Getting A Head: Will Noggins Be the Next Food Fad?

You can score a lamb head at any halal butcher.

Since the Age of Foodism began, we've been bombarded by freaky food fads, some of rather long duration. Pork belly has enjoyed an extended run, and pastel-frosted cupcakes never seem to decline in popularity, but we've also seen smaller crazes for bone marrow, sea urchin, sea-salt caramels, cod cheeks, frozen pops, small pizzas, ssams, crepes, and, of course, ramen. What's the next big fad? It could be animal heads.

At Fedora, the pig head is discreetly compressed into lozenges, fried, and served in a salad with gribiche sauce.

In the last few months at random points, I've found myself chowing down on various face parts and head preparations with increasing frequency. It started out with a cow cabeza ("head") taco from a truck at 89th and Roosevelt Avenue, and soon escalated to eating goat eyeballs at Taqueria Puebla in Staten Island.

But the action really heated up when two friends and I pulled apart a barbecued hog head at Fatty 'Cue in Williamsburg one Sunday evening -- and I realized with a start that I knew less about porcine anatomy than I thought. In fact, eating the head was by turns delicious, annoying, too fatty, and sometimes gross -- as when the point came for the brains to be scraped out of the inside of the skull, and the tongue to be extracted from the mouth. We also discovered that pigs have sinuses, too. Kachoo!

The entire goat head at Bite Club came attractively garnished with avocado slices.

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Haha, you wish. Have to go to St. Louis for that!


A year or so ago, Ssam Bar had a dish on the menu that took the breaded and fried lozenge approach to pig's head. It was good.

Have Midwest-style BBQ pig "snoots" shown up on any menus?


Having participated in a great many rural pig-slaughters, I can't be much surprised by entire pig heads served up for consumption. My experience, however, has involved the head being sliced off the body (usually before disembowelling), quartered and boiled. Removed from the water, it is then sawed up by the slaugherers and assistants, taking the meatier chunks and devouring them with fresh-grated horseradish, washed down by large quantities of beer and home-distilled fruit brandies. The remaining bits are put back into the water and boiled down still further for the head cheese.

Interestingly, in Lithuania smoked pigs' ears are a popular beer snack. Anyone offering this with a frothy Baltic Porter in NYC?

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