I finally embarked on my hog jowl project yesterday. I have two jowls curing in salt, sugar, thyme and pepper for guanciale, I have two curing in maple, brown sugar and salt for bacon and I roasted one in the oven with salt, pepper, thyme and a little sugar.
The oven roasted jowl was sublime when it came out of the oven. It spent about 1.5 hours at 400 then I reduced the heat to 350 until it reached 185 degrees. The sugar was caramelized by the heat and fresh from the oven, the jowl was one of the tastiest things I have eaten in a long time. I fried up some thin slices for a sandwich for lunch today. Also quite good. It is quite fatty but a porkier flavor than bacon or pancetta.
As for the other four jowls, they have 5 more days to sit in their cure and then the guanciale will be hung up in my basement for three weeks and the jowl bacon will go in the smoker. I haven't decided on which wood I will use yet.
If people are interested, I will keep updating the project as it moves along. Unfortunately, my digital camera is broken otherwise there would be photos to accompany. Such is life.
Anyone else tried to make their own guanciale before? Or make Jowl bacon? Any suggestions as I move along?