As whole-animal butchers, Eater’s Prime Time hosts Ben Turley and Brent Young run into a problem every single week: What do they do with the pig heads? One of the best options for utilizing these under-appreciated parts is to make porchetta di testa, an impressive and unique charcuterie known for its soft, yet rich flavors.
The first step of making porchetta di testa is to remove the bones from the whole pig head, so that only meaty parts, mainly the cheeks, are left. Pig heads are ideal for charcuterie because of their balance of meaty, fatty components, unlike lamb heads and beef head which tend to lack meat and are full of unusable glands.
Once the deboned whole pig head meat gets cleaned up, it’s cured with a blend of salt, red pepper, black pepper, fennel, and pink salt for two days. Then, it gets spiced with garlic, rosemary, parsley, and lemon and stuffed with pig ears and pig tongue. Then everything gets rolled up and tied up, and heads to the water bath for 12 hours. The end result is full of intense pork flavors that prompts Turley to say, after taking a bite, “It’s better than what I remembered.”