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Guanciale – Final Product

02.07.11

We put up 20 Irvings Farm Fresh pork jowls December 11, and it’s finally at a place I’d hope it would get – nearly 2 months later. Dense, with a light high-toned loveliness imparted by dry curing pork.

The verdict? Sliced thinly and fried is a bacon-like experience that is lovely indeed.  It fried up extremely fast [low moisture?], and my meat-hating-toddlers happily devoured their ‘spaghetti-and-bacon’. This particular variation [we did 4] was herbed [from my garden], and I think the herbs are a worthwhile addition. My conclusion simply supports my previous conclusion that jowls, and the rest of the pig head for that matter, hitting the local butcher shop bin is nothing short of sinful waste. It’s a shame. And one of those opportunities for budget minded locavores that I seek – you want cheap or in some cases even free local, ethically raised pork? It can be done.

My honesty-bone requires that I divulge that the crunchy jowl fat texture in its uncooked form is not my favorite. But that’s just me, and palates vary widely. The bottom line I’m finding is that pork is pork, whether from the head, belly, or leg when it comes to flavor. So long as there’s enough fat to bring flavors to the party, the whole hog is all good, in my opinion. Which brings me back to: if it’s tasty pork, why are we throwing it out? I think lack of awareness is the answer. Ask your local pork producer for pig head, and cheap, and you should be able to score some majorly cheap but tasty locavore eats.

11 Responses

  1. Thea & Chad says:

    If superman were made of bacon, and you ate superman…. can’t wait to get back to eat it!

  2. yyc says:

    Don’t eat it all before i get home!! I need to try this :)

  3. I’ll save you some – hope it lasts 2 months in the fridge!!

  4. Barry says:

    Is this smoked at all? Or is that not an option with this kind of preparation?

  5. Barry – one of the 4 variations was indeed smoked for a short time. I’m going to dry cure my next bacon batch – switch out instacure 1 for instacure 2, smoke as usual, and hang to store/dry age.

  6. Karlynn says:

    I loved the “spaghetti and bacon”, my own meat hating child would LOVE that concoction.Two of his favorite foods! Congrats on the best Seasonal/Local blogging award, I can’t think of anyone who deserves it in that category more than you, with all your hard work on those great videos this past fall!

  7. I have read this and remained speechless for a few days. I cannot wait to try a tidbit of it. Can you freeze it? It is all gone? Just the experience of you making it is phenomenal. I would like to see a “tweet this post” button on each post so I could tweet your posts! No one would believe the kinds of things you do, and do so well. And the number crunching is my favourite. I do that all of the time, too – particularly with my students. Hands down, homemade is ALWAYS cheaper than processed purchased store bought food… and you are going way past that.
    Brilliant, Kevin!
    :)
    Valerie

  8. Jen says:

    Yummy, I just made guanicale, pancetta, peameal bacon and regular bacon from our pig.

  9. Scott says:

    Kevin, it looks great. Guanciale is not very often consumed without first being cooked. That being said, you will see it from time to time. If you want to try it like that, be sure to slice it very thinly.

  10. Deb Krause says:

    *sigh* makes me wish i had thought ahead enough to ask that we get the jowls from our last pig order… there’s always next yr i guess… but i did have the fat saved and rendered lard for the first time!

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