Using A Pig Head for Its Meat

A half a pig's head can be bought very cheaply from a farmer or farmers' market and turned into several meals. One good use for pig's head (or feet, called "trotters") is to make a brawn out of it. A brawn is a type of lunchmeat.

Put the head into a large crockpot. Add potatoes, onions and other root vegetables to fill in the spaces around it. (You don't have to add veggies, but as long as you're going to be spending the time and energy to cook the pig head, you may as well get an extra meal out of it.) Cover with water. Simmer or slow cook for 24 hours. When everything is cooked, take the vegetables out and eat with any meal.   Drain off the liquid and then when the cuts are cooled off, trim all the meat off of it as you would pick the meat off a turkey carcass.

A half a pig's head should produce about a quart of meat.

To make a lunchmeat, or brawn, pour the liquid back over the chopped meat pieces, cover and set in refrigerator until it has turned to gelatin. The gelatinized meat pieces can then be cut up and used in sandwiches. (Make gravy from any extra liquid and add it to those vegetables for a meatless supper.)

Another use for the picked meat is make a pork pie that can be served as the main meat dish at a dinner. Take the meat that has been chopped up and pass it through a meat grinder, to make ground meat. Mixed the ground meat with some sauteed onions, sea salt, a spoonful of flour and a dash of soy sauce. Boil a handful of dandelion leaves or other greens, if desired, chop and added to the minced meat and onions mixture. In the autumn when the windfall apples are plentiful and need to be used, I also add some chopped apples, but that is optional.

Make pie dough: The traditional recipe is 2 parts flour to 1 part fat and barely enough water to get it to hold together. Smush the fat into the flour and add enough water so that it can be formed into a ball. Sprinkle with flour and roll out 1/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes to fit bottom and top of the pan you will be using to make the pie. Mix the ground pork with the sauteed onions, fill the pie pan, cover with the pie crust.

Bake in a medium oven until crust is browned.

You can also use the chopped meat and broth to make a soup.
Add salt, sauteed onions and thickener of choice. Bring to a boil. Serve with bread and cheese. (For thickeners, I recommend heritage wheats such as khorasan (kamut), emmer, einkorn or spelt, or non-wheat thickeners such as gram (chickpea) flour, arrowroot or cassava (tapioca) flour .

The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating  by Fergus Henderson. The recipes in this book are a little bit too heavy with the sugar (reduce sugar and/or substitute with honey or rapadura), but it's good at explaining the mysteries of preparing food from this type of food source.
Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient  With Recipes by Jennifer McLagan
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

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