OK. Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong. From forgetting to light the oven to running out of foil. By Sunday night I was wibbling in the corner guzzling gin. This has not gone well.
I carried out my plan to roast the head slowly in a tent of foil and boil up the ears and trotters separately. Once I actually lit the oven, the roasting went well, I cooked it at GM 4 for about 4 hours and here she is looking, ummm …..
I was a bit anxious about it being cooked properly so I used a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature. Hugh says pork should be between 70 and 75 degrees, our little friend was about 85 so maybe it was over cooked (sigh)
While the head was cooking I made the stock, onions, herbs etc plus trotters and ears. I boiled it for roughly 3 hrs. The recipe I had called for the ears to be chopped and added to the head meat but when I looked at them they’re 100% cartlidge and I really don’t fancy eating cartlidge so I left them out. I dismantled the trotters trying to locate some meat but didn’t find any so they were discarded too.
Once the head had cooled enough to handle I started to pick the meat off. Slicing the cheek off a pig’s face is an odd sensation and I could feel my sensibilities teetering but being northern and made of sterner stuff I ploughed on. Now I feel like I could dismember a body in the bath without blinking. The meat was all located on the cheeks and down the side of the snout, everything else was fat, skin and bone. The texture of the cheek meat was very odd, the fat and meat couldn’t really be separated as the fat seemed to run right through the meat fibres.
Here’s the remains after I’d sliced and poked about. I haven’t fitted it with a handy handle, that’s the kettle in the background.
I was very disappointed with the amount of meat that came off it, people in the past must have been exceptionally poor and desperate to go to this amount of trouble for such a tiny amount of meat. Added to which my stock was very disappointing too, it completely failed to set which is very odd considering that my normal chicken stock sets fine. Ange has told me she’s had more success with trotter stock but mine was hopeless. I do however, have a load of rendered fat from the head so I’m wondering whether to abandon brawn and go for rilettes instead. This is the trouble with blogging as I go along, I can’t get to the end and pretend it was what I intended to make in the first place!