I first heard about guanciale on Chopped. It was a secret ingredient and for some reason I decided to look it up. Oh my goodness! Luscious pig jowl washed with wine and scented with black pepper and thyme. This was something I had to try.
The word guanciale comes from ‘guancia’, which means cheek in Italian. The jowl is the lower part of the cheek, the part that droops down, all fatty-like. Mmmmm… Supposedly the taste of the jowl is intensely porky, I would imagine because it gets a good workout from the pig chewing all day. I won’t know for another couple weeks though, when my guanciale is ready.
To make the guanciale I cobbled together several different recipes (see my reference list down below). My method relied on sensuality rather than strictness.