Friday, August 7, 2009

Pig head: Part 2

Continued from here

After curing the face overnight, cooking time arrived. I rolled the face up, resulting in this somewhat grim device:

The cooking technique described in the video I linked to in the first post is known as sous-vide or under vacuum, whereby the meat is sealed up with its flavorings and cooked in barely simmering water for many hours. The flavorings and most importantly the gelatin are sealed in so that it can form into a cohesive solid rather than falling apart and losing flavor into the water. Using a plastic bag and a straw, I made what Lillian describes as ghetto-vacuum. To make sure it kept its shape I wrapped it with a few yards of plastic wrap first.

You are aiming for 200-225 degrees with your water, which seems to be the magic number for every type of slow cooking (smoking, braising, etc). I left mine to boil for 6 hours. Take it from the water and toss it in the cooler for another overnight curing.

The next day, you will find essentially a headcheese-style sausage; the gelatin will have cooked out of the meat and it will be a big log of meat. Slice it thin and think of ways to use it.

The white line is the cross section of the ear

I find it makes a hell of a taco with some pickled red onions and habenero sauce. Just slice some off and fry it quickly to heat it, or eat it cold.


Lillian said...

Do you have to use a crazy straw, or is that optional?

NoneMoreBlack said...

The crazy straw is not optional