, and going to Korea to watch jokbal sellers and taste their food. When I started, I was afraid to touch a pig’s trotter. Now, it’s no problem for me. This recipe is the result of all those experiments, and I may improve it even more some day, but right now this is the best so far.

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One thing I learned is that one of the keys to good jokbal is in finding a nice pig’s trotter: clean, friesh, and a little pinkish with no blemishes or patterns on the skin. I always find good ones in Chinatown! The one I chose in this video was 1.78 kg, so about four pounds.

To keep my seasonings together while the trotter is braising, I use a hemp pouch, which you can usually find at a Korean grocery store. If it’s not available, use a large soup sock or even just some folded cheesecloth tied together at the end.

In Korea, jokbal is considered drinking food (aka anju: 안주) and shared with several people in a restaurant or a bar with soju , beer, or makgeolli.  We often eat it as ssam, wrapped in lettuce leaves with ssamjang dipping sauce, sliced raw garlic and green chili pepper and usually with saeujeot (salted fermented shrimp).

I hope you try out this recipe and enjoy some jokbal with your friends and family!

Ingredients

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For the seasoning pouch:

  • 1 apple, cleaned, cored, and cut into chunks
  • 8 large jujubes
  • 8 garlic cloves, cut into halves
  • 1 tablespoon peeled ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium size onion (about 6 ounces), cut into chunks
  • 7  to 8 small dried red chili peppers (or 2 large Korean red chili peppers)
  • 4 to 5 green onions, cleaned and cut into 2 inch long
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon ground coffee or instant coffee

For the shrimp dipping sauce:

Directions

Prepare the pig’s trotter:

  1. Wash and rinse the pig’s trotter in cold water a couple of times until the water is clear. Fill a large bowl with cold water and soak the pig’s trotter for 12 hours, changing the water 3 to 4 times.
  2. Strain and squeeze the pig trotter with both hands in cold water to remove any leftover blood. Squeeze and change the water a few times until no more blood is seen. Drain.
  3. Put the cleaned pig’s trotter on your cutting board. Pat dry with a kitchen towel or paper towel and shave any remaining hair with a razor.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (I used my 6½ quart soup pot). Add the pig’s trotter and 1 tablespoon of thinly sliced ginger. Cover and boil for 20 to 25 minutes over medium high heat, until vigorously boiling. You’ll see some dark brownish foam floating around the trotter and the water will look grayish.
  5. Remove from the heat. Strain the trotter and wash it in cold water with a kitchen brush. Wash the pot nicely, too. Put the pot back on the stove and put the pig’s trotter inside.

Fill the pouch and cook:

  1. Add the ingredients to the pouch, tie the end tightly and add it to the pot next to the clean trotter.
  2. Add 10 cups of water to the pot along with doenjang, mirim, soy sauce, dark brown sugar, salt, and rice syrup.
  3. Cover and cook 1 hour over medium high heat.
  4. Uncover and turn over the trotter. Press the pouch down a couple of times with a wooden spoon.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook another hour.
  6. Open and check to see if the meat is well cooked by poking it with a stainless steel chopstick or a long wooden skewer. If it goes through smoothly and the meat is almost falling off the bones, it’s well cooked. If not, cook longer and add more water as needed.
  7. Turn up the heat to high heat and cook another 10 minutes with the lid off, ladling broth from the bottom of the pot over top of the trotter. The broth will evaporate a little and the trotter will get browner and shinier.
  8. Take out the trotter and put it on the cutting board. Let it cool for 10 to 20 minutes until you can handle it.

Make shrimp dipping sauce:

  1. Combine saeujeot, water, garlic, sugar, hot pepper flakes, ground black pepper, and green onion in a small bowl. Mix it well until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Cover and set aside.

Serve:

  1. Slice the meat off the bones and cut it into bite size pieces. Arrange it on a plate and sprinkle chopped green onion and sesame seeds over top. Serve with shrimp dipping sauce. You can add lettuce, sliced raw garlic, green chili pepper, ssamjang, kimchi, and more side dishes.

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10 Comments:

  1. Bemine Maryland joined 3/18 & has 1 comment

    Perfect! All should try to make this one!

  2. MissionKfoodie UK joined 1/18 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! I’m a longtime fan of your cooking! It’s my first time commenting on your site :-)

    I don’t eat pork, but would really like to try making this. Do you think it would be possible to do this recipe with Ox trotters instead of pig?

  3. salloom Los Angeles joined 2/14 & has 11 comments

    Hello all.
    The recipe sounds delicious and I would love to make it. However, for a single/widowed person like myself, I don’t see myself staying in the kitchen for a long period of time to make the recipe. Since I became single, I find it very difficult to cook. Plus cooking Korean food for one is just not practical. On many nights of the week, I eat at a local neighborhood small Korean family restaurant.
    .
    Does anyone knows a Korean restaurant in the Los Angeles area that offers this dish on its menu? Many THANKS in advance.

  4. lyninn Malaysia joined 12/17 & has 2 comments

    Hello Maangchi. Is there a substitute for rice syrup for this recipe? Don’t have Korean rice syrup where I live.

  5. EvilGrin joined 6/15 & has 31 comments

    I must try this. I make Chinese Hong Shao Ru (red cooked pork belly) all the time which is similar.

    Red braised style pork is GREAT with kimchi!!

    • sanne Munich joined 8/14 & has 188 comments

      I did that a with only the lower part of the trotters (following a Chinese recipe). Worked great!
      Unfortunately, a friend of ours can’t stand the smell or taste of anise, therefor I prepare something similar with the lower part of the legs for my birthday party a few days from now. Easy to prepare beforehand, I did that for several years now. I save the stock, freeze it and reuse it with freshly added doenjang, ginger etc. No wine, too.
      Served cold. Big success every time!

      Bye, Sanne.

  6. Fortran Alexandria, VA joined 6/11 & has 6 comments

    Mmm…jokbal! My local HMart sometimes packages up jokbal with soondae…and now I’m hungry!

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