Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I have read about faggots in several of my cookbooks and have been interested in making them for a very long time.  The only problem is all the recipes that I have looked at call for caul fat.  Caul fat is the fatty net like layer around the intestines.  For faggots the caul fat is used to wrap around the patties and to hold them together in a little bundle, it helps give the faggots shape and hold them together during the cooking process.  I can not find caul fat anywhere and the butchers in my area don't seem to be very knowledgeable or helpful in finding some.  So my dilemma has been trying to find a suitable replacement for the caul fat.  At first I thought why not just stuff the meat mixture into hog casings and make small sausages but that just didn't seem right.  Then I was going through the freezer and found a cured pork belly I had made and realized that if I could slice it thin enough and put a few pieces together I could wrap the meat mixture in cured pork belly and that would give me a thin layer of fat to hold it together.  So I got out my slicer and started slicing and got just the right thickness and sliced up my pork belly.  

The recipe I used called for 1 pound of pork liver and 11 ounces of fresh pork belly, but instead of using pork liver I used 8 ounces of venison liver and 8 ounces of venison heart and mixed that with the pork belly.  Lately I have been using a lot of offal and have been fortunate enough to have friends who are willing to harvest the livers, hearts, kidneys or what ever I am obsessing over at the time.  The venison heart and liver for this recipe came from a deer I had shot last year.  Venison liver is really a remarkable ingredient it has the most incredible flavor and yet is not overpowering like some liver can be.  If i could I would use venison liver in all recipes that call for liver I just don't have the supply I would need.

After mincing together the heart, liver, and pork belly with the onions and spices you wet your hand, form a small patty and then wrap them in the paper thin sheets of cured belly.  After they are wrap you place them in a baking dish with some beef stock and then cover the baking dish with tin foil.  Before you put the tin foil on you need to butter one side of the tin foil and have the buttered side down over the baking dish.  You bake them for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees then remove the foil turn up the heat to 400 and continue cooking the faggots for 10 more minutes.  I served my fagots with some mashed potatoes, green beans and a lovely onion and beer gravy.  The texture of the faggots reminded me blood sausage  and the flavor was delicious although next time I may add a little garlic to them.


8 oz venison heart
8 oz venison liver
11 oz fresh pork belly
2 onions roughly chopped
1 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
2 sage leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2/3 cup beef stock
caul fat or thin sheets of fat of some sort

In a food processor mix all ingredients except the stock, wet hands and form into patty's.  Wrap the patty's in thin sheets of fat or caul fat.  Place in a baking dish and add the stock cover with a buttered sheet of tin foil and bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove tin foil and increase temperature to 400 and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Beer and Onion gravy

1/4 cup of butter
3 onions thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon flour
8 oz beef stock
8 oz of your favorite beer
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter add the onions and the sugar and cook until onions are translucent add the flour and stir then add the liquids and bring to a boil turn down to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste.


  1. hey , pics are getting better . never heard of beer gravy. I assume the alcohol cooks of and you are left with the flavor of the beer. still think you should invest in a desk lamp for additional lighting. but iver all the pics are getting better. keep this up and you won't need me for the cookbook photo's . later...

  2. For caul fat - collect it off the next deer you shoot! If you hang it by it's hind legs when you field dress it it's really easy to work the caul off without dragging it in the dirt. As usual, beware the bile. One deer's with will wrap a lot of meat.

  3. Those faggots of yours do sound really good. My father used to make the faggots when I lived at home back in the 60s and 70s. He said it was a family tradition that the man in the family made the faggots. I think that was a bit exaggerated. Probably my mother didn't like the site of all the minced up liver! Originally from south Wales, his side of the family always had a regular supply of faggots.

    Unfortunately my father died quite young and he never passed the recipe on. A few years ago I persuaded my aunt (his sister) to divulge the family secret for making such good faggots. Leaving that to one side the reason for my comment was to say to you about caul. Back when my father used to make them it was easy to get from the butcher. When I mentioned this to my aunt she said not to worry about it as the faggot recipe would hold together without it. She was right and as caul does not affect the flavour I have made them without ever since.

    1. A faggot not wrapped in caul is a meatball.