Pork Jowl (the better bacon)

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1. WHAT IS IT? 

AKA: jowl bacon, guanciale (gwan-CHAH-leh)

Animal of origin: pig

History: These cured, smoked pork cheeks are popular in the Southern United States where they’re traditionally eaten with black-eyed peas and collard greens. In Italy, they rub the meat with salt, ground black pepper, sugar, and other spices, then let it sit for 3 days to produce Guanciale.

 

2. WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE?

Flavor Profile: Salty, fatty, and juicy

Why is it better than bacon? you might ask. For one, pork jowl is thicker than bacon—even compared to thick-cut. Bacon is thin with a satisfying salty crunch while pork jowl is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. When you take a bite, a rush of juicy flavor fills your mouth. Need I say more?

 

3. IS IT HEALTHY? 

…that’s debatable

Replaces: bacon — not that healthy, but heaven in moderation

 

4. WHERE CAN I FIND IT?

Where: the specialty meat section of your grocery store, your local butcher, or order it online at http://laquercia.us and http://igourmet.com

 

5. HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?

Store: keep in the fridge for up to a week

 

6. BUT HOW DO I EAT IT?

Better than Bacon Quiche 

 

Craving more? Try these recipes:

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara (from mariobatali.com)

Peppered Pork Jowl and Fried Green Tomato BLT with Spicy Mayo (from acadianatable.com)

 

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