Adventures with Headcheese

2013-07-20 11.50.57While attending the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Competition, we were very generously gifted a pair of Berkshire Black heritage hog heads, which have been sitting in our freezers just begging to be made into headcheese.

After doing quite a bit of research on the best method for making headcheese, we decided to stick with a more traditional recipe. Hank Shaw’s recipe does an excellent job of synthesizing different approaches to headcheese. We also really liked the idea of stuffing the headcheese into a large, beef casing, which is attributed to Paul Bertolli (Cooking By Hand). These decisions being the case, there is not much in way of original content in this Headcheese post, but we did document the process, which was a incredibly awesome experience and a big tick off the Carnivore bucket list.

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You can see the amount of meat, fat and collagen in a Pig’s head. We are looking forward to trying this same process using a couple of venison head and/or venison necks + a couple of pig’s feet for collagen.




2013-07-20 12.00.37-1You, of course, need a large pot for making headcheese. We used a 50 quart stock pot, though, a smaller ~30 quart colander would have been extremely useful for lifting a boiling hot, ~15 pound hog’s head out of a 50 quart pot full of boiling hot stock.

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Adding the root vegetables, bay leaves, cloves and Rosemary.




2013-07-20 17.38.27Removing the head, as mentioned above, was no easy task due to our lack of foresight. However, once we managed to get the head out, it was relatively easy to remove the meat.




2013-07-20 18.02.41Chopping the meat, fat, collagen, tongue, eyeballs…. You know… the contents of any good hotdog.


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Next, we strained all of the stock. We had quite a bit more of this excellent stock than we needed, so we froze the surplus stock for a future dates with Gumbo and/or Collard Greens.  The remaining stock was cooked down until it was nice and thick, then salted to taste. We poured this stock over the chopped meat.


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After the mixture of meat and stock cooled a bit, we proceed to stuff the large beef casing aka “Bung Cap” that we purchased from Butcher & Packer Supply.  We found the stuffing process to work best by hand. The casing is plenty big enough, though this is certainly a two man job.


2013-07-21 15.32.24After cooling in the fridge overnight, we were ready for a tasting. Such a heroic task calls for inviting friends over for a proper tasting. We served the headcheese slices with spicy mustard and pickles. Louisiana hot sauce also was good.

About Go Carnivore

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6 Responses to Adventures with Headcheese

  1. TAFKAP says:

    Proud to be a part of the tasting. But a thought just occurred to me……since pigs tend to be relatively “hairless”, how will you deal with the hide of a deer when boiling those heads?

  2. says:

    The casing did not need any cooking or curing?

  3. Vanessa says:

    All you need to do to remove feathers, fur etc from any animal before cooking it dunk or pour boiling water over the part to be de-plumed or de-haired and scrape with a relatively dull knife. Works fast and is so easy! When we boiled down cows/pigs heads in PY, the brains and eyes were left in…not sure if you removed them or not for this recipe…if you removed them, what is the reasoning for this? I was just wondering if prion related diseases might be an issue.

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