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cooking a whole cows head

 
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On our family's ranch, customers buy a whole cow. a mobile butcher comes out and  does the work. the left overs are the hide, head and a the insides. The rest goes to the meat locker to be processed for the customer. I like the cheeks and tongue, but have never cooked a whole head. we have a stainless steel pot that is maybe 15-20 gallons.





I am wondering what anyone's experiences has been cooking a whole cows head in a large pot. looking for cook times, prep times and how many pounds of meat you get. I would can this or freeze it.
 
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I haven't had direct experience since I was a kid and we had similar issues on the farm.  A calf's head can be substituted for turtle in any recipe, including really gourmet turtle soup recipes.  For that, we used a pot.  For the cow's head, the best thing to do is dig a barbecue pit and cook it low and slow over hardwood coals.  Skin it, saltit down and pepper it well. I suppose any barbecue smoker would work, but tradition is to dig a hole, burn down some oak and hickory or other nut or fruit wood, even mesquite.  You can either put some rebar down low enough, or lower the head down on chain - I think the chain works best because it makes it easier to lift out.  Lower it in and cover the hole with some barn tin.  20 hours or so later, all the connective tissue has melted down and you have excellent, pull apart, succulent meat.  I wouldn't hesitate to eat the brains - I love brains!  But, with all the diseases these days, you may want to skip them.  Regardless, everything else will be fantastic.... somewhere between roast beef, barbecued brisket and perfect meat for burritos and fajitas, tacos, etc.  Be sure to skin the tongue after cooking,  before eating - awesome sandwich meat or with gravy.  I don't know how much meat there is, but it is substantial.
 
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In a lot of countries, it was more common to cook the heads of animals than we see nowadays. Whatever the animal is I feel the basic process is the same. The pig is the one I am most familiar with.  

I want to talk about Hog Head Cheese as this is what I am most familiar with. And probably this could be made with any animal head.

After asking Mr. Google several different ways I finally found it.

If you've gone through the trouble of stewing a whole pig's head, making headcheese is simply a matter of taking everything that you've cooked and plopping it into a pan with salt and pepper.



A bit of broth will go into the pan to make sure that your mold of meat fits perfectly into the crevices of your pan, but contrary to what recipes may warn about headcheese not wanting to gelatinize, the truth is that you'll have a hard time getting the meat NOT to stick together. Head flesh wants to bind. If you add the gelatinous meat with collagen and tissue into your loafpan, then the entire mixture will easily come together into one solidified mass.



Here is the Recipe

https://www.seriouseats.com/the-nasty-bits-breaking-down-a-pigs-head-offal-headcheese-ramen-recipe

This is not really a cheese and there is no cheese in it.  That is just the traditional name. Maybe the name refers to the gelatin-like substance in it or the way it all binds together.

The end result is a loaf of something like really good lunchmeat.  With a much better quality than the average store-bought lunchmeat.
 
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