Tasso Beer-Brined Pig Head
Using a wet cure, this version of Tasso creates a Tasso Beer-Brined Pig Head, that can be used for many different Creole | Cajun dishes, such as gumbo, jambalaya or into a sandwich.
Servings Prep Time
2gallon 20minute
Cook Time Passive Time
8hour 30minute
Servings Prep Time
2gallon 20minute
Cook Time Passive Time
8hour 30minute
Tasso Beer-Brined Pig Head Ingredients:
Pig Head Stock Ingredients:
Tasso Beer-Brined Pig Head Directions:
  1. In the pitcher of a blender, add some of the hot water, along with the salt, DME or brown sugar, molasses, paprika, peppercorns, cayenne, garlic and onions. Add more water to fill the pitcher. Slowly increase the blending speed to high and purée all the ingredients to make a paste.
  2. Transfer the seasoning paste to a large container or stockpot. Add any remaining hot water, along with the bay leaves, thyme, cold beer and cold water. Mix all these ingredients together well.
  3. Add the rinsed pig head to the pot face up, making sure it is fully covered with the brine. Place this into a refrigerator, kegerator or cooler filled with ice to keep the brine below 40°F | 4°Cs Fahrenheit for 3–5 days. Move the head around daily to make sure it has new contact with the brine.
Alternative Meat Choices:
  1. If ordering a pig head isn’t your thing, substitute a bone-in pork butt for it in the Tasso Beer Brine.
To Cook:
  1. Traditionally, tasso ham is smoked after it is cured. I decided to simmer the skull to cook it, while at the same time, creating a wonderful and flavorful stock. Follow the recipe on the recipe page to create the two products you need to make a Tasso Beer-Brined Pig Head Gumbo that will knock the Mardi Gras beads right off your neck!
Pig Head Stock Directions:
  1. In a 5-gallon stockpot, add the celery, carrots, onions, leeks, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns. Remove the pig head from the Tasso Beer Brine and without rinsing it, place it onto the prepared vegetables, neck side down. Add the beer, then top the pot off with cold water, covering the snout by a few inches.
  2. Place the stockpot onto the stove and turn the heat to medium-low. Once the stock comes to a boil, adjust the heat to a very low simmer. Let the pig head cook for 7 – 8 hours. Check the water level periodically, making sure that evaporation doesn’t leave the head uncovered. If any scum or foam forms on top of the stock, remove | skim it using a ladle.
  3. When the timer goes off, turn off the heat and let the stock rest for about 30 minutes to make it easier to remove the head in one piece. Carefully strain the stock into the new pot or use pitchers or other large containers to hold it. Using two sets of tongs, pick up the head and transfer it to a sheet tray with rims. Drain any remaining stock into the new stockpot, leaving behind all the vegetables. Place the new pot back on a burner; bring the stock to a boil and reduce until the volume is about 2 gallons.
  4. While the stock reduces, using rubber gloves carefully remove the checks, jowl (or neck meat), tongue, skin, eyes, ears, and all the muscles around the eyes, jaw, neck and snout that is on the skull. All this meat is edible and very tasty. Remove any of the fat and reserve it for the gumbo’s roux.
  5. There are three plates of bone that meet and connect above the forehead. Insert a knife tip into the center of these three plates, and give the knife a twist to unlock the skull and remove the brain. Next, discard the skull pieces and peel the taste buds off the tongue, leaving behind the tender meat.
  6. Now, chop up all the meat pieces into half-inch chunks, lightly season with salt, mix together, and set aside. This meat can be stored in the refrigerator a few days in advance of making the gumbo. Strain the stock and cool it down to room temperature, then refrigerate or freeze it until you are ready to make the gumbo.
Recipe Notes

Other Creole | Cajun Recipes:

Beer Beignets
Beer-Braised Pork Belly with a Creole Seasoning
Bourbon Barley Pie Crust
Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Pecan Pie
Cajun IPA Remoulade Sauce
Cajun Spice Blend ground
Cajun Spice Blend
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Hurricane Cocktail
Pecan Praline with Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barleywine 200
Pecan Praline with Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barleywine
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Red Beans and Union Jack Rice
Tasso Beer-Brined Pig Head
Tasso Beer-Brined Pig Head
Tasso Beer-Brined Pig Head Gumbo
Tasso Beer-Brined Pig Head Gumbo
Tasso Cured Prawns

Executive Chef: Sean Z. Paxton

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