This Little Piggy Went to Market…

By Iron Chef Leftovers

…and this little piggy came home, with me…

Thanks to the folks at Sea Breeze Farm, I was able to try something that I have always wanted to – roast a pig’s head. This is more of the FYI post rather than the recipe, since that is a much more involved writing process, so I will post the actual details of that later. They were kind enough to split it in half, leave the skin on (which is not easy to find) and even gave me the tongue, which I am looking forward to using at a later date. This meat itself was delicious and was probably one of the 5 best pork dishes I have eaten.

A few things I learned from doing this:

  • If the food is looking at me, I need to name it, so I named it Pig after the character from Pearls Before Swine (real original, I know).
  • A blowtorch is not the best way to remove any remaining hairs from the pig – buy a disposable razor.
  • I am not used to roasting pieces of meat that are terribly uneven and I need to work on the technique to better suit my oven.
  • When you don’t have a roasting pan that will fit something properly, heavy duty foil wrap and a baking sheet work really well.
  • Trying to carve a pig’s head with a knife is an interesting proposition – you really need to get a feel for where the bones are.
  • It is easier to tear the meat off the head rather than carving it – there is meat in places that you will never be able to get to with a knife.
  • Glazed pork skin has the consistency of rock candy and is sweet, salty, crunchy and fatty – basically the best thing you will ever eat.
  • The meat and fat under glazed pork skin remains volcanic for long periods of time.
  • A friend suggests that half a pig’s head will feed 2-3 people for 6 lbs.; mine was just over 7 lbs. and I could have fed at least 5-6.
  • There is less meat than you would expect, but there is a healthy amount of fat and fat makes you fuller quicker, so you eat less than you do with lean meats.
  • The snout and ears are still two of my favorites, but there is something special about eating the jowl and cheek.

More info and the happy pictures after the jump.

Eyeballs taste nothing like you would expect and have a consistency like nothing you would expect. It was the first time that I ever ate one, and I believe it is the only part of a pig I have never consumed. It isn’t something that I would run out to eat again, but I liked it and would eat it again if the opportunity arose.

Now for the images:

My homemade roasting pan. It works well and was easy to clean up. Maybe there is a post in this somewhere.
My homemade roasting pan. It works well and was easy to clean up. Maybe there is a post in this somewhere.
Pig, in the before shot.
Pig, in the before shot.
Pig, in the after shot, before I tore into the porky goodness.
Pig, in the after shot, before I tore into the porky goodness.
This is the pile of leftovers. That is ear is destined for a salad. The rest, well, who knows.
This is the pile of leftovers. That is ear is destined for a salad. The rest, well, who knows. If you look closely, there is jowl, cheek, snout, ear, and other assorted nuggets of goodness.
The beverage of choice for the evening - 2007 Parejas Mouvedre. Wonderfully good paring of food and wine.
The beverage of choice for the evening – 2007 Parejas Mouvedre. Wonderfully good paring of food and wine.

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