Offalgood

Chef Chris Cosentino’s educational and inspirational tool for those who are interested in learning about and cooking with offal.
Pig's Head

Let them eat pigs head!!

Let them eat cake, what the hell did marie antoinette know, they cut off her head. My thought is let them eat pigs head in as many ways as possible. Just recently I was trying to put some new cooked meats on the antipasto platter and came up with this one.

Its royal name is: Porchetta Di Testa – Translation a pigs head that is boned out then marinated for 2 days with rosemary and garlic rolled and tied then braised for 14 hours in a sous vide bag at 200 degrees to keep it all together.

Here is a photo journal of the process.

whole pig head

Start with one square cut berkshire pigs head.


split pigs head

Debone the head from the chin and work your way around the jaw up into the rest of the head until the meat is free, dont make any extra holes.
pigs skull with skin next to it

Once the skull is removed split the skull with a saw to save the brains and have a proper butchers treat of brains and egg, then roast the skull for stock.

whole head no bones

As you can see once the skull is removed there is alot of meat to work with.

marinated pigs head

Then season both sides of the pigs head with salt, black pepper, garlic, rosemary with chili flakes and lemon zest. let it marinate for 2 days in the fridge then roll it up and tie it tight. Place it in a sous vide bag with some herbs and garlic and cook. Remove form the water and drop it in a ice bath and let it set for 2 days.

pigs head cooked in a sous vide bag

This is after it has cooled in the ice bath and let to set in the fridge for 2 days before cutting.

pigs head cooked out of sousvide bag

Remove all the gelatinous stock and fat from the pigs head in the bag, then remove the string and herbs that have attached to the meat..

split pigs head cooked

This is now ready to be slice on the meat slicer and serve.

Leave a Comment (43)

  1. Ohhh, yeah. Sign me up. Boiled pig’s head…can’t think of anything more apetizing than that, which is why you’ll find this on the menu of any decent restaruant.

    Oh, wait. You won’t. :p

    john | | Reply
  2. That looks absolutely amazing! I have made head cheese before but never this. I’m gonna have to try this recipe.

    Thanks

    Ian | | Reply
  3. Oh, so that’s how they make head cheese! My mom loves the stuff, can’t get enough of it. Thanks for posting.

    Elise | | Reply
  4. Thats a great recipe, at least the whole animal gets used, got to respect the beast. I cook for a living and a hobby, waste is something I don’t do. Great stuff !!!

    Peter / Malta | | Reply
  5. It looks really good. As a matter of fact, the Chinese and many oriental people have long been cooking pig’s heads and other parts and making them extremely tasty.

    Lily | | Reply
  6. I DIG PIG!… And that looks lovely. I cook for a living, and we serve a lot of pork, both fresh and cured.
    thanks for photo demo.

    Scotty r | | Reply
  7. Wow, that’s hard core.
    I’m all about Asian food and really like pork cheek and ears, but to see a whole head being used outside of making soup stock is something new for me.

    KevCheng | | Reply
  8. when a boy, some 55-60 years ago, we raised hogs and killed them on november 18 each year. there was a widow who lived near and she always got all of the heads and some “innards” for souse meat. don’t know how she made it, cept took about a week with marinating and cooking, and we got half and she kept half.
    had some twenty odd years ago in jersey city at europa, not sure of spelling but think holodjetz, and was also pretty good.
    definitely worth the effort.

    will partin | | Reply
  9. Many thanks for sharing this! I stumbled across your blog whilst looking for ways to cook a pigs head (or half a head in my case). I’ve bookmarked your site and will return for future reference!
    I’ll probably drive more people away from my blog when I chronicle it on there, than gain readers but it’s their loss!

    Freya | | Reply
  10. What an amazing technique. I am always looking for new ways to use up offal. All this needs is some grilled bread, a tart salad and a nice glass of dolcetto!!!!!!

    wes | | Reply
  11. Yum. If you are ever in Milwaukee for Summer Fest, stop by the stall that sells pork sandwiches. They spit roast the whole pig and sell the whole roasted heads for next to nothing. Few things as good as a fresh spit raosted pork cheek.

