In my freezer, the head of the pig I got from Masazo’s Piggery in Na`alehu remained, mostly because I wasn’t sure how to prepare it. Every recipe I found online talked about half a head of a smallish pig. This was a whole head from a 400 pound pig, probably weighing between 16 and 20 pounds.
The eyeballs, ears and snout were a bit intimidating! Fortunately, I had the help of a physician who (sort of) knew what we were seeing. We didn’t cook up the head as a whole, but cut off jowls, tongue, and ears to roast separately from the rest of the head.
Please understand that neither of us knew what in the world we were doing, so we took bits from various online recipes. We sprayed the head with canola spray, then rubbed in a mixture of 5-spice powder and ground up sea salt. Garlic cloves were tucked into all cavities, and a cut onion stuffed in the mouth.
We started off with 1 ½ hours in a 375 degree F., oven, basting periodically with a honey-water mix. Then we turned the oven down to 325 degrees F. for another 3 ½ hours.
I won’t gross you out with some of the other pictures I took during this process, but the end result wasn’t really too bad. We sliced meat off the cheeks and served with fresh local corn on the cob. The meat was super rich, and I thought it a bit chewy.
I froze some of the other meaty sections to make Pozole later, a Mexican pork and hominy stew that is traditionally made with meat from a pig’s head and served at Christmas time.
The whole ordeal was quite an experience, although I’m glad there was only one head on the pig. I’m not sure I would want to bother with another one!
A hui hou!