Home Cooking

Making guanciale


Home Cooking 13

Making guanciale

Bada Bing | Jun 28, 2013 01:11 PM

I've asked my butcher to supply two hog jowls so I can try my hand at making guanciale (an unsmoked, dry-cured thing--effectively, it's like pancetta made from jowl rather than belly).

I'll pick from one of the many recipes that have been discussed here and are also online (Batali, Ruhlman, etc.). One thing that isn't clear to me, though, is whether the jowl is to be cured whole, or in chunks.

The butcher told me that the jowls tend to be about 2 pounds each, and that each jowl is from half of the hog. A recipe like Batali's calls for, and I quote, "2 pounds hog jowls." Might he as well have said a "two pound hog jowl" (singular?), or does his use of the plural mean that the jowl is ever broken down further prior to curing, like into chunks?

My guess is that he means a whole jowl, but specified the weight because that variable has to correlate just so with the quantities of salt and sugar for curing. But I wanted to ask just to be sure.

Of course, also, if anyone has sage advice about making this, or things to avoid, I'll welcome it.

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