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Head Cheese

Recipe of Daun Beyer, Calgary


15 lb hog rind cooked separately (a gluey mess!).  Boil til soft like gluten.

Mix together:

  • 20 lb good pork chunks, boiled til ready to eat, and then ground coarse
  • 15 lb jowels and trimming off bacon
  • 5 to 8 lb raw ground beef
  • Seasoning (see below)

Seasoning Calculations:

  • 1 g pepper per lb meat (so, 50 g for the above quantity of meat)
  • 6.5 g salt per lb of meat (so 325 g – almost 1 lb); NOTE: Rita Darr suggests far less salt here – 1 tsp per lb of beef instead.  Use judgment and personal taste.
  • 5 cloves garlic well blended

Use casings that you can cook meat in – 6” white casings.  Fill the casings and put in pot in lengths that fit the pot (submerge the filled casings).  Cook in hot water til the temperature reaches 160° F and “a bit longer” – 10 minutes or so.  WATER SHOULD NEVER BOIL.    

Take out of water and put between boards with weights on top to make flat.  Some fat comes out the ends. 

More notes on recipes above, from Milton Darr:

  • For head cheese, use as much of the head as you are comfortable with – ears, snout, etc., also gristly stomach meat)
  • Other spices can be added to the recipe such as mustard seeds, onion flakes, etc.  Get creative, but taste before you cook and be aware that the flavors will intensify during cooking (i.e., careful with the salt!).  If the flavors are too strong after cooking, they will often mellow out with time, but try to err on the side of less seasoning as opposed to too much. 
  • For all pork treats, it is essential that the meat be cleaned and rinsed impeccably; otherwise will get that “pig” flavor that turns people off. 
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