    Sandy | | Reply
  12. mmmmmmmmm looks ver tasty we’ve got berkshires..might suggest this to my dad the making doesnt look so appetising but i’m sure the out come is delish hehe :)

    daz gim | | Reply
  13. ok… i am glad u r using the whle pig, but that stuff about the brains… nevermind… i’l say no more

    woah! | | Reply
  14. okayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy…. it cant be worse than eating grasshoppers right? munch munch BLUCK! wrong!

    isuck | | Reply
  15. Great stuff Chris. I am a big fan of eating everything from the animal and I hate waste. Brawn (as we Brits call it) is a family favourite and we love to scarf it down with mustard, crusty bread and some good dark beer. It’s heaven….It really is.

    Teddy | | Reply
  16. My husband has just asked me to find a recipe for pigs head….this might just show up on the specials board at our restaurant!

    thechefswife | | Reply
  17. Pork tamales in N Mexico & S Texas are traditionally made using meat from a pig’s head that’s been cooked down. Problem is, you need a HUGE pot to cook it in.

    Here in Virginia, you can get a pig’s head, but you can’t gat half of one. I have a pot big enough for half a pig’s head, but not a whole one..

    ted | | Reply
  18. Re: cooking heads..

    An old feller, back in the mid-1960s when I had my first real cooking job (~350 campers for 3 meals a day at a scout camp in Texas), told me that using “face meat” from a deer was the way to get the best meat for venison chile. I’ve never had enough deer heads around to make a batch of chile that way.

    ted | | Reply
  19. I went from calf brains to pig head – what a trip! How long does it have to cook in the sous vide bag? I may have to let Dad do the de-boning since he learned butchery in the army…I don’t know if my arm/wrist would be strong enough.

    Kohkom Sharon | | Reply
  20. Pigs Heads can also be roasted and decorated with almonds and flowers – make a good edible cengtrepiece to any table.

    I sometimes used to cure mine using saltpetre but cannot get that any more (has to be due to the terrorists). Don’t know if there is an alternative. In fact, now I come to think of it, it is very hard to find a pig’s head – I am busy with pig’s feet at the moment, but I’m not boning and stuffing them – that is too much like hard work.

    JMD | | Reply
  21. sweet, I want some, on sourdough with Sicilian olive oil, mmmmm piggy! That made me think of my pig skull that I got from my friends bbq. Everyone ate most of the good stuff, but they forgot the head lucky me. I tore that shit in half ripped the jaw from the skull and dined on the best bbq pig head and domaine de la janasse cote du rhone ever!! it kicked ass. got head!!

    Andres | | Reply
  22. What’s a Sous Vide bag? Can I roll up the mixture in cheesecloth and cook it? How long did you cook it?
    Great pictures of the butchering. I have two in my freezer because no one here in the Pacific Northwest, USA will eat them. I have to admit I’m a bit intimidated but willing to try.

    Bernadette Goodroe | | Reply
  23. One of my buddies just had a pig roast and they didn’t want to cook the little guy with his head on so I went over and took it off of his neck and their hands. Just about to start butchering it up while the girlfriend is safely out in the garden.. :)

    Oh and @Bernatdette Goodroe. I’m in the PNW too and there definitely are people in the area who don’t shy away from the fifth quarter…

    Jesse | | Reply
  24. Wow… this is the difference between you and me. I respect Gods creation and wouldn’t eat them. I would pet and be nice to dogs and pigs. Vegetarians and Carnivors, The North and the South, good and bad, some people are so opposite. The North won against slavery…… If you think real hard, who do you think is right when it’s said that the world should go vegetarian? What would Jesus eat today? Do you believe in Jesus? God only meant for us to eat meat if we had to. Do you not know of the abuse these creatures endure for your glutony?
    Yes, glutony is a sin? Do you believe in sin?
    None of the churches today are telling their people what they need to know.

    Georgia | | Reply
  25. I asked at the butcher yesterday about getting pigs head, he quoted us just £5 GBP for a whole head, £2.50p GBP for a half. Ordered one for next week!

    Uk Boy | | Reply
  26. O K got one , how to cook ,how to get hair off,sounds exellent 40 lb head with some cape 10 lbs of skin

    randy smoot | | Reply
  27. I’m itching to try this, so much more visually appealing than your basic testa. Looks like fun.

    land_charc | | Reply
  28. Brandon, this was on the blog of this recipe:

    “Its royal name is: Porchetta Di Testa – Translation a pigs head that is boned out then marinated for 2 days with rosemary and garlic rolled and tied then braised for 14 hours in a sous vide bag at 200 degrees to keep it all together.”

    Jeff | | Reply