Guanciale Project: Day 1


Today was day 1 of a pretty major charcuterie project – the dry curing of pork jowl. Not that jowl is tricky to cure, what makes this a big project is that we did not one jowl, not a pair of jowls, but 20. Yep. 20 pig jowls. Why? A friend wanted to do some R&D on having the cured product available for commercial use. Plus, it was essentially a waste product as sadly, most of the pig heads around here go in the bin at


8 Responses

  1. bc @ wobbly says:

    Kevin, that’s some good looking pork jowl! Here we make a paté out of the head.

  2. It looks similar to the belly… how is the taste? Can you do a confit of it like the belly? And why the dry cure? Is that your favourite way of eating it, or the preferred way, or the only way?

  3. And…. what does a gland look like?

  4. BC – paté makes sense. I’ve been giving some thought to alternatives to roasting them on butchering day, as when doing 2-3 pigs in a day, it’s a bit much to deal with at once.

    Valerie – similar. Taste is similar. It’s the texture that’s different – more of a crunchy texture. Confit would be quite doable, but the amount of fat is about 70% normally on a jowl, so would be even fattier than belly, and may not become as supple in texture as the belly. You can quick cure and smoke like bacon, but I’m not a big fan due to all the fat. Dry cured, the fat’s tasty – for a point of reference, think of salt cured fat on prosciutto: pleasant. There’s lots of ways to skin this cat – just happens to be the first choice for us at this point.

    Oh. Should have photo’d a gland. It looks like a green-brown shiny goober about the size of a marble or bigger. Not pleasant to look at.

  5. “It looks like a green-brown shiny goober about the size of a marble or bigger.”

    Best description of a gland ever.

    Can’t wait to see the resutls.

  6. Great information…. thank you!! I love this learning experience. Truly. There is something primordial about it and from the depths of my memories from “back and back”, I am compelled, and engaged and feel a standing ovation from those before me whenever I learn more.

  7. [...] was the day the plethora of guanciale was due to hang. They’d cured for a week, had released a couple tbsp maybe of fluid per, and [...]

  8. [...] put up 20 pork jowls December 11, and it’s finally at a place I’d hope it would get – nearly 2 months [...]

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