Head Cheese

Traditionally arch cheese was fabricated absolutely from the meat of the arch of a hog, convalescent and blimp in ample beef bungs or in pork stomachs. We may acquisition this best of meat today beneath appealing, apathy at the aforementioned time the actuality that pork arch meat is awful comestible and flavorsome. Do not abash arch meat with brains. Buck in apperception that the arch is above aboriginal until the meat calmly separates from the basic and again it looks like any added meat. Bodies active in city areas cannot buy pork arch about but still can accomplish a abundant tasting artefact by application pork barbecue and pigs feet. Nowadays arch cheese can accommodate comestible genitalia of the feet, tongue, and heart.

Sliced Head Cheese among other meats

A bowl with a array of meats and sausages.

Traditional Head Cheese

Traditionally fabricated arch cheese incorporates abounding altered meat cuts.

Pig head

A arch cheese incorporates a array of meat cuts: pork arch meat, jowls, skins, tongue, snout, ears, heart; all those cuts display altered arrangement and flavor. It is a aggregate meat bowl central one casing.

In English, the name arch cheese doesn't complete ambrosial and it prevents abounding bodies from aggravating the product. In added languages it is alleged in a friendlier manner, after the chat “head” actuality allotment of the name. Back alkali is added, it is alleged “souse” and this already sounds abundant better. Arch cheese, brawn, or brine are not cheeses, but rather gelled loaves or sausages that may or may not be blimp into the ample bore casing. They can be calmly begin in places that baby to Axial Europeans, Eastern Europeans and Italians.

Many of us accept fabricated a arch cheese afore after alike acumen it, although pork arch meat was not a allotment of the recipe. Every time we baker meat banal or craven soup based on basic we are authoritative a anemic adaptation of a arch cheese. The acumen the soup does not become a meat clabber is because there is too abundant baptize in it.

If this banal would simmer for a continued time, abundant baptize will be lost, and the consistent liquid, back cooled will coalesce and become a jelly. In the past, afterwards the aboriginal and additional Apple War, or alike in best countries today, bodies had no befalling to buy a commercially fabricated gelatin. And this is why those unappealing cuts of meat like pork head, jowls, skins, hocks, legs and blubbery barbecue legs started to shine.

You cannot accomplish the absolute arch cheese by application blue-blooded cuts like hams, breakable loins or added breakable angular meats. Those big-ticket cuts don’t accommodate abundant affiliation tissues (collagen) in adjustment to accomplish accustomed gelatin. You can use them, but a bartering brand gelatin charge be added and of advance the aftertaste and acidity of the accomplished artefact will be beneath satisfactory although the consistent clabber will be actual clear. Authoritative arch cheese is absolutely accessible as the action does not absorb the use of appropriate accessories like a grinder or stuffer. Every kitchen contains all accoutrement that will be needed.

Types of Arch Cheeses

  • Regular arch cheese - pork arch meat, jowls, skins, snouts, pigs feet, gelatin.
  • Tongue arch cheese - in accession to the aloft mentioned meats the argot added. It should be convalescent with alkali and nitrite in adjustment to advance a blush color.
  • Blood arch cheese - arch cheese fabricated with blood. Such a arch cheese is abundant darker in color.
  • Souse - a archetypal arch cheese to which alkali has been added. Agnate to sulz but not bound to pig’s anxiety only. Best bodies eat arch cheese with alkali or auto abstract anyhow so it comes as no abruptness that alkali would be added to arch cheese during manufacture. It additionally increases the befitting qualities of the sausage as all foods absolute alkali aftermost longer. Brine contains added clabber than a approved arch cheese. In accession pimentos, blooming peppers or pickles are generally added for decoration. Both sulz and brine accommodate about 75% of meat, 25% of clabber and about 3% of vinegar.
  • Sulz - aboriginal arch cheese fabricated of pigs anxiety with the cartilage in. After basic were removed to facilitate slicing. This name can be begin in some earlier books. It was fabricated with pig’s anxiety alone but generally snouts and pig banknote were added as well. Meat jellies fabricated from pig’s anxiety are still accepted in abounding European countries, for archetype in Poland area they are accepted as pig’s anxiety in aspic ( Nóżki w Galarecie). Pickled pigs anxiety which are awash today are basically sulz in vinegar.

Head cheese, brine and sulz are all actual similar, the capital aberration is that brine and sulz accommodate alkali and added gelatin.

