A pig's (nose to) tale - head cheese

Discussion in 'Nose to Tail' started by atomicsmoke, Dec 17, 2015.

  1. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I find old school peasant cookery very satisfying , both in taste of the products and the sense of accomplishment with wasting little.

    Got a whole pig recently.

    A few interesting facts:
    - abbatoir fee was more than 25% of the pig cost (no butchering; just kill/gut).
    - vaccum rolls cost me almost 30% of the pig cost.

    Clearly raising pigs doesn't pay bills.

    But I digress. Topic is Headcheese. Last time I made Headcheese was years and years ago, with my dad. I've, since then, occasionally ate store bought. Turns out I forgot how the good one is supposed to taste.

    First of all this head cheese is made from ....head.

    I cut the ears off for aspic (different thread).

    After removing some nasty bits we gave the whole head a short boil. (almost...had to saw off the snout - was sticking out of the pot). Rinsed the head, returned to pot with fresh water and condiments (garlic, whole black pepper, bay leaves). Cooked for a few hours until the meat came off.
    We also threw in the pot some meat - my family likes it meatier. But if you ask me the head meat/fat ratio is just perfect.

    There wasn't a lot of chopping, meat was well cooked. We removed some sinew and less desirable tissue and stuffed in colagen casing. Back in the old days we used the pig's bladder. Well cleaned, blown up with a straw, tied and left to dry until meat was cooked.
    The meat was mixed with a few cups of the cooking stock. After stuffing we simmered the log in the same stock for 30min.

    Pressed over night. Cold smoked.

    No head pictures...don't want to offend the more sensitive palates.

    I'll post final product pics later.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    DO NOT worry about offending folks ..... This is a learning forum.... Just put up a disclaimer on the header.... "Some of the pictures may make you hurl" or something like that...
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Post all the pics. Meat does not just come on pink foam trays and folks, like my wife, should to know where Pork actually comes from. 

    Raising a Hog and butchering is not cheaper than buying pork at the grocery, but it sure tastes better, and has actual flavorful fat. Additionally, YOU know it was cared for, ate well and contains to artificial anything. 

    I love Head Cheese but it is not to every ones taste. Which is ok, more for we in the know!...JJ
  4. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I agree, post the pics...

    Head cheese is something that if most people tried it, not knowing what it was, they'd like it.  I haven't had store bought and it's been a long time since I had any homemade.  Now I want some!  
  5. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    That would make a great step by step, I say post the pics its not your keyboard LOL

    I'm in

  6. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Here it is after pressing.

  7. halfsmoked

    halfsmoked Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Back in my younger days we killed at least 4 hogs every year we sugar cured most everything as far as the shoulders, hams and slabs go. fresh pork chops were frozen not in vac-seal all other trimmings was made into sausage. Didn't know what that was vac-seal. The heads were all boiled in the lard pot after the lard was done and the meat was removed when it was done then we ground the head meat and made something known in our area as scrapple. Which contain spices, flour, buck wheat flour and corn meal.
  8. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yep. We didn't have the big a$$ freezers when we were kids. One or two legs were brined, smoked and dried in a prosciutto-like ham. Same for backfat, a loin, some belly. Bones too. Trimmings went to sausage or cooked/potted in lard. My dad had a freezer not bigger than a dorm room fridge, yet he had space for some frozen mushrooms and vegetables in it beside the pig. Of course freezer burns were common - I don't remember caring that much.
  9. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    Gosh that brings back so many good memories. I was knee high to a grasshopper when my first memories of dad and my uncles butchering pigs. There head cheese recipe was from my grand parents which they brang with them from poland.

    It was made in a loaf pan, and was some of the most disgusting stuff I've ever tried.. lol. My brother and I were just talking about head cheese the other day. He didn't like it either..
  10. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks for chiming in.
  11. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    Hope I didn't offend anyone. Not my intention. True, I didn't like the stuff dad made, none of us kids did. But I still find it interesting to read what others are making and how there making it. Your post brang back lots of great memories, even though I didn't like dads head cheese. But who knows, I might like yours. :grilling_smilie:
  12. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    atomicsmoke,  Do I like head cheese?  Would my avatar give you a hint?  I love it, pile it on a Kaiser roll with mustard, I'm happy.  Make it from time to time but, I can purchase it locally which pleases my wife. ​

    Yes, by all means, post your pics.

  13. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Smoked and rested for a day.

    Ready to be enjoyed

    The only thing I would like more in it is the jelly. Next time I would add more stock to the meat in the casing.
    crazymoon likes this.
  14. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    AS, looks mighty tasty sir !

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