Hog maws are often referred to as “the poor man’s chitlins,” but they are actually delicious!
They are considered by many to be one of the most flavorful parts of the pig, and there are even recipes out there that call for them to flavor other foods.
While not all hogs have a whole maw (or at least not all hogs raised on farms), it is still possible to get a hold of this delicacy if you know where to look.
The best place to buy a hog maw would probably be from an online retailer like Amazon or eBay.
However, if you don’t want to spend money, there are plenty of resources available to help you learn more about this unique part of the pig.
What Is Hog Maw?
The term “hog maw” refers to the entire digestive tract of the pig from the esophagus down through the anus.
It includes everything inside the animal that helps digest food, including the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and colon.
While the word “maw” can also mean mouth, in this case we are referring specifically to the stomach portion of the digestive system, which is called the rumen because of its function of breaking down nutrients.
When pigs eat their feed, they must first chew it before passing it into the rumen.
In order for this process to work properly, a pig needs to have a full set of teeth so that he can grind up the food particles.
Once the food has been ground to pieces and mixed with saliva, it goes into the rumen.
Here, special bacteria break down these particles and convert them into usable nutrients such as fats and carbohydrates.
These nutrients are then absorbed into the bloodstream via the small intestine and passed along to the rest of the body, much like any other type of food.
If you were to take apart a piece of pork belly and examine what was left, you would see something very similar to what happens inside the rumen.
When you open up the belly of a pig, you will find a mass of dark brown material that resembles a giant ball of mud.
This substance is the pig’s stomach lining, and when cut open, it reveals the actual muscle tissue that makes up the wall of the stomach itself.
Inside the stomach is the pyloric sphincter, which controls the flow of food into the intestines.
There may also be some hair attached to the stomach lining, although this varies depending upon the breed of pig.
What Are The Ingredients In A Hog Maw Recipe?
The first step in making a good hog maw recipe is to find yourself some fresh pork belly.
You can usually find these items frozen at your local grocery store, although they might come with added preservatives.
If you cannot find any at your local grocer, there are always several websites that offer fresh cuts of meat.
Once you have your pork belly, you will need to remove the skin.
Pork fat is incredibly tasty when cooked low and slow, so we recommend using a high-heat cooking method such as frying until crispy.
After removing the skin, slice the pork into strips no wider than 1/4 inch thick.
Now just add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, nutmeg, red chili flakes, and black pepper to taste, and let sit overnight before proceeding.
Next up, you will take those slices and put them in a large pot along with water, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic, ginger, crushed red peppers, and sesame oil.
Bring everything to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pot with either a lid or aluminum foil.
Cook for four hours, turning once halfway through.
Remove the pork belly pieces after two hours, strain liquid, and return pork belly back to the pan.
Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.
How Do You Make Hog Maw?
A hog maw can be made into a variety of different dishes.
Some people use it simply as a casing for sausages, while others may add it to stews or soups.
It also makes a great addition to chili con carne, so you could always try making some homemade chili with this ingredient.
The process of preparing a hog maw starts with cleaning it.
You will need to remove any excess fat before proceeding further.
Next, soak the maw overnight in water mixed with salt and baking soda.
After soaking, rinse thoroughly to remove any dirt and debris that might remain.
Then dry off the maw completely.
Next up is cooking the maw.
If you haven’t had experience with smoking food before, you should start slow.
There is no need to go overboard when trying your hand at smoking meat.
Start by using a low heat and slowly increase over time until you reach desired temperature.
Once cooked through, allow the maw to cool down completely before moving onto the next step.
Once cooled, cut open the maw and separate the inner lining from the outer skin.
Remove any remaining bones, and discard those parts.
Cut the rest of the maw into bite-sized pieces, which you can either eat raw or fry later on.
If you plan to use it as a casing for sausages, take care to avoid getting too much material inside the casing.
In order to prevent clogged casings, roll the mixture around the filling tightly after each piece has been stuffed.
To finish off the stuffing, tie the ends together and hang the finished product in a smokehouse for several hours.
As mentioned earlier, you can also use a hog maw in chili.
Simply chop it up first, mix it with spices and seasonings, and let simmer for 20 minutes.
What Is The History Of Hog Maw?
