Hog Maw may not make it on the top 10 gourmet foods list, but it is definitely a soul food specialty. And when cooked properly, this fat-free deliciousness is a real treat. If you like chitterlings, then you’ll love hog maw.
What is Hog Maw?
Before I explain, remember what natural sausage casings are. Yeah, they’re the small intestines. Maws are a little higher up, the stomach, to be precise. Think of large sausage casings stuffed with awesomeness.
Some cultures have a thing against eating organs. Not me! Waste not, want not, I say. The Germans got it right on this one; the only thing going to waste is the oink. Besides, hog maws are quintessential soul food.
- Pig Stomach: This ingredient gives the recipe its name and holds it all together. Clean it well!
- Potatoes: Starch combines with meat for a filling meal. You could replace them with yuca or true yams.
- Seasonings: Onion, celery, and parsley add substantial flavor to our hog maws. Sometimes I sneak some extra spices, whether curry or Creole seasoning, to ramp up the flavor factor.
- Sausage: Pork, Italian, and smoked sausage (Andouille is my fave) are the superstars of this show. They make a soul-satisfying meat and potatoes dish.
How to Make Hog Maw
- Wash the stomachs in cold water until completely clean. (Instructions follow.)
- Wash and dice the potatoes, onion, celery, and smoked sausage.
- Combine the crumbled fresh sausages, cubed potatoes, chopped onions, celery, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Then add the sliced smoked sausages and mix thoroughly.
- Use a toothpick or cooking twine to close the one open end of the pigs’ stomachs, leaving a large opening for stuffing. Sew up any tears.
- Stuff sausage mixture into the stomachs, pressing well with each addition; the stomach will stretch as you fill it up. Once stuffed, close the other end of the stomach using the same process. (Pig stomach might be longer than needed, feel free to cut it off where needed.)
- Place both stuffed stomachs in a roasting pan. Pour a little water into the pan. Cover with foil and bake for 2½-3 hours, basting about every 20 minutes with water or pan juices. Occasionally check the pan to make sure it still has some liquid. If not, add some.
- Remove the foil during the final 30 minutes and cook until the stomachs are golden brown.
- Remove stuffed stomachs from the roasting pan, take off the toothpick or twine, and place hog maws on a serving plate. Slice them into 1-inch thick slices or scoop the filling out.
How to Clean Hog Maw
This step is just as important for hog maws as it is for chitterlings. They are connected, after all. Two ingredients that do a good job are salt and cornstarch. I would have a bowl of each ready to use, so you don’t have to worry about getting them after your hands are messy.
Step 1: Remove hog maws from the package, put them in a bowl, and rinse them under cool running water. Remove debris, fat, and anything else that looks like it doesn’t belong. You can use a knife or kitchen scissors to cut off the fat.
Step 2: Rub salt all over the inside and outside of the stomachs. The inside lining will be slightly slimy, and the salt is abrasive enough to get rid of that. As you rub the salt, remove any fat or lining you may have missed in the first washing.
Step 3: Rinse thoroughly under clean running water.
Step 4: Rub the maws with cornstarch, especially the interior lining. I was surprised to find out that cornstarch is an excellent cleaner, and it absorbs the not-so-pleasant smell your hog maws may still have after cleaning them with salt.
Step 5: Rinse thoroughly in a bowl with clean water. Keep rinsing in clean water (scrubbing as needed) until the salt and cornstarch are completely rinsed off, and they look and smell clean.
Step 6: Thoroughly wash your hands!
You can parboil the clean hog maws for 5-10 minutes, let them cool, then store them in a freezer bag and freeze them for one or two months. Simply thaw them overnight in the fridge and proceed with the recipe.
Honestly, the most common way to prepare hog maws in soul food is to add them to chitlins. If you’d like to add them to your favorite chitlin recipe, cut them up into bite-sized pieces instead of leaving them whole.
You can freeze leftover hog maws for three months or keep them in the fridge for a couple of days.
This meal is complete with:
- Collard Greens
- Hoppin John
- Jiffy Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread
- Southern Green Beans and Potatoes