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Author Topic: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese  (Read 1242 times)

Offline sumpnz

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Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« on: January 11, 2017, 09:19:44 PM »
I have the head (cow elk from November).  I have the spices.  I need to find my burner so I can do this outside.  I need to check but I think (hope) my brewing pot is going to be big enough.  Need to get some pig feet, but shouldn't be too hard to source.  Know some folks with pigs they're wanting to butcher and they said they normally just toss the feet but would save them for me.

I'm thinking about maybe smoking the head for a couple/few hours before I boil it.  Good idea or bad idea?  My smoker is tough to keep under 130F even when it's below freezing out.  I can crank it up as high as maybe 250F, but 220F is easier to hold.  Would I need to salt it like I normally do for meat, or since it would go into near boiling water shortly for a few hours after coming out of the smoker is that a moot point from a food safety perspective?

I've never made head cheese before.  The stuff in the grocery stores always looked so gross I never understood why anyone would want to eat it.  But then I heard about how it's traditionally made, and that looked a whole lot more appetizing, so figured that rather than throw away all that meat I'd at least give it a shot.  Nothing to lose but a bit of time.

Offline Boss .300 winmag

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2017, 09:22:36 PM »
This post will defiantly need pics to keep us entertained.  :tung:
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Offline sumpnz

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2017, 09:30:10 PM »
This post will defiantly need pics to keep us entertained.  :tung:

Ha!  Will update with pics when I make it.

Offline Boss .300 winmag

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2017, 09:38:18 PM »
This post will defiantly need pics to keep us entertained.  :tung:

Ha!  Will update with pics when I make it.

Plus pics of first taste test?  :puke:
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Offline sumpnz

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2017, 09:40:18 PM »
This post will defiantly need pics to keep us entertained.  :tung:

Ha!  Will update with pics when I make it.

Plus pics of first taste test?  :puke:

Absolutely.  If you come on over.  >:D

Offline JJB11B

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2017, 09:50:40 PM »
Tagging
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Offline NRA4LIFE

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2017, 10:12:42 PM »
Do you have a pig's stomach to stuff it into?  That should be mandatory.  DO NOT SMOKE THE HEAD.  Just boil it to get all the meat/fat off.  Use it all too and do not grind too fine.  You want the meat very coarse.  Spices should be kept to a minimum.  You want this meaty tasting.  Make sure you poke pin holes in the stomach after stuffing before boiling.  With the elk kind of dry, you may need to use some sort of binder, or better yet some gelatin.  When you cook a whole pig head for all the stuffing, you get a lot of natural gelatin from the bone.  That's what binds it all together.  A good head cheese is delicious.
So many fish, so few sick days....

Offline sumpnz

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2017, 10:38:39 PM »
Do you have a pig's stomach to stuff it into?  That should be mandatory.  DO NOT SMOKE THE HEAD.  Just boil it to get all the meat/fat off.  Use it all too and do not grind too fine.  You want the meat very coarse.  Spices should be kept to a minimum.  You want this meaty tasting.  Make sure you poke pin holes in the stomach after stuffing before boiling.  With the elk kind of dry, you may need to use some sort of binder, or better yet some gelatin.  When you cook a whole pig head for all the stuffing, you get a lot of natural gelatin from the bone.  That's what binds it all together.  A good head cheese is delicious.

Is not smoking the head for flavor reasons (i.e. personal preference), or is there something that smoking will do that will make it just not work?  I was figuring on just smoking it for a little smokiness, not to fully cook the meat. 

I'll be getting a few pigs feet that will get added to the boil to provide the gelatin. 

Not planning to stuff in a stomach.  Was figuring to put into some loaf pans to set it up in the fridge.  Also was planning to chop (what doesn't just pull apart anyway) the meat rather than grind it.   Basic idea will come from http://honest-food.net/fromage-de-tete-recipe/

Offline Special T

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2017, 07:55:29 AM »
The history of head cheese and other strange cuts is interesting. They mostly developed because the farmer got the "extra" parts as they mostly made $ off the traditional cuts of meat.

