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Aug 30, 2006 07:15 PM

Pig cheese?

This is a really odd question but I have always wondered why cheese made from pig's milk does not exist (or if it does why is it not widely consumed). There is yalk cheese, buffalo cheese, goat and sheep cheese...but why no pig cheese?

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  1. I thought Head Cheese was made from Pigs Milk, but someone I work with says it's not cheese at all.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Infomaniac

      I've always wondered what head cheese is myself! I just looked it up on wikipedia. Head cheese is a terrine made out of the head of a pig...yup!

      1. re: mielimato

        All you gotta do is take a look at a cross section of it in the deli case. You can just about pick out the body parts...

        1. re: coolbean98

          I'm a big fan of head cheese, especially the spicy variety. I asked the deli guy in my local market why they didn't have head cheese and he said it was because slicing it grossed everybody out! For heaven's sake.

          1. re: Pat Hammond

            I love head cheese as well. I put all jellied meat terrine preparations into the headcheese class, even if they don't have head meat in them. There are so many different types. I think the blood and tongue is great one, so smotth, lush and rich. Also suelze, which has vinegar and finely chopped peppers is really great too, with a bit of a tang to go with the meat. I make a sort of brawn, an English term, which is homemade style of headcheese terrine. The French call it fromage de tete.

            I'm going to have so much fun when this winter as I work on recipes for a charcuterie/smokehouse I will be opening next spring.

            1. re: Pat Hammond

              Can't reply directly to you JMF, so I'll reply to myself! I make a reasonable facsimile with just pig's feet. The jelly produced by them is unbelievably stiff. You could play catch with that stuff. I like vinegar in it too.

              1. re: Pat Hammond

                If you ever had to clean a slicer after slicing head cheese, or worse, souse, you would empathize with the employees. It's very sticky and hard to remove, and you certainly can't slice anything else without the residue getting all over the next meat.

                1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                  Why would you use a slicer on head cheese? It's meant to be sliced thick, hence, only a knife is really suitable for the job.

                  Are there really folks that eat head cheese sliced thin like lunch meat?

                  1. re: bkhuna


                    I eat it like lunch meat - several slices along with other meat - on a sandwich. The brand I've been buying of late has a coarse chop, and low proportion of gelatin. A thick knife slice would weigh close to 1/4 pound, and be overly chewy. Other styles might be better as thick slices, but I prefer this thin.

              2. re: coolbean98

                Hi Pat,

                I like headcheese too. Because it was something my family bought, it never occurred to me that it contained, well ... pigs head.

                I was wondering if you would put your recipe for the jellied pigs feet on the homecooking board? My mom made this and I could never find a recipe for it in Polish cookbooks.

                Yes, I know it is just boiled pigs feet, but I'm not sure of how it gets from foot to the jellied version. We ate it with vinegar poured on top. I loved that stuff.

                This post started me thinking about headcheese, so I started another thread with my questions.


                You know, in the above link, there is a link to wikipedia describing the different versions of headcheese. Some countries DO call it pig cheese. So I wasn't so off when I thought this post might be about headcheese.

                1. re: rworange

                  It's not really a recipe, it's just one of my "little bit of this a little bit of that" concoctions, and it's never the same twice. But I'll work up something for you before long. Thanks for asking.

            2. re: Infomaniac

              Just a confirmation and to reiterate this, head cheese has nothing to do with cheese of any sort, in any way. If you're interested in reading more look up the word aspic.

              1. re: Infomaniac

                Head cheese can be made from many cuts of meat, and don't need to come from the head. We made head cheese with chicken, pork and veal, adding a dusting of gelatin between layers, it was gently simmered in a dish towel, then pressed under a weight. The presence of gelatin was virtually non-existent. The finished product was beautiful layered solid meat. Great stuff!

              2. They don't produce a lot of milk.

                Think of the animals that most of the cheese comes from ... they have those udders full of milk ... no udder, not a lot of milk. Cows have the biggest udders ... therefor, most of the cheese gets made from it.

                Gosh, I thought you just came up with another name for headcheese and was thinking ... awful name ... then again, that could answer the pig cheese question ... it was hard enough to get people to accept goat cheese.

                4 Replies
                1. re: rworange

                  How can "They don't produce a lot of milk" possibly be true? They raise 8 to 12 offspring to what mass in what time? They may have less milk volume than a cow, but certainly no less than a goat. We have goat cheese....

                  1. re: bgbirdsey

                    Goats have large3 udders. Pig's don't

                    1. re: rworange

                      I would not care to be the person who attempted to milk a pig. Cows just kick; these things can kill you. And then eat you.

                    2. re: bgbirdsey

                      Also, the number of teats is far greater in a pig, distributing the milk so that there's less in each. A goat or sheep has only 2, cows have 4.

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                      1. As a child growing up, I can vividly remember my German grandma boiling a pig's head in a big pot on the stove, starting her prep for head cheese. Might have scared some kids off the stuff, but I love it (the homemade variety, anyway) to this day.

                        My Irish grandma, on the other hand, called such food "trough slop" (even while she proceeded to boil some mystery gray meat herself).