The word “maw” comes from the Germanic root meaning “to gnash.”
It was originally used to describe something sharp, such as a shark’s tooth, so when we talk about a “sharp piece of meat,” we might also say we’re talking about a “shark’s tooth.”
In fact, a lot of people think that the term “chitterlings” refers to shark’s teeth, which can definitely be found in the same section of the intestine.
But while both terms refer to pieces of the gut, they are not interchangeable.
Chitterlings are the small intestines, whereas a hog maw is simply the stomach itself.
Because hogs are ruminants, their digestive system works very differently from those of non-ruminants.
Instead of having four basic food groups — carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and vitamins/minerals — ruminant animals need only three basic types of nutrients: protein, fat, and water.
So, a chunk of pork belly contains mostly pure protein, with little or no carbs.
This doesn’t mean that hog maws aren’t popular amongst chefs though.
In fact, the USDA reports that there were over 1 million pounds of hog maws eaten in 2013 alone, making it one of the top ten meats consumed in America.
And, according to Food Network Magazine, hog maw is one of the fastest growing markets for organics.
What Are Some Different Ways To Cook Hog Maw?
The first thing you should do when cooking up a batch of hogs maw is to remove the skin.
There are several methods to accomplish this task, but if you choose to use your hands, make sure to wash them thoroughly before handling any animal products.
- Remove the Skin
- Next, cut away any excess fat around the belly area with scissors or a knife.
- Be careful not to nick yourself or cause unnecessary pain.
- Cut off the entire head, including the ears.
- Once you have removed everything, rinse the inside of the belly using warm water and soap.
- If you have access to a sink, put the belly in the bowl and fill it with cold running water until it reaches just below the level of the meat.
- Make sure to change the water every few minutes so it doesn’t become too hot.
- After rinsing, pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
- To prepare the maw itself, take a sharp knife and start cutting along either side of the jaw bone.
- Once you reach the back end of the bone, simply slide the blade under it and separate the flesh from the bone.
- Cut the rest of the way down and peel back the skin from the muscle underneath.
- Once you have finished removing the skin, cut off the ends of the maw and discard.
- Put the maw into a pot on medium heat, cover it with water, and bring it to a boil.
- Let it simmer for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your maw.
- Drain the water and let the maw cool completely before peeling away the membrane covering the outside of the maw.
- Slice the maw open lengthwise and scrape out the contents.
- Discard the content.
- When done scraping, lay the maw flat on a chopping board and slice across the surface to form thin slices.
- Now that you have sliced the maw, toss it with salt and pepper.
- When your maw has cooled enough to handle, wrap each piece individually in plastic wrap.
- Store these wrapped pieces in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
What Are Some Common Dishes That Include Hog Maw?
There are several popular dishes that incorporate hog maw into their menu options.
One such dish is collard greens with pork belly and hog maw.
Another dish that incorporates the ingredient is fried chicken with bacon, onion, and egg yolk served over a bed of rice.
Yet another option is to stuff the meat inside ravioli and grill it until tender.
If you enjoy eating food infused with spices, try these spicy stuffed peppers with pork and hog maw.
The following are also good choices when looking for a variety of hog maw-based meals:
- Pork chops with apple cider vinegar, sage, and lemon juice
- Chicken wings with barbecue sauce, garlic, and hot pepper jelly
- Spaghetti squash with ground beef, tomato, and fresh basil
- Crispy fried oysters with horseradish cream sauce
- Bacon wrapped dates with maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg
- Roasted pumpkin seeds with cayenne, salt, and white sugar
What Are Some Tips For Making The Perfect Hog Maw Dish?
If you aren’t familiar with cooking a hog maw, the first thing you should do is read up on the different ways in which you can prepare it.
There are a couple of key things that make these little treats so special.
One of those being that they are extremely fatty.
If you haven’t been eating pork chops lately, try taking a bite into one and see what happens.
It won’t take long before you realize that something doesn’t feel quite right.
That feeling comes from the fact that fat has a tendency to burn very easily when exposed to heat, especially in moist conditions.
This means that you need to keep the meat covered while cooking.
You also need to make sure that you use enough water because the moisture content is high.
Finally, a good rule of thumb is to make sure that any spices you put inside of the maw stay inside of it.
