Guanciale

November 24, 2009

Guanciale

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.

Mise en place

I combined the dry ingredients in a small bowl.

The Cure

I covered the jowl with all of the cure.

Coated Jowl

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.

Cured Jowl

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.

Fit to be Tied

I hung the bundle of porky love in my basement to dry.

Hanging Jowl

After three weeks, the jowl was firm and dry, with a slight give. I untied and unwrapped it, revealing the final product:

Finished Product

Now I had a pound of home-cured guanciale. What to do with it? That’s the subject of the next post.

Sources

Hog jowl: Stillman’s

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