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guanciale
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4.86 from 7 votes

Guanciale, or Jowl Bacon

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. 
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Cured Meat
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: bacon, charcuterie, pork
Servings: 1 jowl
Author: Hank Shaw

Ingredients

  • 1 large hog jowl, skin on
  • Instacure No. 2 (see above)
  • kosher salt (see above)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon crushed black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 5 or 6 bay leaves crushed

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Note that the prep time does not include curing or drying time.