Preparation / Directions:
BAKED BEEF HEAD
From: The Only Texas Cookbook, Texas Monthly Press, 1981 By: Linda West Eckhardt
John Casey tells me the South Texas ranchers had some help from Mexicans when it came time to butcher. The Mexicans taught them how to make use of all the animal. They would take a steer or heifer head, skin it, salt and pepper it, wrap it in several sacks of wet burlap. Dig a deep hole. Line the hole with rocks made hot by a roaring camp fire. Put the head in. Cover it with a thin layer of dirt. Then pour on more hot rocks and dirt until the whole thing was covered. They would come back 18 or 20 hours later, dig the head up, unwind the burlap, pull out the tongue, hit the skull with an ax, and eat the brains, the tongue, everything. Casey says its a real treat.
This meat-in-a-hole method is an old trick. Sometimes it doesn't work out. They were having a huge barbecue in the Panhandle recently-one of those public celebrations where they killed 7 or 8 animals and meant to barbecue them all. Well, you can imagine how this story went. The Caterpillars were driven in to dig a huge pit. The barbecue man laid his fire, got it just right, put in all this meat, covered it up. Came back in 24 hours with 20,000 hungry people behind him, dug it up, and discovered the fire had gone out. He had lots of beans, lots of cole slaw, and lots of rotting meat in a hole. No wonder some cooks turn to drink