Pioneer Recipe: Head Cheese

In honor of Pioneer Day {July 24} this month we'd like to share a few pioneer recipes.  {I don't know if any of us have actually made these recipes!}  This one is definitely unusual compared to today's usual menu items.  Does anyone have a spare pig's head to try this one?

Head Cheese
Cut lean meat off pig’s head and boil. Also boil the tongue in salt water and peel off outer layer. Grind tongue and cooked meat and season with salt, pepper and sage. Put in a bowl with a plate on top to press it down and set in cold place. Don’t leave the plate on any longer than one hour. Slice when cool.

Tiffany's Note: I'm sorry, but this doesn't sound appetizing at all!  Has anyone out there actually eaten or made this?


  1. I tried not to eat it when I was in Latin America, but I think I had it a few times. It is like some other processed meats, but it looks worse. Do a search for "head cheese photo," if you haven't seen any.

  2. They eat meat products like this in Germany as well, and I'm sure many of my Pennsylvania Dutch neighbors have eaten it, at least the older ones. However, the more common meat product around here is scrapple, which I had once, which was more than enough.

    We'd undoubtedly turn up our noses at all sorts of foods that were staples of the diet for our colonial and European ancestors.

  3. It sounds just like a hotdog. I'm not saying I'd want to eat it but it's probably better for you than a hotdog is.

  4. My local Cajun market sells this. It's cheese-block shaped, but the color is entirely different. You can see small chunks of meat-type stuff and spices in it. I can't bring myself to try it. :P

  5. Amy and all I helped MOM make this almost every year when I was home. At least every year we butchered.
    I will share what I learned from my hispanic neighbor, though head cheese is more Germanic in nature I was told.
    My neighbor boiled tongue peeled it, dipped in egg and bread crumbs fried it and it tasted much like veal. My children ate it for a long time before they found out it was tongue.

  6. I have eaten something like this in Austria. It actually tastes pretty good; really like most cold cuts.

  7. You can actually purchase this from "Boars Head" meats, found in a lot of Ingle stores now. It makes a good sandwich meat.


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