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Head Cheese

Yield 6 loaves


  • 1 pig's head, cleaned and scraped
  • 4 pig's feet, cleaned and scraped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons rubbed sage
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • Hot sauce
  • Saltine crackers

How to Make It

  1. Place pig's head and feet in a large stockpot with cold water to cover. Soak 3 hours; scrub with a stiff brush. Scrape thoroughly, especially the ears, to remove all bristle. Rinse. Set pig's feet aside.

  2. Cut head into four pieces with a meat saw. Scrub tongue with a stiff brush. Remove eyes; discard. Remove brain; reserve for use in other recipes. Rinse head thoroughly.

  3. Place pig's head and feet in a large stockpot with water to cover. (Two stockpots may be required if head is large.) Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 4 hours or until meat begins to fall from bones. Skim froth occasionally from top of cooking liquid; discard.

  4. Remove stockpot from heat; set aside. Allow meat to cool completely in liquid. Remove head and feet from cooking liquid. Drain; remove meat from bones. Set meat aside. Reserve 2 cups cooking liquid.

  5. Grind meat into a large mixing bowl using coarse blade of meat grinder. Add reserved cooking liquid and remaining ingredients, mixing well.

  6. Press meat mixture firmly into 6 waxed paper lined 7 1/2- 3- x 2-inch loaf pans. Cover tightly, and refrigerate 3 to 4 days to blend seasonings.

  7. Remove head cheese from Loaf pans. Remove waxed paper. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and store in refrigerator for up to 3 months.

  8. Cut into thin slices, and serve cold with hot sauce and crackers.

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