Bear News Beartown News

OCTOBER 1, 2000


When You're Butcherin' Get the most from the Carcass

If you raise your own pigs or purchase one of mine be sure to fully utilize the whole hawg! Often the head is overlooked and discarded. Some of the most tasty and interesting flavors are right there in the head and the favorite headcheese (aka souse, pressed hog's head, souse meat, etc.) should always be offered to any visiting flatlanders to see their reaction. Prepare the hog's head as follows:
Trim, scrape, or singe off any hairs or bristles that are left.
If you intend to use the ears, brains, snout, tongue, or jowls for any other purpose other than headcheese, remove them and set aside to soak. Otherwise, leave them on the head to be ground up. Note that the ears are gristly, and when ground up in the headcheese, they leave white flukes of gristle in the meat. This is not harmful, but some find it unattractive.
Cut out the eyes.
The bulk of the head is now
halved or quartered with an ax, or left whole (depending on the size of your pot), and while still fresh, is put in a pot of fresh water, usually to soak overnight. The soaking removes the remaining blood from the meat.
Only a few people choose to cook the head whole. One reason is that leaving it whole makes it harder to soak the blood out. Cy Jackson gives a different reason, saying, "
Asa'd killed a hog, and when he come in from work, they had the head sittin' there cooked. Hadn't even cut th' ears off, th' eyes'r nothin'. Just cooked th' whole head like it was. Had it sittin' in a dish. That'uz th' first thing he seed was that hog lookin' at him when he come in t'dinner, an' he just turned and went back an' never eat a bite."
After soaking, rinse the head until the rinse water runs clear. Then put it in a pot of clean, salty water and cook it slowly until it is good and tender, and the meat begins to fall off the bones. Then remove all meat from the bones and run through a food chopper.
Seasoning depends on your own taste. Some use, per head, one tablespoon of sage, a half teaspoon ground red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Others use one onion, one pod of strong red pepper chopped fine, and one teaspoon of salt. Bertha Hawthorne uses a little red and black pepper, an onion, a little corn meal, and sage and garlic to taste. Hazel Jean Bumfort believes in adding a little vinegar, along with sage, black pepper and onion.
The meat and seasoning are now thoroughly mixed, and then put into capped jars, a mold, or a plate (covered with a clean white cloth). Then, if it is not to be eaten immediately, it is taken into the smokehouse where the upcoming winter weather will keep it fresh. It can either be eaten cold, or reheated, depending on your prefererence.
Another method is to proceed as before through the seasoning step. Then put the mixture in a skillet and place on the back of the wood stove until the grease is runny. Remove from the fire, put a plate on top of the meat, and apply pressure to
make the grease run out. Repeat until all the grease is out and poured off. Remove the plate, put the meat on a clean plate, and keep in a cold place. Slice as needed.
Please feel free to call me for other wonderful recipies for all parts of your hog such as: jowls, tongue, brain, snout, ears, liver, heart, lungs (lights), kidneys, stomach (paunch), intestines (chitlins), fat, feet, tail, and skin. Ask about my all time favorite recipies for scrapple and hog's head stew. Call Joe at Joe's Hawg Farm, 563-4294 (JOE-HAWG)

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