A few days ago, if someone asked me if I wanted some pickled pigs lips, I would have assumed a gag was afoot. So when I spotted this gallon jug sitting on the condiments counter at a convenience store off I-10 last weekend on the way to New Orleans, right next to the mayonnaise and mustard and pickled jalopenos, my jaw dropped. As a Lousianian, I shouldn’t have been astonished, because our region is known for exotic fare. Pickled pigs feet, for instance, couldn’t be much different than pickled pigs lips.
To eat, or not eat this stuff? Aside from the aesthetic objection to the anatomical portion of the hog, the nutritional facts on the product label provide compelling reasons for leaving the pickled pig lips in the jar. A single pig lip (the serving size is described on the label as “1 average piece,” suggesting either an upper or a lower lip) packs a walloping 140 calories, 100 of which come from fat–not a good ratio. The next detail follows suit: 11 grams of fat laden with 60 milligrams of cholesterol. So much for a healthy snack. And the analysis so far doesn’t even consider the high sodium content ( the product is pickled in briny vinegar).
And how does one consume pigs lips? Like an an ordinary pickle, clasping it with index finger to thumb, pinkie extended? Is the entire lip edible, or does one gnaw off the tender meat on the outside and discard the cartiliginous core? (Ugh!) Does a lip between two crackers make a salty sandwich? What happens if one tosses a lip with a teaspoon or two of the brine into the bowl to enliven a serving of gumbo or etoufee?
Enough, enough! My distaste swells into disgust. Personally, I just don’t have enough curiosity to perform any of these abominable experiments. However, I do invite him or her who is so curious (or who is perhaps already a consumer of pig lips) to post a comment sharing personal experiences, recipes, or recommendations for consumption.
Meanwhile, at the end of the day, if I want a pickle, I’ll simply have a dill.