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Aug 3, 2014 12:53 AM

ideas for fresh, uncured pork jowl

I picked some up at the farmer's market because it's a cut I've never tried before and I like to experiment. I've been perusing the internet, including some old chowhound threads about what to do with it. I love guanciale but since I have no experience with home-curing (and it would be difficult for me to do in my current housing) I think I'm picking from a few ideas that I've seen repeated in various places, but would like some clarification on:

1.) Slow-cooking without liquid in a slow cooker or crock pot and then shredding--apparently this yields a lot of rendered fat and good taco meat. I wonder, could one make carnitas this way? One thing I have noticed is that people who recommend this technique never mention seasoning the meat with anything. Can this be done with seasoning?

2.)Seasoning with various spices and roasting. This intrigues me but I'd like to know about how it turns out. Do you roast until it is fall apart tender (like the above technique?)or until you can slice it? How do you prefer to eat it?

3.) Braising with liquid, generally with Asian seasonings like soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine etc. This got me to wondering if pork jowl couldn't be substituted for the pork belly in a Vietnamese pork belly and egg stew like this one:

I have never cooked this dish but I've eaten it and it's delicious. I've heard many people say that pork jowl is a lot like pork belly in a lot of ways so I wonder if I couldn't use my jowl in a recipe like this...yum!

Has anybody tried any of these techniques before and have anything to say about them or advice to give? I'm open to some other suggestions too although I do want to stay away from curing. Input greatly appreciated!

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  1. Pork cheeks are wonderful. There is a good recipe in Babbo that is a simple braise. You might find that to be a good basic approach. Otherwise, I search for pork cheek recipes.

    Obviously curing guanciale is another option.

    1. I booked mark this last year when a friend gave me some pork jowls.

      I ended up frying them up like bacon. So so good!

      3 Replies
      1. re: foodieX2

        Hmmm, how did that turn out? Much of the appeal of bacon to me comes from the salty smokiness and this stuff is fresh and uncured. Did you just eat as is, or use in a dish?

        1. re: Lady_Tenar

          You can use them the same as Belly.

          1. re: Lady_Tenar

            It was wonderful!! It didn't mean that it tasted like bacon, just that I cooked it that way. I dosed it with a generous amount of salt and pepper, sliced it on the thick side and fried in cast iron until the fat rendered and it crisped up. My husband kept stealing slices but I chopped it up and used it on a mock chopped salad.

        2. These are quite good, but I don't know if you have an SV machine.

          1. We cook our fresh hog jowl the same way as fresh pork belly. One way is to brown the pork in a dutch oven,add onion, granny smith apples, fresh tomato and a quart of good german sauerkraut along with your favorite seasoning. Make sure the sauerkraut is in a jar, bagged sauerkraut has chemicals added as a preservative Cook on low for 2-3 hours turning occasionally until tender. slice the jowl and serve everything over boiled potatoes.