By: Bears Butt

I hit Wyatt’s BS today for a semi annual haircut and while there an elderly gentleman mentioned his Aunt liking Head Cheese.  I asked him what was in head cheese and he admitted he did not know, nor did he care for head cheese.  So that conversation ended, but I said, it looks like Bears Butt will have to do some research and post it up.

My intense research brought up a whole bunch of different aspects of Head Cheese, but all of them pointed at a pigs head or a calf head as the main ingredient.

I continued my research and even found a you tube video of someone actually making it.  But, since I have not had lunch yet, I quit watching it after just a couple of minutes.  At the point where one of the ladies said she had to shave the pigs head before she began cooking it…that was it for me.

When the job is all done it actually looks like something I would like to eat or at least try some day, but someone else will have to make it.  I will use the excuse that I don’t have a pot big enough to put a whole pigs head in it.  Nuff said.

On another site I actually found a recipe for head cheese and it’s pretty much simple stuff that goes into it, but when I really think about what is being cooked out of and off of the pigs head it just doesn’t seem like something a person should really do and eat afterwords.  I mean, think about it, the head is stuck in the pot of water and boiled.  The eye balls are removed before sticking the head in, and I’m sure there is some really bizarre thing done with them.  But the head is boiled for several hours and then the meat is picked off and that is what goes into the head cheese.  The gelatinous stuff comes from off the head and out of the brains, sort of a clear jelly like stuff when it cools.  Picture if you will a freshly opened can of Vienna Sausages or Pickled Pigs feet (I like those baby’s), that is the gelatin I’m talking about.

Why head cheese?  Well, not everyone has the cash to go lay down for a good steak or even a burger and yet we all get hungry and when we get hungry enough we start to think of ways we can render a meal out of most anything we have available.  I picture some really poor people once seeing a butcher throwing a perfectly good pig head out into the trash and so they took that head and boiled it to make sure it wasn’t going to kill them and thus started the head cheese tradition.  Better than nothing huh?

Here is a recipe I found on one of the sites:

Hogs Head Cheese
PREP TIME: 3 Hours
YIELDS: 4 (1 pound) trays
Many cooks today feel that hogs head cheese is a country rendition of the more classical daube glace. Though similar in nature, I feel head cheese is the by-product of sausage making such as boudin, and has been around for hundreds of years


  • 1 hog head, split and cleaned
  • 4 pig feet, scraped and cleaned
  • 4 pounds pork butt
  • 3 cups onions, finely diced
  • 3 cups celery, finely diced
  • 2 cups bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup garlic, finely diced
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dry thyme
  • 1/4 cup peppercorns, whole
  • 1/2 cup green onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup parsley, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, finely diced
  • salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin, dissolved

In a 4-gallon stock pot, place all of the above ingredients up to and including the whole peppercorns. Add enough water to cover the contents by 3 inches and bring to a rolling boil. Using a ladle, skim all foam and other impurities that rise to the surface during the first half hour of boiling. Continue to cook until meat is tender and pulling away from the bones, approximately 2 1/2 hours. Remove all meat from the stock pot and lay out on a flat baking pan to cool. Reserve 10 cups of the cooking stock and return to a low boil. Add all remaining ingredients, except gelatin and salt and pepper, boil for 3 minutes and remove from heat. Season to taste using salt and cracked black pepper. Add dissolved gelatin and set aside. Once meat has cooled, remove all bones and finely chop in a food processor. Place equal amounts of the meat in four trays and ladle in hot seasoned stock. The mixture should be meaty with just enough stock to gel and hold the meat together. Cover with clear wrap and place in refrigerator to set overnight. Head cheese is best eaten as an appetizer with croutons or crackers.


From this you can see they not only used the pigs head, but also its feet and some of the better cuts from the butt to make this a bit more appealing.  But for a traditionalist, I think just the head should be used.  You decide.  I think I’ll go have a bologna sandwich, at least I don’t know what all is in that cut of meat.

Bears Butt

Oct. 23, 2012

Written on October 23rd, 2012 , Recipes

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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.