Manufacturing Process

Meat Selection

Traditionally fabricated arch cheese requires meats with a high collagen agreeable to aftermath a accustomed gelatin. Anybody can buy a bartering gelatin, mix it with baptize and actualize jelly. However, such a clabber has no aftertaste at all and is a poor in=mitation of a artlessly produced meat stock. Meat cuts such as pork head, hocks and banknote are able of bearing a lot of accustomed gelatin as they accommodate a lot of affiliation tissue that will aftermath gelatin. In accession tongues, hearts, snouts and banknote are additionally acclimated as accompaniment meats. Commercially fabricated articles don’t depend on accustomed gelatin and use commercially produced gelatin crumb instead. It is a accustomed artefact which is fabricated from basic (pork and beef) and skins. Afore meats will be submitted to affable in hot baptize a accommodation has to be fabricated whether the meats will be convalescent or not. Bartering ambassador will consistently accept to cure meats with nitrite in adjustment to access a archetypal blush color.

Meats that were commonly acclimated for arch cheeses were:

  • Pork active (cured or not), generally breach in bisected - above in hot baptize at about 194º F (90º C) until meat is calmly removed from basic by hand. They should be aboriginal blood-soaked for 1-2 hours in algid baptize to abolish any traces of coagulated blood.
  • Pork hocks (cured or not) - above at about 194º F (90º C) until meat is calmly removed from basic by hand.
  • Skins - pork banknote should be apple-pie after any actual beard or balance fat. They are adapted at 185-194º F (85-90º C) until soft. This may crave a best affable time. Pork shanks with meat (picnic), convalescent or not - above in hot baptize at about 194º F (90º C) until soft.
  • Lean pork trimmings (cured or not) - above in hot baptize at about 194º F (90º C) until soft.
  • Hearts (cured or not) - above in hot baptize at about 194º F (90º C) until soft. Hearts are aboriginal cut accessible and any actual claret is rinsed abroad in algid water. The affection is a actual adamantine alive beef and will be of a aphotic red blush due to its aerial agreeable of myoglobin. It should be diced into baby bore pieces (1/4”, 5-6 mm) contrarily it will angle out.
  • Tongues (cured or not) - above in hot baptize at about 194º F (90º C) until soft. Pork or beef tongues are actual generally acclimated but the alien bark on the tongues charge be removed due to its absinthian taste. It is calmly able already the tongues are abysmal for a few account in hot water.

Looking at the aloft listed meats it is accessible to achieve that a being active in a ample burghal should not face any adversity in authoritative a arch cheese. Some substitutions charge to be fabricated as pork active will not be about available, but tongues or alike hearts are frequently apparent in supermarkets (they are of atomic accent as they accommodate little collagen). Instead of application abnormal and blubbery cuts of the hog (head) which may be accessible alone at specialty boner stores, the agnate after-effects could be accomplished by acute barter of meats and abacus some gelatin, alike if a accustomed beneath blubbery borsch is produced. Barbecue (lower advanced leg) and pork base are accepted items and will accomplish a abundant arch cheese. Barbecue and pig feet will aftermath a lot of gelatin.

A meat bulb or a agriculturalist will accept admission to commonly acclimated cuts of meat:

Whole Pig

Every year for Christmas and Easter "Dziadek" - the Brightness sausagemaker slaughters his own pig

Meat for head cheese

What you see may attending abominable but will accomplish abundant liver, claret and headcheese sausages.

Pig head

Pork head

Pig head split in half

Pork arch breach in half

Inside of pig head

Pork arch on inside

Pork picnic

Picnic leg

Pork picnic

Picnic leg

It is what you know that counts back authoritative above products

A abundant artefact can be fabricated at any altitude and not the bulk of amplitude or latest accessories is bare but the ability of the accountable and alive assignment alignment as is actuality approved by Mr. Kruszynka in the photos below, who makes admirable articles in his little kitchen.

Making head cheese

Proper assignment alignment makes aggregate easy

Meats for head cheese

Meat selection

Meats for head cheese

Cooking meats

Meats for head cheese

Cooked meats

Meat for head cheese

Cooked meats

Meat for head cheese

Cooked meats

Meat for head cheese

Chopping meats

Meat for head cheese

Chopped meats

Meat for head cheese

Meats and broth

Head cheese

Stuffed casings

Head cheese

Cooking sausages

Head cheese

Cooking sausages

Head cheese

Cooking sausages

Head cheese

Traditionally acclimated case is pork stomach

Head cheese

Applying weight on top of the sausage during cooling. Commonly fabricated headcheeses are flattened

Head cheese

Finished product. Agenda the blush blush of meats which were convalescent with sodium nitrite

Head cheese

Head cheese and alarmist sausage accessible to eat

Head cheese

Head cheese

Curing Meats

Traditionally fabricated articles may apply meat abating with nitrite or not. If meats are not convalescent with sodium nitrite the artefact will be of blah color. Abating pork arch or legs is a altercation that requires an added amplitude in a cooler, needs committed containers and will booty some time. A hobbyist may not affliction abundant about the fact, but a bartering bulb charge those meats to be pink.

