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Pork sources for charcuterie

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Santa brought me the Ruhlman/Polcyn Charcuterie book, so now I want to try my hand at bacon and guanciale (the curing part anyway, my husband is a smoking/BBQing guru so is looking forward to the smoking of the bacon)

Any good sources, preferably OC, for pork belly and pork jowls, or am I better off ordering mail order from Niman? My first thought was Asian markets?

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  1. Your first thought was a good thought. I have no OC Asian market experience, but I know there are 99 Ranch markets there as well as here in LAC, and the ones here have an excellent range of pork bits, snout to tail - literally! Some of the more esoteric items you'll see called for if you explore beyond the bacon and guanciale may be harder to find, such as caul fat for instance, but if you luck out and find a meat-counter guy with adequate English you could always ask.

    Happy hunting! My own efforts at that kind of thing have been limited by lack of prep space and the fact that neither of us can eat too much of that stuff anymore, but I do enjoy doing whatever and whenever I can. Very satisfying.

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    1. re: Will Owen

      Will Owen is right -- the Asian supermarkets are a good call, especially for pork belly. Large slabs of pork belly are available for very good prices, and I've seen caul fat as well. For the jowls, a good butcher who breaks down his own pork carcasses should be able to help. I don't know about OC butchers, but my butchers at Alexander's Meats in San Gabriel can pretty much provide anything, with advance notice. I've picked up some great bone-in shoulders for slow-roasting.