Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cabesa Puerca: Pig's Head...Roasted

The roasting of a Pig’s Head is a joyous culinary adventure. It takes a certain thrill-seeking eater to venture into this type of meat. The head offers a different taste and texture than a pork chop or rib would. Those who let down their pre-conceived feelings will be greeted with a special and pleasurable foodie experience.

The head was purchased at a local Mexican mercado. It was priced very reasonably.

Please use surgeon’s gloves when cleaning the head and be sure to wash it carefully. Rinse out the nasal cavities, wash behind and in the ears. Pat dry.

Rub the head gently with crushed garlic cloves and coat lightly with olive oil and salt and pepper. Add any other seasoning if you like. I shoved the garlic and sprigs of rosemary into the mouth and other cavities. I placed a lime in its mouth.

I set the oven at 375 degrees and roasted for 1. 5 hours. Every 30 minutes I basted the cabesa with a honey/water mixture. After the first roast, I lowered the temperature to 300-325 degrees for an additional two hours to cook meat all the way through. I wrapped foil around the ears and nose to prevent burning.

If you are cooking for the first time and have never tried Cabesa Puerca, it is smart to make a backup meal. I slow-cooked some boneless pork spare ribs for 6 hours on high, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and menudo.

After roasting the Pig’s Head, cover with foil and let sit for 30 minutes or so. When that is completed, time to cut it up.

The aromas are quite pleasing! I couldn’t help but pick at the skin and munch on the crispy delight of pig’s skin.

The Pig’s tongue was also a delight. Meaty and firm, much like a pork chop.

After the meat was removed from the head, I prepared standard Pork Tacos. The meat of the face and cheek is quite different from other cuts of pork. It is more moist and tender. It literally melted in your mouth. It may not be for the occasionaly pig eater but a special experience nonetheless.

All in all, a roasted Pig’s Head is for a special occasion. Maybe not for daily/weekly consumption. It takes a little gall to clean and handle a Head but the flavors are worth it in the end!

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