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Jul 10, 2008 08:01 PM

When hog jowls fly!

What to do......what to do.......
If you had a pork cheek to play with what would you make? It's smoked and jowly and I keep rushing to the fridge to touch it or threaten the cats with it (make oink sounds and pretend to attack them with it. Don't freak out you'd do it too...) Wait- is a hog jowl the same as a pork cheek?
I'm up for pork brittle, or something Southern traditional. I've got some turnip greens and some new to me -crowder peas. Ideas?

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  1. Poor cats! Yes, pork jowls and pork cheeks are the same. I use them interchangeably with ham hocks in my Hoppin John, greens and peas. Sometimes I braise them and serve with grits. Maybe you can do them braised and serve with polenta.

    1. Pork jowl is used to make guanciale which if you've never had it is bacon's better, porkier cousin. I have also had fried pork jowl nugget at a local restaurant which were pretty damn tasty.

      5 Replies
      1. re: ESNY

        I googled guanciale- I suppose I *could* hang my jowl up for 3 weeks... but this one is already smoked.
        Still in the fridge. I only played with it once since I've been home. My friend the cheffy chef in Orlando got all excited when I called for help-he asked me how old it was. He sounded so deflated when I told him I didn't go to Percy's or Perry's or whatever that butcher shop is down there by him. He hung up when I asked him how to make pork jowl brittle. It's cool, I'll figure it out. I think I'll pull off the fat and skin then chop the meat, let it get crunchy in a hot pan (may need oil() and do the brittle part then mix the piggy in like I would the peanuts. I read some blog where the guy did something similar. We'll see.......
        Unless I crack open another bottle of wine, I'm willing to bet I'll chicken out and just make something normal- like pork and beans. Though the polenta sounds good. I'm worried braising would just make it rubbery- would I braise it skin, fat and all porker?

        1. re: Boccone Dolce

          If you're gonna use the braising liquid in the dish, you bet! When time to serve, slice the jowl and simply pick out the meat.

          The brittle sounds pretty good - I wouldn't hang up on you.

          1. re: porker

            Yep, @ what porker said re: braised jowls.

            Since you're not using bacon, maybe you can do the brittle if you fry the jowls up like you would do for cracklins and add it to the syrup/candy and let harden. Will you be using pecans?

          2. re: Boccone Dolce

            I didn't realize it was already smoked, i'm not sure how much different it is then guanciale then. Maybe just smoked and not cured?

            1. re: ESNY

              guanciale is salt cured, not smoked.

        2. I've used pigs cheek in soups, first braising them for a coupla hours until tender (and using the resulting liquid as stock) and chopping them up into the soup.

          I think a slow braise is key.

          I've seen, but not tried, European recipes such as boiled cheek and garbanzo beans as well as a braised cheek with tomato and fennel. Both looked tasty.

          1. Not really warm weather food, but...
            We make a minestra with something similar. Pot of water, throw in all/half of the cheek, chopped cabbage, dried cannellini beans, later add some potato chunks, onion, celery chopped (esp leaves), can add some zucchini near the end. Shred meat. Serve in a bowl overtop a thick slice of homemade bread. YUM!! Can you shrink wrap it, refrigerate it until t he fall/winter?

            1. i bought hog jowl because bacon was so expensive in the store i diced it fired it slightly and added to home made creamy potato soup along with onions and garlic sour cream bit of milk butter and chicken broth