Be forewarned some of the following images are not suitable for vegetarians, faint of heart, and people who are not prepared to see pigs heads in various stages of undress. To begin our journey we start at the Farmer's market. It is Sunday morning and the 'True Grass Farm' (notice my restraint) vendor has a signboard advertising; 'Pig Head for Sale". I did a double take before the hook drew me in. This was no ordinary pigs head it was a cross of Black and Berkshire breed. This head had the credentials to make any hipster proud. I am no stranger to cooking a pigs head. Read Here. This was a no-brainer purchase as far as I was concerned. Would Ms. Goofy understand and be tolerant of this very special acquisition?
The last time I cooked a pigs head, I waited for Ms. Goofy to leave town to visit her sister Shastina. Ms. Goofy was visiting her sister again when I made this purchase. The only problem was she was returning in the afternoon. I prepped my heads by a good scrubbing in the sink. I then dried them. A layer of vegetable oil and a dusting of salt would be next. I wrapped my cabeza'a in garbage bags for their overnight rest in the ice cave. Ms. Goofy returned and I greeted her. She knew something was up because I was hovering in front of the ice cave door. "Don't open the door", I pleaded. She guessed right away. "You bought pigs head again?".
The two heads were cooked in the Weber Smoky Mountain cooker at 250 degrees. I used hickory wood for the smoke component. These heads smoked for almost five hours. I took several temperature readings and decided to pull the meat at 165 degrees. They were placed in a service pan and covered with foil. I let them rest for 2 hours. When I began to pull the meat it was still warm. It smelled fantastic of smoke and pork.
Today, I was only interested in the cheek meat. My goal was to have Ms. Goofy try some. There was no way she would try the brain pictured above. It has a scrambled egg sort of texture. I did not think it had a lot of flavor. Below is the cheek cavity pulled away from the head. This meat is very tender. The cheek is surrounded by a ton of fat. I have my fingers crossed that Ms.Goofy will like this.
Below is the tongue. It has a slight beefy taste with a mineral nuance. The texture is firm. The meat is dark in color. It is not pretty looking but would make some good taco filling
I save the best for last. Eyeball tacos were not on the menu today. I did try them the last time and it was a texture thing. I chopped the cheek meat. It was warmed in a pan. I seasoned it with salt & pepper before I doused it in some bbq sauce. This mixture was put into a very flavorful sandwich. Did Ms. Goofy like it? Well, sort off. She took the tiniest nibble and proclaimed it tasted like bacon. She tried it sort of, so my pig head adventure was not a total loss. Did I mention that we are having too much fun. Talk to you soon.
This was a little like an Andrew Zimmerman show :-)
The cheek meat is the best! Always wanted to try smoking a pig head. Thanks for the method.
Big Dude, I love that show. Zimmerman is a lot braver than I.
Greg, I have heard that comment a lot. You will never know until you try it.
Three Dogs BBQ, The cheek also makes the best guanciale. If I ever come across this again that will be my goal.
Mr. Brown where are my smoked pig ears GWH
Chilebrown, Guanciale is Italian for porcine cheeks. So, not only is the cheek the best guanciale, it is the only guanciale. BTW, guancia = cheek.
We just got our first half a pigs head and are planning on smoking it tomorrow. Thanks for the idea on how to do this.
Can you tell me how long a pigs head would take to smoke if I'm using an electric smoker? I have a Pit boss ultimate Memphis grill smoker and This is the first time smoking any kind of meat and I bought a pigs head.
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