At the end of the post about my first attempt at curing meat, I wrote:
I found two hog jowls in the Belm Research Kitchen Deep Storage Facility. Guess what’s next?
What was next was making guanciale, which is done by salt-curing and drying the meat from a hog’s jowls. It’s a simple process that requires little in the way of ingredients, but much in the way of time.
The recipe I used is from Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano cookbook, which in turn is the recipe he uses at his Babbo restaurant. I started with one large hog jowl, 1/2 cup each of sugar and kosher salt, 15 black peppercorns, and the leaves from four thyme sprigs.
I combined the dry ingredients in a small bowl.
I covered the jowl with all of the cure.
I transferred the jowl and cure to a covered container and let it sit in the fridge. After seven days, the meat had shrunk and was sitting in a brine of the salt and water that had been drawn out of the jowl. I dried it off the prepare for the next step.
I wrapped the jowl in a thin layer of cheesecloth. It’s not called for in the recipe, but I didn’t want any dust to collect on the meat while it dried. I tied some twine around the cheesecloth to hold it in place.
I hung the bundle of porky love in my basement to dry.
After three weeks, the jowl was firm and dry, with a slight give. I untied and unwrapped it, revealing the final product:
Now I had a pound of home-cured guanciale. What to do with it? That’s the subject of the next post.
Hog jowl: Stillman’s