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Make Brawn (headcheese) yourself – complete instructions without gelatin

In this post I show you how you can make brawn (headcheese) yourself. It is super tasty and honestly not difficult to make.

There are, of course, quite a few variants of brawn. In this post, I’ll show you once how you can make a simple meat brawn itself. I use pig’s feet and pork shank, which I cook out and use no extra gelatin powder. These pieces have a lot of collagen. This makes the brawn firm on its own after it cools. 

But now enough chatter … 

Here you can find the complete brawn recipe as a video or to read through.

Have fun and good luck making it! I would be happy if you leave me a comment if you succeeded.

Making your own Brawn – What do you need?

Brawn-all ingredients

Ingredients for appox. 2.5 L Aspik 

  • 2,5 l water
  • 0.25 l vinegar
  • 1.25 kg pigs feet + 1.25 kg pork knuckles (if you want to cook only the pure aspic, then you can use only pigs feet, I use the knuckles as a filler for the meat aspic)

Important: I tend not to be the “sour type”. Therefore, you may need to season my recipe with a little more vinegar if Brawn needs to be sour for you.


  • 50 g salt
  • 100 g onion
  • 5.5 g black pepper
  • 1.25 g pimento seeds
  • 0.75 g juniper berries
  • 0.5 g bay leaves
  • 0.15 g cloves

Equipment for making Brawn

Casserole dish 

In order to make your brawn, you will need a mold in which the brawn can cool.

Make Brawn yourself- Step-By-Step Instructions

1. Wash the stilts and feet with cold water. It is important that you remove all impurities.


2. Then put them in a large enough pot with the salt and spices.


3. Fill the pot with water. The pot should be chosen so that the feet and stilts are completely covered by the water. 


4. Let the water now come to a boil. If something foamy or similar forms on the surface, then skim it off with a ladle.  Afterwards, you can let it simmer for 3 hours on low-medium heat with the lid closed.


5. After 3 hours your aspic is ready. The meat should also be cooked by now. Take it out of the pot and let it cool for further processing. 


6. Pass the cooked aspic through a sieve. This will filter out any bone fragments and the cooked spices. 

7. Now there are two possibilities: Either separate the fat using a fat separator or pull it off the surface later once the mixture has cooled. In addition, you should now season your aspic. You can add more vinegar or salt here if it’s too lukewarm for you.


8. When the stilts have cooled down a bit, you can separate the meat from the bone. 


9. Depending on how you prefer the pieces in your aspic, you can now cut the meat into pieces or, like me, use two forks to separate it into finer strains. 


10. Put the meat evenly into a form and add the still warm aspic. You can give free rein to your creativity here. Of course you can also add other ingredients. Onions, carrots or even cucumbers are excellent here.


11. Now your meat aspic must cool down completely. 

Brawn-cool down

12. Your Brawn is ready😄. Enjoy it. 


What is the shelf life of Brawn?

Your brawn will keep for about 3 – 4 days in the refrigerator. Unfortunately, you cannot freeze it. When thawing, the brawn would lose its binding and it would fall apart. 

An alternative is to cook the brawn in jars.


Pre-Cooked Sausages

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