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Whole Hog....What to do with jowls?

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    Whole Hog....What to do with jowls?

    So I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of our whole, pastured Berkshire pig…. Yes, we are blessed with talented livestock-farming neighbors and lots of chest freezer space, so we have Maxwell arriving in about a month. So, now begins the research process!

    I need to call the butcher on Friday to go through how I want it cut, and I’m deliberating on one area in particular…. Jowls.

    I have never cooked jowls before, but given the resemblance to pork belly I suspect it will love being smoked. Any recommendations? My other alternative is to leave them attached to the head, where they’ll end up as head cheese. They look deliciously fatty and marbly so I’d hate to waste them that way if I can avoid it. We’ll also be smoking the belly ourselves for our own luscious bacon, so happy for anyone’s favorite recipes!

    Super excited to get this lil fellah…. I’ll post some pictures if we have any good shots!

    Congrats on the good hog, I would suggest making guanciale (which is bacon from the cheeks). Some of the best bacon you'll make comes from the cheeks, but you have to like that style of bacon. If you like curing belly and cooking that kind of thick, "soft" bacon then you will love the cheeks. I just made some about 2 weeks ago. The pieces are smaller and the fat seems a slightly different texture to me, but they are great. Due to the small size they can curl up and even make a little bowl when you cook them so I suggest getting them really cold, slicing pretty thin, then using a press if you have one.


    • Dewesq55
      Dewesq55 commented
      Editing a comment
      The proper cured meat for "authentic" pasta carbonara.

      Hog jowl bacon of any form is excellent. I used to be able to get it either whole or sliced in my local Walmart but haven't seen it for a while.

    Smoke one up and show us the result!

    I think it will be amazing, I love, love, love a nice grilled salmon cheek, so fatty and delicious, I can't see a Berkshire cheek being anything other than unreal smoked on its own.


      Yeah smoke the the head and eat the meat...always the best at the pig roast....drinking beers and after dinner head munching haha 😊


      • AliCT
        AliCT commented
        Editing a comment
        oh we are going to be making head cheese with the head :-) I'm not doing the whole guy all at once, we're cutting him up into individual pig love parts, but I haven't had head cheese since I was in Southern Louisiana 15 years ago. mmmmmmmmmmm
        But I think I'm going to have those jowls removed and do something fun with them.

      Update! Chester the Pig was picked up on Friday. What an experience! First off some disappointments....apparently our farmer uses a processor that only skins, not shaves, so I lost all the skin. Super bummed, nothing like cracklins! It also made the production of head cheese from the head a rather gruesome endeavor. Sniff, the jowls were also mistakenly ground into ground pork (insert quivering bottom lip here) I haven't posted the before photo of the head because it looks seriously horror show, but I have one pic of it's little snout poking out of the pot. I could have done without the teeth....

      Pulled pork on Friday night: Best I have ever made.
      Pork Belly Momofuku style on Saturday: succulent and divine
      Ribs on Sunday: FABULOUS

      Keeping 10 pounds of belly uncured for other purposes, but another 14 pounds are curing for bacon as we speak. 20 cups of delicious pork stock resulted from the head cheese as well.

      My freezers are bursting at the seams here, and I haven't even begun rendering the 40 pounds of back and leaf fat I've received, but that will keep me in cooking lard for a VERY long time.

      Can't recommend this highly enough. Check out EatWild.com to find your local farmer, this is by far the cheapest and most responsible way to get a very high quality product at an affordable price. Chester was a very happy pig and you can taste his delicious pigginess in the final product! Worked out at $3.65 a pound.



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