Who doesn't like head!?

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Who doesn't like head!?

Postby hammb » Sat May 27, 2017 2:04 pm

It's memorial weekend which means busting out the BBQ. Wanted to do something different this year so I threw a whole pig head on the smoker. Of course I've got a shoulder on as well for the more squeamish guests. But any true foodie should love the head...some of the best meat on the animal!

Here are some pics. Been running it about 200-250 for 8 hrs. Needs a bump so I moved him into my hotter smoke chamber which should be more like 300-350.

Image

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Re: Who doesn't like head!?

Postby Lord_Byron » Tue May 30, 2017 6:56 am

So, how were the results?
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Re: Who doesn't like head!?

Postby hammb » Tue May 30, 2017 8:50 am

Final picture was ugly. In the pic I have here I have it in my secondary chamber that stays quite a bit cooler than the main chamber. I moved it into the main chamber and being so big it was obviously right up along the roof of the chamber which gets way hotter than optimal for cooking temps. And it was so big that my thermometer probe was actually in the meat, so I had no idea how hot the chamber was running.

Final result was that it was too hot and the skin got far too done. The final pic looks like a giant black pig head. Ears were completely gone, even wrapped in foil they were a waste. The skin I couldn't cut through with my chef's knife. A good cleaver probably would have taken it apart, but I don't have one, and I'm not sure, even if chopped into tiny bits, the skin would have been worth anything.

So that's the bad news.

The good news is, if you aren't planning to EAT the skin, it makes one helluva protective buffer for the good stuff underneath. And OMG was the stuff underneath delicious. The fattiest, juiciest, tastiest pulled pork you'll ever eat. Cheeks are, of course, the highlight, but the butcher left a LOT of neck meat on this one. And that was some goood stuff too. Jowls are almost pure fat, but it was rendered nicely so that it just kinda coated all of the other meat when I pulled it off the skull. I had never eaten snout before, and I wouldn't recommend it, personally. I was, weird....not sure I've ever had anything like it. I cut into it and it looked pink like a good smoke ring rib meat. But it must have so much connective tissue in there that it was all rendered down; taking a bite was like just MUSH. I took one bit of that, and not for me.

All in all, I'd rate the cook as a success. I should have left it in the cooler chamber (in reality the WSM would have been a better cooker for this project, I'll use it next time). Still, the final results were great. I think almost everybody tried it, and pretty much everybody said it was good, although some still went back to the pulled boston butt just because it's what they're comfortable eating. For the leftovers I'm mixing it in with the shoulder to get some fattier richer meat mixed in. I DEFINITELY see why head cheese is the classic use for the cut. So much collagen in there...

I have off/on issues with gout, so I did not eat the brain since organs can be a major trigger for that.

Still, I'd highly recommend this to anyone. The head only cost me $20 and there was a LOT of meat on the final product. And if you can get the perfectly rendered, but then crispy skin, it can be even better. My first introductions to BBQ as a kid were large whole hog roast parties on rotisserie cookers my dad welded for people. Those hogs always had the head, and we always picked the meat off it. AFAIC, the cheek meat is right next to the belly as the best on the animal.
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