Otherwise, they could end up burning off, leaving behind a bitter taste.
How Can You Add Your Own Personal Touch To A Hog Maw Recipe?
There are two ways in which you could prepare a hog maw.
One way involves cleaning both the inside and outside of the maw before cooking it, while another method calls for only washing the outside of the maw and then adding seasoning after it has been cooked.
Both methods work well, so feel free to experiment with different combinations until you find what works best for you.
Before you start any type of preparation process, make sure to wash the maw thoroughly under running water.
You should also remove the tough skin around the mouth area.
If you plan on using the maw raw, leave the skin on because it adds texture to the meat.
To begin preparing the maw, cut off the head and feet.
Then, carefully separate the rest of the body into three sections – front, middle, and rear.
Next, take a knife and scrape away the remaining fat and connective tissue from around the eyes, nose, and ears.
Finally, open up the cavity of the maw and rinse it again under running water.
If you choose to use the maw raw, now is the time to season it.
There are several options for doing this, including salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.
Whatever combination you decide to try, just remember that the goal here is to create a tasty treat rather than a spicy meal.
Once you have finished seasoning the maw, put it back together.
Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to keep everything fresh.
Now you can either freeze the maw for later use or store it in the refrigerator for immediate consumption.
What Are Some Things To Avoid When Making Hog Maw?
One thing that should always be avoided in any type of food preparation is cross-contamination.
If something has been contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, or anything else that could cause illness, it needs to be discarded immediately.
For example, if someone has broken into their fridge and left behind moldy fruit, it must never be eaten.
Another important item to consider when preparing a pork product is the temperature of its environment.
It’s important to keep meat cold until it reaches the point where it begins to spoil.
Meat should also be cooked to a safe internal temperature before eating so that no harmful bacteria can grow inside of it.
Finally, it’s important to remember that every food contains chemicals that may affect those who eat it.
In fact, certain ingredients can change the way our bodies react to others.
Therefore, it’s vital to research what goes into your food if you plan to consume it regularly.
Also, try to find out whether there are ways to naturally remove chemical additives from the food without affecting the taste.
What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make When Cooking Hog Maw?
Before we talk about the different ways in which you can prepare your own hog maw, let’s take a moment to discuss what makes this item so valuable to those who eat it.
Hog maws are usually sold with the skin still intact, meaning you should never remove the skin before using this method to clean your meal.
The main problem with removing the skin is that it has been known to contain harmful bacteria (most commonly E.
coli) that could easily contaminate your food after being exposed to meat products.
So while it may seem tempting to cut off the skin to save yourself time, remember that doing this will increase the risk of contamination.
If you do decide to go ahead and cut up the maw, try to use separate cutting boards for raw meats and vegetables.
Next, you need to understand why eating pork belly is better than just eating regular pork chops or bacon.
Pork belly contains a higher level of fat content compared to other cuts of pork, which means that it takes longer for the muscle fibers to break down during the digestion process.
As a result, pork belly provides more nutrients per serving because the body absorbs these proteins more slowly.
Finally, since it contains less lean protein, pork belly is also easier to digest for someone who suffers from lactose intolerance.
For those who suffer from this condition, eating pork belly instead of beef or chicken can provide relief for their digestive system.
- 1 Skillet
- 1 Pan
- 4 baking potatoes
- 1 pork stomach
- 1 ½ pounds bulk pork sausage
- 1 cabbage
- salt and pepper
- Set the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees C). Put the potatoes in a sizable skillet and cover them with water that has been mildly seasoned. Cook for 10 minutes or until fork-tender after bringing to a boil. Drain and allow cooling.
- With cold water, thoroughly wash the pork stomach. To fill the pork stomach, alternate stuffing it with potatoes, sausage, and cabbage and season it with salt and pepper. Try to create even layers while picturing how it would appear after being finished and sliced. Place in a small roasting pan after folding closed. Put any extra stuffing ingredients around the outside of the pan if you have any.
- Roast in the preheated oven, uncovered, for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the sausage is thoroughly cooked and the stomach is browned and crispy. Slice the finished product into 2 inch pieces, then serve it hot. The drippings can be used to make gravy, but it also tastes delicious on its own as a complete meal.