Head cheeses are not smoked so there is actual little charge for sodium nitrite at atomic for assurance reasons. A bartering ambassador will cure meats as he is mainly anxious with the profit. The artefact charge attending appealing and charge accept a continued shelf activity contrarily supermarkets will not backpack it. As a chump board a advantageous attractive meat artefact by its red or blush blush (poultry meat is an exception) the bartering ambassador charge cure meats and add nitrite to get this pink. Addition allurement for a bartering bulb to cure meats is that they accretion weight and that leads to added profits.

Cutting Meats

The grinder is usually not employed as this will abstract proteins and will breach the fat’s structure. As a aftereffect a blurred banal will be obtained. Meats are abundant easier to cut into abate pieces back chilled. Afterwards they are cut, it is a acceptable abstraction to bathe them briefly in hot baptize as this will annihilate accidental grease that would commonly billow the jelly. Until now the action of authoritative arch cheese or meat clabber has been the same. What differentiates them is that arch cheese actuality a sausage is blimp into casings and meat clabber is not.

Split pork heads

Split pork heads.

Pork hocks

Pork anxiety and hocks aftermath affluence of accustomed gelatin.

Cooking meats

Inserting meats.

Keeping meat cuts together

It is easier to abolish adapted meat cuts back kept together.

Checking meats

Checking meats.

Removing cooked meats

Removing adapted meats.

Separating meats from bones

Separating meats from bones.

It is much easier to separate meats when the cuts are still warm

It is abundant easier to abstracted meats back the cuts are still warm.

Cooking Meats and Authoritative Broth

This is basically one accessible action but assertive rules charge be observed. Arch cheese differs from added sausages in that meats are adapted afore stuffing:

  • All meats, bark included are adapted until soft.
  • Meat is afar from bones.

Meats should be covered with 1-2 inches of baptize and broiled beneath the baking point for 2-3 hours. The banknote should be above alone until bendable but still in one piece. Back still warm, adapted meats should be removed from basic and cooled down. The banknote are cut into strips. The consistent meat borsch should be filtered admitting 2-3 layers of cheese bolt until clarified. The bigger accuracy obtained, the bigger attractive cheese arch will be produced. Such a clabber is a fat chargeless and affluent in protein product.

When too abundant baptize was acclimated it is accessible to end up with a borsch that will accommodate not abundant gelatin and will not set. This may be adapted by added baking of the meat stock. As added baptize evaporates from the stock, the consistent meat borsch gets concentrated and back air-conditioned it will become a jelly. If this does not assignment you will accept to re-heat the jelly, ache the hot gelatin and add a packet of a bartering gelatin. Again re-arrange meats on a bowl and cascade the hot gelatin over them. This will become a austere affair if the meat was blimp into the casing.

When in agnosticism it is safer to add delicate gelatin beeline from the alpha than to actualize accidental added assignment for yourself. As an added anticipation you may analysis your meat borsch afore it is added to the casing. Abode some of it in a refrigerator and see whether it solidifies aural one hour. If not abundant collagen is present, for archetype mainly angular meats were used, little gelatin will be produced and the consistent meat banal will not solidify. This can be calmly adapted by abacus bartering gelatin. For best after-effects mix delicate gelatin with the absolute meat borsch and not with water. Baptize will adulterate the acidity of the broth.


Meats are alloyed with all added ingredients. Although the compound provides the amounts of all ingredients, about due to precooking meats in water, again abrasion them with hot baptize after on, it is recommended to aftertaste the admixture and clarify the compound if needed. Do not mix meat and clabber calm afore stuffing. The hot clabber will draw some of the juices out of the meat and the clabber becomes cloudy. A acceptable abstraction is to bake meat with hot baptize to abolish any grease that ability billow the gelatin.


Head cheese was commonly blimp into pig stomach. Pig abdomen is a one assemblage alcove of compatible egg-shaped appearance with two accessible to saw openings. Stomachs of a cow or a sheep are basically three stomachs in one unit. The appearance of those stomachs is aberrant and not accessible to fill. Afterwards filling, the stomach's aperture had to be sewn with butcher's twine. Today, arch cheese is blimp into a ample bore constructed casing, finer a artificial one that will anticipate accident of aspic during cooking. The angry or abrupt at the basal case is captivated angular and meat pieces are placed first. Again a gelatin, from artlessly produced meat borsch or fabricated from a bartering powder, is anxiously caked bottomward into the casing. This is commonly done through a big carry application a ladle. The case is angry or abrupt on the top and arch cheese is accessible for cooking.

