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Oxtail & Pig's Head Gumbo

The plan sort of evolved over the course of the weekend. I had to use a cryopack of oxtails that had been taking up valuable freezer space since February 2013. Figured gumbo would be a good way to take care of them. Then we happened to be at 99 Ranch (Asian supermarket) and I saw this little guy in their bbq section:

I remembered @Canugghead posting about pig's head from the Asian market, so when I asked "how much?" and the nice lady said "$6", the thing literally jumped into my cart. SWMBO refused to acknowledge it or talk about it until we got home. Then she kinda warmed up to it and helped me name it. We settled on "Pinky". I picked at it Saturday night and made a dent in it - the jowls were freakin awesome, the snout was kinda chewy (as was the skin), and I was a little grossed out that pig ears had hair in them like ours do.

Sunday morning dawned, and I started making the roux. Alton Brown's oven method- veg oil 4 oz + flour 120g at 350°F for 90ish mins. Stirred it every half hour. Meanwhile, I fired the SBGE up and smoked the oxtails with orange wood for about 2 hours. Oxtails were dusted with John Henry's Mojave Garlic Pepper rub.


Rummaged through the pantry and decided to season the roux with Emeril's original essence, DP Bayou-ish, and DP Swamp Venom... about a teaspoon of each. Also some cayenne  and fresh cracked pepper. I  may have strayed from an "authentic" gumbo recipe so my apologies to the purists.

Threw in an onion, followed by carrots, celery, and a yellow bell pepper (because I had to get rid of it too).

Added the smoked oxtails and whatever meat I could scavenge off the pig head (jowls, meat around the eye and jaw). Chicken stock, water, Better Than Bouillon Beef flavor and about 4 hours on the stove was apparently a good idea, because this is what it turned into: 

Fan-farkin-tastic!! garnished with a crunchy piggy ear (after I had carved out the hairy part). The gumbo tasted fabulous - rich and silky from the rendered collagen of the oxtails and the fat from the pork. It was fun to nibble on the pig ear dipped in the gumbo "gravy". As I worked on the oxtail piece, the smoke flavor kind of blossomed from within.

This was honestly some really good stuff. Will have to do it again.

#1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.


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