For those of you in the Portland Vancouver wa area Gardners on Killingworth Portland  has great head cheeses, pigs feet and other "odd" cuts.
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Offline Bill W

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2017, 08:33:26 AM »
I grew up in central PA where head cheese, souse and scrapple was made and will not be coming over to sample your "stuff".  I guess I "OD'd" when growing up.

Offline pianoman9701

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2017, 08:35:29 AM »
I'm hungry. Gitter done. I agree not to smoke it.
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Offline sumpnz

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2017, 08:41:05 AM »
OK.  I won't smoke the head.

If I can get pig trotters I'll see about making it Saturday.  SWMBO is taking the 3 older kids skiing, so I'll just have the youngest kid to help out (she'll be 4 in March).  Might have to hold off a week or two depending on the trotters though.

Offline NRA4LIFE

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2017, 09:26:18 AM »
I was speaking from a pure traditional sense.  Head cheese is not a smoked product.  Loaf pans should work just fine.  And chopping vs grinding is the preferred method IMO.  You want large chunks of meat in it.

Bill W, my Polish grandparents made souse.  I can eat just about anything, but that was gross.  It was like pork-onion-vinegar jello.  I get the shivers just thinking about it.
So many fish, so few sick days....

Offline D-Rock425

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2017, 09:34:20 AM »
 :puke:

Offline Buckewe

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2017, 09:51:04 AM »
I have made some from the pigs we raised a few years ago. It was really good. Chopping is the way to go for meat you want big chunks for texture , and it holds together a bit.good luck it's a fun process
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Offline Special T

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2017, 10:06:41 AM »
I was speaking from a pure traditional sense.  Head cheese is not a smoked product.  Loaf pans should work just fine.  And chopping vs grinding is the preferred method IMO.  You want large chunks of meat in it.

Bill W, my Polish grandparents made souse.  I can eat just about anything, but that was gross.  It was like pork-onion-vinegar jello.  I get the shivers just thinking about it.
I just love the different ethnic meals!
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Offline NRA4LIFE

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2017, 10:17:33 AM »
When you get the finished product, post some pics of it sliced.  I will be curious how this turns out with an elk head.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 11:37:30 AM by NRA4LIFE »
So many fish, so few sick days....

Offline Angry Perch

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2017, 10:21:58 AM »
Can't wait to see results. Every time I set foot in Uwajimaya (local Asian market) the whole pig heads are calling my name. No doubt the best eating in a pig is between the neck and the ears.

Offline sumpnz

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2017, 11:24:02 AM »
When you get the finished product, post some pics of it sliced.  I will curious how this turns out with an elk head.

Will do.

Offline Cowboy15

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2017, 04:12:47 PM »
Following. Would you share your recipe if it turns out?

Offline sumpnz

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2017, 11:02:27 PM »
Following. Would you share your recipe if it turns out?

Yes. 

SWMBO wanted to make a batch of beer, so that will probably be done before the head cheese.  I'm targeting the last weekend in February to make this.

Offline mkcj

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2017, 01:56:22 AM »
Every time I went back to the farm in North Dakota my uncle always had head cheese and blood sausage, the head cheese would be on the table, blood sausage  he would only tell us about  :chuckle: that's an acquired taste he would say.

Offline sumpnz

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2017, 10:35:33 AM »
Got pigs feet the other day.  I have all the spices and herbs.  Now just need the time to get it done.

FWIW, if you want pigs feet for any purpose the Fred Meyer in Burlington should have a ton.  They ordered some for me, and I only needed a couple feet, but I guess they got a whole box.  They're frozen.

Offline sumpnz

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2017, 10:16:11 PM »
Found my propane burner!  I think the only I still need is time ...

Hoping to get to it this weekend.  Not totally sure that'll happen.  If not, next window is at the end of March.

Offline sumpnz

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Re: Starting to get ready to try making head cheese
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2017, 11:03:49 PM »
OK, in the event I get to actually make this over the weekend I need an opinion.

The recipe I have calls for wine.  This will get added to a portion of the stock before it gets reduced at the end of the process.  Recipe says to use any wine.  The guy used a Vermouth when he did his version (didn't specify white/red let alone sweet/dry).  But that was with a wild boar's head, not an elk.  I'm kind of thinking a heavy red wine, like a decent Zinfandel or Cab Sauv or Syrah might be called for with an elk head. 

But what say ye?

 

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