Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Guanciale! (Updated 8/13)

The word Guanciale just rolls off the tongue.  The first time I had this I was like "looks like bad fatty bacon".  Then I tasted the Porcine goodness that is Guanciale.  My world had changed forever.  If you are one of the few people that like bacon. You will want to cast a pork jowl in bronze, put it in front of your house and say this is why the pig was created... OK I may be a little over board, but this is how passionate I am about this piggy part.  If your look back to our Primal cuts you can see where the jowl is from.

If you think of the word pig, what are you thinking?  Something that eats a lot.  We think of being a pig, or pigging out as an obese thing right.  And guess what powers all of that eating.  The jowl, so not only is it a delicious cut of fatty meat, but extremely flavorful.  Granted it is a tough cut of meat, but is so suitable for curing it is the jewel in my mind of Charcuterie.  I happened to come across a couple of pork jowls when I was visiting.... I know I know every time I talk about pork I mention Mark Newman. No I do not have a man crush on this man.  He just so happens to have the best pork I have ever had.  So I got a couple jowls.
Look how robust and fatty these are!!!  I trimmed them of all of the glands. Then removed the skin.  That I am going to freeze to add to some amazing sausages.  Then I applied the following cure from Charcuterie: The craft of salting, smoking and curing.  This is the bible of Charcuterie.

1/2 cup/ 70 grams kosher salt(I use Morton's)
1/3 cup/ 70 grams sugar(superfine)
2 cloves/ 10 grams garlic, mashed with the flat side of a knife
15 black peppercorns, cracked with a pan or the flat side of a knife
1 large bunch of thyme
1 tsp pink salt #2 to prevent food borne illness and help the meat keep a rich color.
1. Rinse and pat the jowl dry.  trim from the jowl any stray tissue and any glands (fatty discs that you'll be able to discern because they're slightly off color from the fat and have a different texture).
2. Combine the dry cure ingredients in a bowl and toss.
3.Place jowl in a vacuum sealed bag and pour the dry cure over.  Rub all sides to ensure jowl is completely covered.  Refrigerate the jowl until it feels stiff all the way through rather than squishy.  For at least a week.  Redistribute the cure every other day.
4. Remove from the bag and rinse well under cold water to remove all residual cure. Then pat dry.
5. Poke hole in corner of jowl and slip a piece of butchers twine through.  Hang in cure chamber with temp of 57 degrees F, and 70-75%RH until completely stiff to the touch but not hard: it should have some give for a min of three weeks depending on the cure chamber.

This was in the fridge for a little over a week then hit the chamber.

Looks great!!
After two weeks. You can see the small shrinkage and the concentration of color.
After three weeks. Has lost 15% weight, I flipped the Guanciale so it would dry evenly.  This will be finished in about two weeks.  In the mean time I have cure two more pork jowls.  One I did very traditionally with a similar cure but with Juniper berries and garlic.

And the next is one I am really looking forward to.  More of a southern Italian, Calabrian Guanciale with smoked paprika, hot peppers, and garlic.

You can see the depth of flavor in this one.  I will post the complete recipes for the last two once they hit the cure chamber in about another four days.  As you can tell I am really into this by now.  If you would like to see more recipes or techniques let me know.  I have also recently joined Charcutapalooza

So Expect to see some posts related to this.  Monthly challenges with tasty recipes. Thanks again for checking in with me.  Do not forget to show your support by commenting or following my blog.

My two most recent Guanciale have come out of the cure chamber today.  Just in time, I made a butt load of my first attempt at Ferment salumi.  Go big or go home.  I did ten pounds of Nduja, some Salumi al Finocchietto, and some Peperone.  Pretty busy and needed the room.  Check out the finished product below.

Here you see the Calabrian style Guanciale, After curing for about a month I applied an additional coating of sweet calabrian peperoncino.  Smells amazing I cooked up a small bit.  It is very rich, mildly spicy on the finish but amazing.  This is going to be so good in some Carbonara.  The recipe is below
  • 907g Pork Jowl, Heritage breed of course, shout out to Newman Farms!!
  • 6g Hot Szeged Paprika
  • 6g Smoked Paprika
  • 15 Tellicherry peppercorns crushed
  • 4 Juniper berries Crushed
  • 2 Bay leafs crushed
  • 1tsp Pink salt #1
  • 10g garlic finely minced
  • 70g Kosher salt
  • 70g Superfine sugar
The other kind of Guanciale I made was more traditional with fresh herbs and such.

  • 909g Pork jowl
  • 70g kosher salt
  • 70g super fine sugar
  • 15ea Tellicherry peppercorns crushed
  • 1 bunch Thyme fresh
  • 2 sprigs Rosemary
  • 2 Bay leafs crushed
  • 4 juniper berries crushed
  • 2 cloves garlic minced.
  • 1 tsp pink salt #1 for color
For both of these all ingredients were rubbed onto the jowl's then cured for a minimum of one week.  Then hung to dry in the cure chamber for a month until firm and delicious.   These came out great.  I gave some of my first Guanciale to my friends over at Andrew Michael's Italian Kitchen and they cooked me an amazing Carbonara the other day with it.  You have to try it.  If you like bacon this may change you life.... And don't forget, Source Local and Love your Meat!!

1 comment:

  1. So when are you going to share some of this? I love guanciale.