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18 responses to “Adventures with a Mangalitsa Pig Head”

  1. JA

    Incredible. I am envious. Now about that beef heart…

  2. Heath Putnam

    Mangalitsa liver has a very strong flavor. When I ate Mangalitsa “Leberknoedelsuppe” (liver dumpling soup), it was too strong for me. I can eat the same dish made from normal pigs without effort.

    Chef Stockner (of Zum Weissen Rauchfangkehrer in Vienna) cooks it and then blends it into his whipped lard – because the Mangalitsa liver itself would have too strong a taste.

    You are very lucky to get the jowls. In Seattle, people know that’s the best part (cured or cooked), so you’d have to fight for it:

  3. adele

    Mmm. Further proof that every part of a pig is good to eat. 🙂

    If crispy frying isn’t happening, you could try adding Chinese seasonings to the pig’s ears and braising them for a while longer. They’re traditionally served cold, cut into slices, as an appetizer. I’m sure you could find a recipe online.

  4. Heath Putnam

    Hank – Wooly Pigs imported the Mangalitsa breeding stock, and is still the ultimate source of all Mangalitsa produced in the western hemisphere.

    Wooly Pigs is the sold breeder in the western hemisphere of Mangalitsa. We sell barrows (castrated pigs) to farms like Red Mountain Farm and The Herbfarm.

    That pig you ate was from the first generation, so it was particularly well traveled. It was conceived in Austria, born in quarantine in upstate New York, and grown in Washington and – most importantly – finished on acorns in Livermore.

  5. sportingdays

    So cool on a lot of different levels. I visited Cosentino’s salumeria in the SF Ferry Building for the first time over the Thanksgiving weekend. I’m hooked.

  6. matt wright

    Great, great stuff. The Mangalista is really fatty – great for bacon or guanciale. I would love to know how you are going to cure it. It is going to be my next charcuterie experiment, once this bresaola is done.

    I was thinking of doing a pig’s head too – but more like the French Laundry recipe.

  7. We Are Never Full

    the first thing i thought of when i read “pig’s head” was Fergus. We just wrote about our recent trip to St. John (how awesome we both wrote about him around the same time!) and the FABULOUS pig head and white beans we ate there. he’s genius. i was lucky to meet him while we were there and he’s totally quirky but i love him and loved st. john.

    this post is like a good dream. i can’t wait to cook pigs head .

  8. andrew

    This is just a fantastic post – well written as always, and inspiring me to move out of my comfort zone a little bit. I bought a beef heart (about 2lbs) from a local farmer- it’s frozen. I’m assuming it will thaw well and should be cooked with the same recommendations as a fresh one?

  9. Kevin

    I’ve been reading Wooly Pigs for quite a while now, and was very pleasantly surprised to see you featured in his post. Very cool. Such a small world.

  10. Audrey

    Well, you do make a pretty good case for curing pork liver. I’ll have to dig around in the freezer and see if we have that. Wonder what those low temps do to the texture.

  11. Ryan


    I’m going to try and hit up Incanto some time in January!

    Also, I need to make the same ear and sorrel recipe here at some point. I’ll make sure to tell you how it come out. I’ve tried to fry them before, but it wasn’t a resounding success. 🙁

  12. Neil

    Just read an article at The New York Times today regarding Mangalista sausages. Hope I could taste one. Also got liver sausage and blood sausage last weekend at the Italian Market in Philly. Can’t wait to cook it.

    I have a recipe maybe you could try it regarding pigs head. We call it “Sisig” from the Philippines.


    1-1/2 lbs pork cheeks (or 2 lbs deboned pork hocks)
    1/2 lb pork tongue
    1/2 lb pork heart
    1/2 lb pork liver
    2 cups water (for boiling)
    1 cup pineapple juice (for boiling)
    1 tsp whole black peppers (for boiling)

    Marinade seasonings:

    1 cup chopped onions
    6 finger Thai birds eye chile peppers (chopped)
    1/4 cup vinegar
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1/4 cup pineapple juice
    1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 tsp whole black pepper (crushed)
    1 pc bay leaf (crushed)
    Salt to taste

    Cooking Instructions:

    Combine pork cheeks (or deboned pork hocks), heart, and tongue in pineapple juice, salt, water and crushed whole black pepper and bring to a boil; simmer for about 1 hour or until tender.

    Drain and cool to room temperature.

    Slice pork cheeks/hocks, liver, heart and tongue, into 2?X3? X 1/4? thick pieces.

    Place in bamboo skewers and grill over charcoal briquettes until crisp and browned.

    Chop the grilled pork cheeks/hocks, liver, heart, and tongue into 1/4 inch sized cubes;

    Mix the chopped meat with the marinade seasoning mix of garlic, ginger, onions, vinegar, lemon juice, Thai birds eye chile peppers, bay leaf, salt and pepper;

    Keep the marinated mixture in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours before serving.


  13. Maya

    Any hopes of getting a general recipe for the salt cured pork liver you were working on? I just returned from a local farm with 3 pork livers and the idea sounds intriguing…

  14. michael

    I’m sure this is long on your radar, but the original, French version of the Quebecois wildman cheffie Martin Picard’s Au Pied du Cochon cookbook has a pretty neat, totally ridiculously over the top stuffed trotter recipe in it. The accompanying CD is pretty hilarious, too.


  15. 2nd Favorite

    This is really encouraging me to go and pick up a Magalitsa head. Fortunately (or unfortunately for my wallet) I have easy access to them, living in the Seattle area. I have a bit of Mangalitsa belly curing in the fridge and my butcher and I have plans to cure a whole Mangalitsa ham. How sweet will that be!
    Your pictures of the head confirmed my suspicion that it would be way too fatty for porchetta di testa. Still, maybe I should make some guanciale!

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