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25 responses to “How to Make Guanciale”

  1. Rachel @ Dog Island Farm

    Thank you for posting this! I’ve got a hog’s head in my freezer and I was going to make headcheese with it but the butcher didn’t give us the trotters or several other key charcuterie pig parts from the pig we had them slaughter and butcher for us (BIGGEST pet peeve ever!). Now I know what to do with at least part of the head.

  2. Rachel @ Dog Island Farm

    Oh, one question – can this still be done without the skin? Another thing the butcher took for himself….

  3. Russell

    Guanciale is fantastic! Got one hanging in my kitchen right now. After the week in the cure (I do thyme, garlic, bay, black pepper, grains of paradise and crushed juniper berries) I just hang it in my basement until it’s nice and firm, about 2-3 weeks. Then it hangs out of the way off my hanging pot rack. Whenever I need any I just take a few slices off and hang it back up. Easy peasy.

    One thing I’d mention though is removing the glands. There are some marble sized olive-gray glands sometimes, cut them out if you can. Here’s a recap of a round I made a while back Got Armandino Batali’s Carbonara recipe in there too. You can buy guanciale at Salumi here in Seattle, and they gave me a handout with the recipe last time I did.

  4. Rachel Willen@FoodFix

    I want to do this! I have the fridge in the garage, sitting empty. Other attempts at smoking and curing, not so successful, but I’ll give it a try! To make a carbonara with it will be worth the effort! I’ll blog about it when I do!

  5. Joshua

    Great post, and something I will try one day.

    Two things keep popping into my head after reading this:
    1) An English-accented man keeps asking, “Pardon me, fine sir; where do you get your hog jowls?”;
    2) I keep chuckling over “makes one large jowl.” Pounds of port do tend to have that effect!

  6. Carolyn Warfield

    I am still trying to talk the husband into letting me convert our garage fridge into a curing station. He’s suspicious of potential odors (and probably would miss the beer space). Worried about one thing though: I have long periods of forgetfulness when school and work get hectic. If I miss ratcheting down the humidity for a week or so, will it murder the product? Not that I would *plan* to screw up, just basing on previous experience…

    Also, have you seen what Ken Albala’s up to? Scary:

  7. Mark Preston

    So, we are half way ‘home’. Where’s the recipe for grosso? And how did you get a marble tub made? What glue for sticking the marble slabs together that is food grade?

  8. Iso Rabins

    Whats the best way to get hair off a wild hog head? A blowtorch? Was thinking that might mess up the skin.

  9. Phil

    Thanks for posting this, Hank! I have my very first attempt at Guanciale still hanging in my spare refrigerator. I still have another month or so before I can cut the string and start slicing it. I found a nice Berkshire jowel at Lindy & Grundy here in Los Angeles back in April and put it on the cure as soon as I brought it home. From the looks of your directions, I think I did it all correctly, but only time will tell.

    Thanks again!

  10. Wilder Vermont

    We raised two Tamworth pigs this summer. Just hung my first jowl in the root cellar – which happens to be 56 degrees and 75% humidity. Now the hardest part – waiting 4 weeks!

  11. Ben

    I recently made a dozen or so of these beautiful cheeks. I was lucky enough to obtain these jowls from a local meat market.$2.29 a lb.I set up a Refrigerator in my garage. Hung for 30/60 days after curing for 2 weeks. 55-60 degrees 55- 65% humidity. I didn’t think I would be able to do this in Florida. I’m from upstate NY where I have made many of cured meats. Have been in Fla for about 4yrs. I decided to make a curing chamber which works fantastic.30 days they were awesome, 60 days even better.Gave one to a local 4 star Italian eatery. . They went nuts. Owner keeps calling me to make it for them. One of the best things I ever ate in my life. So easy to do. Good luck all.

  12. Anya

    now we just had our pigs done and the butcher cut the cheeks of for me…now there is a whollota meat on there too. I trimed it down a bit so its nice and tidy looking but How much of that do you leave on?

  13. michael O'Reilly

    I bought guanciale from Harris Ranch already cured. I soaked the jowls for 2 hours in ice water and scraped the curing from the meat. But it’s still salty….What to do?

  14. Cara

    So I was so excited to have cured and hung two skinless Tamworth jowls in a very cold upstairs bedroom. I cured them for 8 days or so. They’ve been hanging for three weeks, but I’m feeling a bit worried about them…. Firstly, I didn’t wash off the cure. Oops! Can I do that now and just rehang them? Also, they don’t seem to be drying much, but aren’t molding or anything either. Could that be because the room is too cold? Or because of the non-rinisng mistake? In some photos the final product looks very dry and in others it looks kind of wetter.

  15. John Ryby

    I’ve tried this in my basement and, after 3 weeks, I tried it. The meat is fairly dry on the outside and tastes quite good, but the meat is somewhat translucent raw and does not have the snow-white stiff texture guanciale should have. What am I doing wrong?

  16. Lisa

    Moving into spring it’s warmed up and I neglected my guanciale for too long, now it has white fuzzy spots growing on it. Hard to imagine because it was also over-salty, a real shame because otherwise the flavour was incredible. As unappetizing as it sounds, do you think it’s possible to cut it off and salvage it?

  17. John Dach

    Hank, another item long time used to remove hair from a slaughtered hog is a “bell scraper” (often available at butcher suppliers or farm supplies, easily found on line ( is one source). These are a circular piece of steel punched out of flat stock, then domed a bit, a handle is attached to the top/center of the dome. When the metal disc is domed, a sharp edge is facing down a bit and this catches the hairs as it is scraped across the skin. To get the hair to release, the killed, entire hog is normally scalded/submerged in hot water (around 140 145 deg F), but this could also be done with just the jowl (the exposed meat surfaces will be “cooked”/surface coagulated a bit but I shouldn’t think this would hurt anything) until when some hair is pulled and it just slips out of the skin/follicle. If the hair doesn’t pull easily, re dip until the hair “slips” (same thing to get the feathers off a chicken, hot water (here about 130 deg F) until the feathers “pull”). Once you start and see what happens, what slipping hair is like, you will know. Scrapping a hog also removes the surface skin cells and dirt so the resulting skin is beautiful looking (for scrapped hog skin anyway!!). I am going to try this with some locally raised hog jowls (where I used to live, N. CA, it would be with wild pig jowls). Thanks for the article/info!!

  18. Jerry Nelson

    Guanciale has a low smoke point, so if you fry it, start it is water as mentioned above, use low heat, and watch it carefully! Very easy to make, and one of the most flavorful things you can do!

  19. Susan


    Will the jowl drip fat while curing? I’m a newbie and trying to find a place to hang this while it cures. I am thinking the garage??? Maybe with some wire mesh around it to keep unwelcome visitors away??

    Please elaborate on the gland I need to remove.

  20. Doru Moscovici

    What is a large hog joel? i have two about 2lbs each. Look like a lot of salt for 2 lbs of meat.

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