define head cheese

Define head cheese

Before we start talking about what head cheese is, clear your mind. Whatever you’re thinking it is, we promise that it isn’t that. However, if you are going by the actual name, it is more telling than you’d think. After all head cheese is made from real heads.

Relax, we just mean the heads of pigs. While there is no cheese actually involved in the making of head cheese, this head loaf closely resembled what pâté looks like minus the gelatin.

You begin by boiling a full pig’s head (tongue and all) in a pot full of seasoning, herbs, and vegetables for up to a good six hours. When the tongue is fork-tender, you then strain the head, pluck off the meat, and then chop and stuff it into sausage casings. You don’t need gelatin since the pork bones cook down into collagen that binds the meat once chilled.

Head cheese is prepared differently around the world. The Germans include pickles, vinegar, and the occasional beef tongue for extra flavoring. In southern Louisiana, those who make head cheese (also known as sous) add hot sauce and vinegar for flavor. Even the Pennsylvania Dutch have their own twist, adding other animal parts like beef tongue and pigs foot for variety.

Once completed, head cheese looks no less appetizing (and no less strange) than a bologna, blood sausage, salami or pâté!

Want to attempt to make it at home? Check out this no-fail Hog’s Head Recipe!

Find out the facts behind this culinary curiosity




Origin of headcheese

Words nearby headcheese

Example sentences from the Web for headcheese

Headcheese is usually made from the hog’s head but odds and ends also can be used not only from pork but from beef and veal.

There’s headcheese besides but that’s made of a pig’s head and is only a cheese by discourtesy.

Take back that sack or we will sell you for headcheese before night!’


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Headcheese definition, a seasoned loaf made of the head meat, sometimes including the tongue or brains, of a calf or pig and molded in the natural aspic of the head. See more.