head cheese sandwich

What Is Head Cheese And How To Eat It

head cheese sandwich

“Head cheese” is not a cheese.  I don’t know why it’s called cheese, when it is, in fact, meat! Head cheese is a jellied meat made from the meat of the head of a pig or cow.  That’s why it’s “head”, but who knows why it’s “cheese” :)

Head cheese is sold in the deli department along with lunch meat coldcuts.  The name and the concept of head cheese sounds gross, but head cheese is actually quite a tasty cold cut!  When I’m in a mood for a different lunch meat, I order sliced head cheese in a local ethnic supermarket.

How do you eat head cheese?  Just like any other deli meat – sliced, on the sandwich.  On the picture above, it’s an open-face sandwich with head cheese – a piece of bread spread with mustard, and several slices of head cheese on top.  Head cheese goes really well with mustard or horseradish!

Get out of the lunch meat rut! Be brave, try the head cheese! :)

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25 replies
  1. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com
    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com says:

    I am a hot sandwich girl – even during peak of summers. Weird? I don’t think so :D But I am curious to try head cheese. Might ask the husband to pick it up and not tell me it’s “head” cheese, if you know what I mean :D

  2. Tina@flourtrader
    Tina@flourtrader says:

    I have been told that meat from the pig head or face is some of the best pork you can eat. Which means that this head cheese must be good in spite of its name. I may have to find out if it is true my next trip to the deli!

    • Elaine
      Elaine says:

      My grandmother came to America from Poland as a young single mom. She made a version of head cheese using pigs feet and a piece of veal. She would boil the pigs feet until the meet fell off the bone and then she added a piece of veal cubed. She also added a little hot red pepper for some zing. The water gelled when cold making it nice to slice and serv on rye bread or for another serving version we spooned it into a bowl and poured a little vinegar over it. Yum! Try it.

  3. Juliana
    Juliana says:

    I don’t think I ever had head cheese, but different version of this cold meat….at Asian grocery…just reminded me that I should get some.
    Hope you have a wonderful week ahead Melanie :-)

  4. Hannah
    Hannah says:

    My grandma used to make something called brawn that I think must be similar to headcheese, although she made it in a loaf tin and sliced it thickly. Gosh, memories!

  5. mjskit
    mjskit says:

    Oh Melanie! My parents used to make hogs head cheese every time we butchered a hog which was about 2 to 3 times a year. They would mix in a bunch of spices and dump it into a refrigerator crisper to set. It was quite of surprise when I went to go get an apple. :) Unfortunately, it is not my favorite food. It’s not really the flavor that offends me, but the texture. However, your picture looks quite different from the parents’ homemade stuff. Everyone else in my family loved it and ate with eggs and on sandwiches. Maybe it’s time for me to give it another try.

  6. David
    David says:

    I’m from louisiana and this is eaten pretty regularly. Mostly we serve it on crackers as an appetizer. But you can actually serve it many different ways. Personally, I like to cook mine down over rice or mix it with some boudin.

  7. Frankie
    Frankie says:

    I wasn’t aware that head cheese was ethnic. I thought it came from white people. Who does it actually come from?

    Either way, the concept sounds gross (plus I heard the “recipe” for it in Texas Chainsaw Massacre), but I’m pretty adventurous and would like to try it. I’m just curious, can you taste the jelly? What does that part taste like?

    • Shea
      Shea says:

      Have you ever boiled chicken? You know how that broth at the bottom tastes ?full of seasoning with small pieces of meat? It’s like that. I was wary of the texture before trying it for the first time, but I ended up liking it!

  8. Jonathan
    Jonathan says:

    I grew up eating head cheese and other “strange” foods, it’s amazing as I’ve gotten older the foods that I grew up with are in vogue now. BON APPETIT!!!

  9. Jim Henderson
    Jim Henderson says:

    I’ve been eating head cheese most of my life and I’m 70.we would buy it at the store but I’ve had it home made,either way it was good stuff. You can also get hot head cheese. I’m from South st.louis


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