Yes, we ate a whole pig face for your listening pleasure. James and Sam gorge on head cheese, terrine and porchetta in a bumper episode about this taboo cut of pork. Mmmm… delicious.
Porchetta di Testa
(Pig’s Head Roulade)
Inspired by Porchetta di Testa from WestCoastPrimeMeats.com
- One whole pig’s head, all bones including skull and ears removed, as a single intact piece of meat. A guide for how to do this can be found here. Alternatively, ask your butcher to do this.
- One pig’s tongue
- Two pig’s cheeks
- Two tablespoons Prague powder no. 1 pink curing salt
- One tbsp salt
- One tbsp fresh ground black peppercorn
- Two tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- Three tbsp chopped garlic
- One tbsp lemon zest
- Half tbsp fennel seeds
- Half-tbsp chilli flakes
- Using a blow torch, singe any hairs from the pig head. Cover both sides of the head with a tablespoon on curing salt.
- Place the head on a large tray, skin side down. Ensure all sinew and cartilage has been removed. Cover with regular salt, pepper, lemon zest, garlic, fennel seeds and chilli seeds. Refrigerate for 48 hours.
- Remove from the fridge, place the tongue in the middle and the cheeks on either side.
- Fold the left side of the head into the middle and then fold the right side over the rolled left side. It should look like a pig’s head that has been rolled back together. Tie 7-9 times with butcher twine and vacuum seal. Cook the pig’s head sous vide 85c for 16 hours.
- If you cannot get access to a vacuum sealer you can improvise using several layers of cling film, secured using more butcher twine, then surrounded in one or more tightly tied plastic bags. It won’t create a perfect seal but it will stop 98% of the juices leaking out.
- If you cannot get access to a sous vide then instead place the rolled pigs head in a large cast iron crock pot filled with water, cover and oven cook for 16 hours. You will need to experiment with an oven thermometer to get the water to the correct temperature – for us a 100c oven temperature produced a steady 85c water temperature. Keep an eye on the water level, topping up every 2 to 3 hours.
- Once cooked, remove from the sous vide and place in an ice bath for two hours until cooled. Then place in the refigerator for 24 hours to allow the meat to form as one.
- Remove all plastic covering and butcher’s twine. There will be a layer of gelatine around the meat which can be removed this if you wish. Slice as thinly as possible and serve as a cold deli meat for use in sandwiches and broths.