Whole Lotta Hog

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Whole Lotta Hog

Postby The Idiot » Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:40 pm

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The devil makes work for idle hands. That’s what they tell me. I don’t believe in the devil, or God, or angels, or ghosts or even the Bee Gees. I do believe, however, that something happened – a chemical imbalance in my brain, a shift in the space-time continuum, maybe even a long-forgotten impact on the skull with a blunt object – which made the idea pop into my head. Whatever the cause, the minute I thought of the Whole Lotta Hog experiment, it seemed that it was the right thing to do!

Meat porn is nothing new. There are certain people in the world who would be unimpressed if you turned up at their door driving a Ferrari, fresh off your yacht, with a gaggle of dwarf strippers and a wolverine that played the trumpet. They might be bored by your new job promotion, find the details of your lottery win monotonous, and not even care that your sex change operation was successful. However, show them a picture of a well cured side of bacon, or hand them a rare rib eye, and they’re weeping with joy.

Not all meat qualifies as meat porn. It has to have an unusual factor to it. Steaks need to be cooked over fire, and have crusty edges and red juicy interiors. Smoked meat needs that smoke ring and charred bones. Pork chops must be thick, fatty and pink. Smoked pork must fall apart with a glance. However, as with porn porn, meat porn can soon become ordinary. You need it to be more hard-core to have an impact!

The concept of Whole Lotta Hog is a simple one. First off, you make a whole bunch of sausages – pork sausages only need apply. I opted for Cajun andouille, garlic sausage, chorizo, pork and cider, bratwurst and pure pork. Once these are done you just need a simple way to contain them, cook them and then serve them.

The answer is simple.

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That’s right, all you need is a pig’s head. First off, give it a wash (especially inside its ears and up its snout) and then shave him well. If there are a few difficult to reach bits, a blow torch works wonders.

Once you’ve cleaned him up, then bone him out. Now, some people might give up at this point, but boning out a pig’s head isn’t rocket science. A good sharp boning knife helps.

The important bit is to try and not pierce the skin. I always start with the lower jaw, and carefully work around the jaw line without cutting the skin under the jaw. Once the lower jaw is loose you can snap it out. The work from the back of the upper jaw and around the skull, from the back. Work towards the snout; that’s the last bit you do. Take care around the eyes of you’ll end up with gaping holes!

As you work towards the snout remember that if you go through the skin it will ruin the pig-face look. The last bit of snout is held on cartilage, and this will soften during cooking, so cut through it rather than risking damaging the snout.

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Once the head is boned, start inserting sausages into the snout. Put a few in to give it some shape, then use cooking string to sew the mouth shut – three stitches should be enough. Turn the head over and sew up under the lower jaw too.

Next, right the head and add sausages, manipulating the head to try and get a pig-like look. Once it’s filled, sew up the back with four or five stitches, and bung him in the fridge overnight!

Now, I opted to smoke him for six hours, at around 107C (225F), using a mixture of apple and hickory. You only need the smoke for the first two hours. I also basted him with a bourbon glaze. It’s an inexact recipe. Bourbon, brown sugar and black pepper. Mix it together till you’re happy, then reduce until it’s like a syrup. Paint the pig at the start, then after a few hours, and then again an hour before it’s done. I worked towards an internal temperature of 67C (152F)

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Once he came out I let him have a little rest in the kitchen for 30 minutes, then he went onto a plate and was presented. I had intended to pop cherry tomatoes into the eye holes to give him a demonic look, but I forgot.

I then took a sharp knife and only cutting the skin, split the head in half to reveal sausages, more sausages, and even a few more sausages. It was like a pig reunion, and it brought a tear to my eye!

As no one was really expecting it, the reactions varied.

‘Amazing! Disturbing but amazing!’

‘It’s like a horror film; it’s wrong!’

My personal favourite was someone who said, ‘Whatever happens in life, never get analysed!’

So, there you go. A Whole Lotta Pork. I could have done something more productive with my time, but life’s too short for that!
The Idiot Gardener - gardening, brewing, charcuterie, cooking and banjo playing, all without any clue whatsoever!
The Idiot
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Re: Whole Lotta Hog

Postby Slarti » Sun Apr 12, 2015 6:08 am

Great tale. Well written. I am not likely to replicate it, but I am glad I read it.

How tender was the head meat, the cheeks, etc?
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