This is an easy way to get into cured meats. The process itself is not hard, although it takes time and a cool place to hang the meat. Probably the hardest part about making guanciale is finding a good hog jowl. You really want jowls from a quality pig, like a Berkshire or Duroc. Farmer's markets often have good hog farmers selling their wares, so look them up. As for the curing salt No. 2, you can buy it online.
Course: Cured Meat
Keyword: bacon, charcuterie, pork
Author: Hank Shaw
1large hog jowl,skin on
Instacure No. 2(see above)
kosher salt(see above)
1tablespooncrushed black pepper
5or 6 bay leaves crushed
Mix all the cure ingredients together and pack the jowl with it. Massage the cure into the meat and fat. Put the jowl into a container (plastic, glass, ceramic, stainless steel) that just barely holds it, and toss in any remaining cure. Cover the container and put in the fridge for 4 to 7 days. Turn the jowl over once a day.
When the meat has stiffened up at the thickest part, usually 5 days or more, rinse off the cure (you can leave a little on, but get most off), and pat the jowl dry. Put on a rack in a drafty place for several hours.
Poke a hole through the skin on a corner of the jowl and tie string to it. Hang the jowl in a cool, moist place (50-55°F and at least 65 percent humidity, but see above for more curing instructions) for at least 3 weeks before eating. To store, cut into large chunks and vacuum seal or cover with plastic wrap and butcher paper before freezing. Guanciale will last, well-wrapped, in the fridge for several months.
Note that the prep time does not include curing or drying time.