Roots

Hogshead Cheese

Image of hogshead cheese on plate next to saltines
Image by Forrest Clonts

Make this hogshead cheese that’s Southern staple in most Southern country households. Belinda Smith-Sullivan shares this recipe made from what would traditionally be considered throw-away parts from hogs. Nothing goes to waste on the farm! Tradition has it that the only way to serve and eat this delicacy is with saltine crackers and hot sauce.

Photo by: James Smith

recipe heading-plus-icon

yields

Makes 2 (8×8-inch) pans

    ingredients
  • 5 pounds pig ears or pig feet
  • 5 pounds pork neckbones
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ⅛ cup black pepper
  • ¼ cup pickling spice
  • 2¼ cups apple cider vinegar, divided
  • Saltines,Hot sauce
steps
  1. Line two 8×8-inch pans with plastic wrap or foil; set aside. Was meats thoroughly and add to a large pot. Add the following 11 ingredients. Add 2 cups of vinegar and enough water to cover all ingredients. Cover pot and simmer over low heat until meat is tender, at least 4 hours. Allow to cool enough to handle by hand.
  2. Remove meat from cooking liquid and discard any bones and bay leaves, if still whole. Separate any unusable parts and reserve cooking liquid. Using clean hands, mash the meats into small pieces and divide into the prepared pans. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup vinegar.
  3. Skim any residue from top of cooking liquid, if necessary. Ladle liquid over meat until just covered. Let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight or 24 hours–long enough for meat mixture to gel. Un-mold onto a serving dish and slice. Serve with saltine crackers and hot sauce
  • Recipe by Belina Smith-Sullivan, Trenton, South Carolina

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