How to Cook a Cattle Head
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.
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.
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!
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