“Pick and shovel” (Dominican “pico y pala”)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hello  Everyone!

The last few days have been full with exciting news. In the last post I shared some of those news and there’s already more to share! but I will share those news later, because after all, this is a place to eat and enjoy recipes!

The famous “pick and shovel” (pico y pala) is one of those foods that became popular due to the economy (Besides how flavorful it is) It helped Dominicans to cope with their always challenging economic situation. But Dominicans are tough people that laugh in the face of misfortune and make a joke in the face of calamity. (really!) We’re happy, simple, good people that enjoy to eat!

"pick and shovel" (Pico y Pala)

The history of the “pick and shovel” (Composed of the chicken feet and necks) is associated with the popular dining rooms and cafeterias, very common in low income neighborhoods, in which they usually had a “day special” or day dish, considerably cheaper than asking for something from the menu.

Even so, many didn’t have enough money even for the “day special”, so they would request a “half service”, many times consistent of concón, (burned rice from the bottom of the pot) with meat sauce and some stewed beans sauce.

Because meat was out of the question, the option would be “pick and shovel”, something they wouldn’t dare offer to paying customers or common clients.

"pike and shovel" (Pico y Pala)

As almost all these elements (the concón, the pick and shovel, etc.) were considered as waste or leftovers, this service was generally either extremely cheap or free. I remember the experience once of requesting some concón with stewed bean sauce, of which I’m a fan, and when asking for the bill they said: “no my son, how can we charge you for concón?” Another time they said: “just pay 5 pesos” (about US$0.10 cents at current exchange)

He he he…Those were the times!…


1. Chicken feet and necks.

2. Oregano.

3. Black pepper.

4. Garlic paste.

5. Onion, cilantro and cilantrico or parsley.

6. Cubanela pepper.

7. Sugar.

8. Salt



Season the meat with oregano, pepper, garlic and salt. Leave for at least 15 minutes.

Warm the oil, add some sugar and when it starts to burn add the meat to color. Once a caramel color is obtained take out. (Don’t throw away the seasoned liquid that remains!)

Put the meat in a pressure cooker with the onion, cilantrico, cilantro, cubanela pepper and anything else you’d like to add, including the fluid with the seasoning (I like to add paprika and sweet peppers) Allow to become very soft. Takes about 20 minutes, give or take.

Allow to cool down, take out, throw in another clean pot, take out the cilantro, onion, etc. check the seasonings and salt and eat!

Don’t forget to subscribe and continue enjoying with el fogoncito!


Remember that they you can follow us in YouTube, Facebook and in Twitter:

Follow ArturoFeliz on Twitter



El Fogoncito

About Arturo Féliz-Camilo

Escritor. Consultor. Historiador. Cocinero tradicional Dominicano. (Writer. Consultant. Historian. Dominican traditional food cook)
This entry was posted in Finger foods, Traditional Dominican Food and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave us your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s