Archive for July, 2012


bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, …

Pig cheeks, salt, sugar, thyme, pepper, and bay

Evenly distributed spices

With surprisingly little effort, we’ve been able to make at home a simple cured pork product we’d been paying nearly thirty dollars a pound for. The most difficult part is procuring the pig jowls. It turns out, they are readily available on the internet.

Once received, cut away any nodes of discolored or harder meat from the flesh side. Rub the 4 pounds of jowls down very thoroughly with a spice mix of –


2 cups sugar

2 cups salt

1/4 cup chopped thyme

6 bay leaves, julienned

2 Tablespoons coarse ground black pepper

After four days turn and redistribute spices

For more meat, adjust the recipe as necessary. Assure the meat is well covered and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the back of the fridge for ten days. After four days, remove and stir and redistribute the spice mix. After ten days, remove from the spice, rinse lightly, and dry well. Pat with paper towels. Punch a hole through the narrow end of the jowl in order to run a string to hang. Hang the jowls for at least ten days. It is at this time that humidity control can be very advantageous. We used a damp dish towel in the empty fridge. I would assume a fridge with more contents would be slightly more humid. Ideally, the curing period should start off wet and end drier. Now, what to do with this stuff. Pasta carbonara and alla amatriciana are two recipes originally written for guanciale. We did a Fusilli guanciale i tot soi with hearty greens from the garden. Good Stuff!

Fusilli guanciale i tot soi

    Fusilli guanciale i tot soi

1/4 cup guanciale, chopped

1/8 cup chopped garlic

2 cups chopped hearty greens, tot soi, chard, broccoli rabe,…

1/4 cup chicken stock

1/2 pound fusilli

2 Tablespoons of butter

Slowly render the sliced guanciale in a little olive oil. When nearly crisp and tan, carefully drain off excess fat and add garlic. Cook for only a few seconds and then add the hearty greens. Reserve the fat for sauteeing vegetables and such. Add fusilli to boiling water and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, stir the greens, once all are wilting, add the stock. At this time, make sure the burner is on high. Cook until greens are tender and remove from heat. Add butter and stir until incorporated. Toss with pasta hot from the pot. DO NOT RINSE pasta before this step, EVER! Serve with the biggest wine you can find (not the biggest box!) Good Stuff!



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