Homemade Headcheese

Contributor: Barry Pittman

Homemade headcheese is surprisingly easy to make, it’s delicious, and the best part is that you know exactly what’s in it. This recipe is for making it using a Ham Maker. If you don’t have one, there are instructions above for how to make it without any special equipment.

  • Author: Barry Pittman
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 90 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stir
  • Cuisine: American


Units Scale
  • 10.5 grams salt
  • 2.2 grams Morton’s Tender Quick Cure
  • Room temperature water (used in several steps)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 grams black or white pepper
  • 1/2 lb. cubed pork, in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3 Tbsp. Knox gelatin (that’s 3 packets)*
  • Boiling water


  1. Dissolve the salt and cure in 2 tablespoons of water.
  2. Put the garlic into a food processor or blender with 4 tablespoons of water. Puree. Add the pepper to the water-garlic mixture.
  3. Put the pork cubes and the ground pork into a large mixing bowl. Add the cure mixture and the garlic-water mixture. Mix well.
  4. Dissolve the gelatin in ¾ cup room temperature water. Then add ¾ cup boiling water. Stir well.
  5. Add the gelatin mixture to the meat mixture. Mix well.
  6. Put the meat mixture into the Ham Maker. Add the spring loaded lid such that it is pushing down tightly on the meat mixture.
  7. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
  8. Fill a large pot with enough water such that the Ham Maker will fit in it and the water will be higher than the meat level inside the Ham Maker.
  9. Bring the water to a gentle simmer. Put the thermometer into the lid of the Ham Maker, making sure that the stick of the thermometer is penetrating the meat. Put the Ham Maker into the simmering water.
  10. Keep the water at a gentle simmer until the thermometer in the meat registers 160F, 1.5-2 hours.
  11. Remove the Ham Maker from the pot of water and transfer it to the fridge. Allow it to cool completely all the way through. Leaving it for 12 hours is a good bet.
  12. Once fully chilled, run warm water all around the Ham Maker. Remove the lid. Invert onto a plate. If the headcheese doesn’t slide out, try more warm water.
  13. Slice and serve.


*If you use a different brand of gelatin, the instructions might be different. Consult your packet instructions for the correct amount of water and of boiling water.