The Checkout

How to Cook a Cattle Head

Annys Shin

Sorry, you'll have to indulge me for a second. On Friday, the USDA announced that a Kansas beef packer was recalling cattle heads because the tonsils had not been removed from all of them. The tonsils are removed to reduce the risk of mad cow. Despite the tonsil situation, there is an extremely low risk of any human illness resulting from this particular set of cattle heads because the cattle were all younger than 30 months old.

Anyhow, the mad cow part was not what got my attention. What grabbed me was the cattle head part! I figured it had to be a delicacy to someone. So I called up the president of the plant, Mike Grant who was kind enough to come to the phone for my frivolous question. He told me that his plant began selling cattle heads in 2003 in response to customer requests. When I asked him who buys them, he said that it's an item that is sold exclusively in Hispanic markets. When I asked how it's prepared, he was stumped. "Honestly, I'm Swedish so I don't know," he said.

Fair enough.

Through the magic of Google, I came up with one possible answer, a dish called barbacoa. It is originally Mexican. It can be made with other meats too, such as lamb and pork. It is traditionally consumed on Sunday mornings with corn tortillas. If you want to try it with the authentic cattle head, you can get a recipe and directions here.

Bon appetit!

Let us know how it turns out. And if you know of other possible dishes that use cattle head, please share. Inquiring minds want to know!

By Annys Shin |  April 8, 2008; 9:21 AM ET Annys Shin , Etc.
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Please don't ask us to indulge in your beef obsession anymore. Enough with the meat stories. There are so many other pressing consumer issues on which to report.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 8, 2008 9:42 AM

at least its not more parenting stuff

Posted by: Anonymous | April 8, 2008 10:44 AM

Yeah, you're using up valuable space on the web. Stop it, we need to save the tubes for mowr LOLCATZ.

Posted by: M Street | April 8, 2008 11:11 AM

The other commenters should go find something else to do.

I for one am fine with the idea of adding various points that Annys et al come across; this is a blog after all.

Posted by: Ollabelle | April 8, 2008 11:16 AM

I threw a company bbq quite a few years ago in alexandria and we had pulled pork. well a coworker asked the catering company if she could have the pork head. i just about fell over, she said the cheek meat was very good

Posted by: NALL92 | April 8, 2008 12:29 PM

Wow...although it shouldn't surprise me. I don't think there is any part of a cow that isn't consumable.

Posted by: N.Walter | April 10, 2008 12:52 AM

We eat barbacoa all the time. Usually on Sunday's, it's just tradition. The taste is just like a roast. I don't know too many places that make it from cow's head anymore, as they are rather expensive. Usually made from a regular pot roast meat now. But the head is the best. Try it, I bet you'll like it. All meat, very little gristle.

Posted by: Artful Dodger | April 11, 2008 11:11 AM

Hey, a little head on a sunday morning is the best way to end a weekend!

Posted by: Head lover | April 14, 2008 6:44 PM

Well, I am from the Rio Grande Valley and we down here still cook on ocassions like our grandparents cooked in their times. I dont know about anybody else but my grandparents are alive a they really enjoy the taste and the tradition of cooking a cow head underground. As a matter of fact I am cooking a cow head this Saturday night for Sunday morning. Believe me there is not better taste than smoked and tender meat.

Posted by: missiontoruleu | May 9, 2008 2:52 PM

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