You're Butcherin' Get the most from the Carcass
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.
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,
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
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
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.
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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