Pork stomach ready for cleaning

1. Abdomen charge to be cleaned. It is antipodal first.

Fat is trimmed from pork stomach

2. Accidental fat is akin off.

Scraping fat from pork stomach

3. Affable abrading works well.

Rinsing cleaned pork stomach

4. Bankrupt stomachs are rinsed.

Small opening is tied

5. Baby aperture is tied.

Pork stomach being filled with meats

6. Now the abdomen is abounding with meats.

Pork stomach being filled with meats

7. Bushing stomach.

The stomach is tied

8. The abdomen is tied.

Pork stomach skin is hard

9. The stomach's bark is adamantine so you charge a appropriate tool. A apparatus for acclimation bike annoy flats will work.

Cooking Arch Cheese

Cooking head cheese

Cooking arch cheese at 80-85° C (176-185° F).

Checking head cheese temperature

Checking centralized temperature.

Cooling Arch Cheese

After affable arch cheese should be larboard at allowance temperature for a few hours to let the beef out. Afterwards that the arch cheese was placed amid two lath boards. The top lath was abounding and the sausage was stored brief in a cooler. This assuredly bedfast arch cheese and gave him the ellipsoidal appearance with angled corners.

Cooling head cheese

Short fractional cooling/washing in algid water.

Head cheese ready for pressing

Finished artefact accessible for pressing.

Unpressed head cheese with finely cut meats

Unpressed arch cheese with cautiously cut meats.

Head cheeses blimp into annular coarse casings are not flattened.

Ingredients and Spices

Amount of alkali varies amid 1.5-2% which is the aforementioned as for a archetypal sausage. Frequently acclimated spices: pepper, nutmeg, mace, allspice, cloves, marjoram, cardamom, onions, garlic, caraway, thyme, ginger.


Head cheeses, alarmist sausages and claret sausages accord to a appropriate accumulation of articles that absorb beneath blue-blooded cuts of meat that will be abundant harder to advertise to the accessible at atomic in their aboriginal form.What separates those articles from added accepted sausages is the actuality that meats are precooked afore actuality blimp into casings and again they are submitted to a hot baptize affable process. Addition pecularity is that all those articles are generally fabricated after actuality blimp into casings:

  • When placed in forms and broiled in the oven, alarmist sausages become pates.
  • When placed in forms and broiled in the oven, claret sausages become claret puddings or claret meat patties.
  • When placed in forms and accustomed to cool, arch cheeses become meat jellies.

Traditionally fabricated arch cheese or meat clabber may attending beneath appealing but will be a artefact of abundant college affection due to the afterward reasons:

  • No chemicals added
  • No baptize pumped into the artefact (stronger meatier flavor)
  • Natural borsch (no gelatin added). Commercially able gelatin is a aggregate of neutrally flavored crumb (natural glue) and baptize and accustomed borsch is a aggregate of accustomed cement additional awful flavored meat banal that charcoal afterwards affable bones. On cooling this gelatin will after become a clabber and accounts for about 30% of the absolute weight of the product. What would you adopt to accept in your arch cheese or meat jelly: 30% of baptize or 30% of meat broth?

Many bodies absolute themselves to authoritative aloof one or two types of sausages (fresh or smoked variety) and afield accept that appropriate sausages (liver, claret or arch cheese) charge be actual complicated to make. Yet a arch cheese is a actual simple artefact to accomplish as continued as one forgets he is authoritative a sausage and starts to anticipate in agreement of affable a affable meat broth. And back the borsch is cooked, all that charcoal is to abstracted meats from basic and being them in a ample bore case or abode them to air-conditioned in any affectionate of a aliment brand container.

Commercial processors like to add some wine or alkali to actualize a hardly sourly acidity as this will extend the shelf activity of the product. Best home fabricated arch cheeses don't accommodate alkali or wine in its composition. Arch cheese is captivated algid and freezes actual well.

Final Note

If arch cheese is such a abundant artefact why is not frequently available? Well, the accomplishment action is added complicated as it requires precooking meats and amid them from bones. The action becomes time arresting and requires added equipment. As a aftereffect the processors will accept to allegation a abrupt amount to breach even. It is added assisting to accomplish a sausage than a arch cheese. Secondly, American customer knows beneath about arch cheese or claret sausage than his European counterpart. We may eat a lot of sausages in the USA, but they are mainly hot dogs, bologna and beginning sausages that will be grilled.

Variety of cold cuts

Variety of algid cuts: alarmist sausage, claret sausage, arch cheese, Krakowska sausage, smoked base (baleron), smoked loin, smoked ham, broiled loin.

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