Guanciale: the unsmoked italian bacon | exploring flavorful cured meats

Guanciale is a specialty bacon product that originated in central Italy. It is made from the single piece of meat that lies between the throat and the cheek, or jowl, of the pig. Unlike traditional bacon, guanciale is not smoked. Instead, it is dry-cured with a mixture of salt, pepper, sugar, and spices for about a month. After the curing process, it is hung for another month to develop its unique flavors. The result is a flavorful and aromatic bacon that is typically used in small quantities due to its strong aroma.

is guanciale smoked - What is smoked pork cheek called

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Why is Guanciale Banned?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the importation of guanciale and other cured meats from Italy from the 1970s until 201The ban was imposed due to concerns about swine vesicular disease, a viral infection that affects pigs. During this period, artisanal producers in Canada and the United States, many of Italian descent, introduced domestically produced salumi to the market, and these remain available alongside imported goods.

What is Smoked Pork Cheek Called?

Pork jowl is a cut of pork from a pig's cheek. In America, when the jowl is cured and smoked, it is referred to as jowl bacon or hog jowl. This type of bacon is particularly popular in the Southern United States and is a staple of soul food cuisine. In Italy, the cured non-smoked variant of pork jowl is called guanciale.

Jowl bacon can be fried and eaten as a main course, similar to streaky bacon. It is also commonly used as a seasoning for beans, black-eyed peas, or cooked with leafy green vegetables such as collard greens or turnip greens in traditional Southern meals. Additionally, jowl meat may be chopped and used as a garnish or served in sandwich form. In pork liver sausages, like liverwurst and braunschweiger, pork jowl can be used as a binding ingredient.

A Southern U.S. tradition involves eating black-eyed peas and greens with pork jowls or fatback on New Year's Day to ensure prosperity throughout the new year. This tradition dates back hundreds of years and is believed to bring good luck and wealth.

Is Guanciale Raw or Cooked?

Guanciale is a cured meat and is not typically consumed raw. After the dry-curing process, it is ready to be used in various recipes. Guanciale is commonly used in classic Italian pasta dishes such as pasta alla carbonara and pasta all’amatriciana. When cooked, the fat in guanciale renders down, resulting in a rich and flavorful dish.

In conclusion,

Guanciale is a unique and flavorful bacon made from the jowl of a pig. Unlike traditional bacon, it is not smoked but rather dry-cured with a mixture of salt, pepper, sugar, and spices. The ban on importing guanciale and other cured meats from Italy has been lifted, allowing for the availability of this delicious ingredient in the United States. Whether used in pasta dishes or as a seasoning in Southern cuisine, guanciale adds a distinct and robust flavor to any dish.

If you want to know other articles similar to Guanciale: the unsmoked italian bacon | exploring flavorful cured meats you can visit the Cured meats category.

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