Pork jowl may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of delectable recipes, but this underrated cut has plenty to offer. Bursting with rich flavor, the jowl has become increasingly popular among adventurous foodies and chefs alike. As this cut comes from the cheek of the pig, it boasts a perfect blend of tender meat and melt-in-your-mouth fat, making it ideal for a variety of cooking methods and dishes.
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If you haven’t tried pork jowl yet or are looking for new ways to incorporate it into your meals, you’re in for a treat. There are countless recipes you can experiment with to elevate your culinary repertoire, whether you’re in the mood for something sweet and savory or spicy and bold. Be prepared to wow your taste buds with an unforgettable gastronomic experience.
In this article, we will delve into some mouth-watering pork jowl recipes that are bound to impress even the most discerning palates. Keep reading to discover new techniques and flavor combinations that will open your eyes to the delicious world of pork jowl cooking.
Ingredients and Preparation
To make a mouth-watering pork jowl recipe, you need to start with quality ingredients. Begin by sourcing fresh pork jowl, also known as the cheek of the hog. This cut of pork is known for its tender and flavorful qualities. Ensure the pork jowl is properly cured and smoked, as this process imparts a unique, rich taste to the dish.
For the seasoning, gather the essentials: salt, pepper, and oil. You may also want to consider using jowl bacon, a variation of the traditional pork belly bacon made specifically from the pork jowl. This particular type of bacon adds a smoky flavor to the dish, while retaining the tenderness of the meat.
To enhance the taste, incorporate additional seasonings such as sugar, garlic, and thyme. These ingredients will help create a beautiful balance between sweet and savory flavors, enriching the overall profile of your dish.
When prepping the pork jowl, it’s essential to be gentle. Tender meats like this require delicate handling during the cooking and marinating process to retain their texture. Pat the meat dry, then season it with salt, pepper, and your choice of herbs. Arrange the pork jowl in a container or a zip-top bag, then let it rest in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to allow the flavors to combine.
Once you’re ready to cook, heat oil in a skillet or a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Carefully place the pork jowl in the pan, ensuring not to overcrowd it. Brown each side of the jowl evenly, maintaining a consistent heat to avoid overcooking the tender meat.
While cooking, feel free to experiment in accordance with your preferences. You can mix and match various seasonings and ingredients, creating a pork jowl recipe that is truly your own.
Keep in mind these tips and suggestions as you embark on the preparation of this delicious pork jowl dish. Your careful attention to detail and thoughtful ingredient selection will yield satisfying results, making your culinary creation one to remember.
Basic Cooking Methods
Pork jowls, also known as pork cheeks, are rich in flavor and have a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture when cooked properly. In this section, we will go through some basic cooking methods to help you create delicious pork jowl dishes.
Pan-searing on a skillet: Heat a non-stick skillet on medium heat and add a little oil. Once the oil is hot, place the pork jowls in the skillet and cook them for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. This method is perfect for achieving a crisp exterior while keeping the interior tender.
Braising: Place your pork jowls in a Dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed pot with enough liquid (such as stock, wine, or water) to cover the meat halfway. Simmer on low heat for 1-2 hours, or until the meat is easily pierced with a fork. This method of slow and gentle cooking helps to break down the connective tissue, resulting in an incredibly tender and flavorful dish.
Roasting: Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C). Season the pork jowls with your choice of herbs and spices, and place them on a roasting tray. Cook for approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C). This cooking technique is best suited for larger cuts of pork jowls and results in a tender, juicy meat with a flavorful crust.
Remember, the key to achieving the perfect pork jowl dish is to monitor the cooking temperature and time to ensure that the meat remains tender and does not dry out. When serving, don’t forget to let it rest for a few minutes before slicing to preserve its juiciness. Pair your pork jowls with your favorite side dishes and enjoy a hearty meal.
Oven Roasting and Baking
Oven roasting and baking are excellent methods for cooking pork jowl, as they ensure even heat distribution and the perfect balance of tender meat with crispy edges. To begin, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) to ensure ideal cooking conditions.
First, prepare a baking tray with aluminum foil or parchment paper. This will ensure an easy clean-up process and prevent the pork jowl from sticking to the tray. Place the pieces of pork jowl directly on the lined tray, avoiding overcrowding to allow good air circulation and even browning.
Before placing your tray in the preheated oven, make a note of the meat’s thickness. Thicker cuts may require a longer cook time. For thinner cuts, you may need to decrease the cooking time. As a general guideline, bake the pork jowl for about 25-30 minutes, turning the pieces halfway through. This will help to achieve a crispy and evenly browned result.
If you’re cooking previously cooked pork jowl, reheating is simple. Cover the pork jowl with a sheet of aluminum foil before placing it on a baking sheet. Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C) and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until you reach your desired temperature. This will prevent the meat from drying out and preserve its succulent taste.
To add some flavor to your oven-roasted pork jowl, consider incorporating herbs, spices, or a marinade. A simple combination of olive oil, garlic, and rosemary can create a savory dish. Remember to keep it simple and balanced, letting the pork jowl’s natural flavors shine.
With these straightforward steps and some practice, you’ll be able to enjoy perfectly oven-roasted and baked pork jowl any time you crave it.
Braising Pork Jowl
Braising is a fantastic method for cooking pork jowl as it results in tender, flavorful meat. To begin, get your ingredients ready: you will need one pork jowl, one onion, two carrots, two shallots, and chicken broth. Make sure you have a braising pan at hand as well.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes
First, chop the onion, carrots, and shallots. Next, heat your chosen oil in the braising pan, and sear the pork jowl on all sides until browned. This step will help lock in the flavors and create a savory crust on the meat. Once browned, remove the pork jowl from the pan and set it aside.
In the same braising pan, sauté the chopped onion, carrots, and shallots until they become soft and translucent. Deglaze the pan with a splash of chicken broth, making sure to scrape up any flavorful brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Now, return the pork jowl to the pan, and add enough chicken broth to cover about three-quarters of the meat. Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and let the pork jowl cook in the flavorful liquid for approximately two hours. Remember to check on it occasionally, turning the meat to make sure it cooks evenly.
After the cook time has elapsed, carefully remove the pork jowl from the braising pan. Once slightly cooled, you can slice the meat and serve it with your vegetables. The delicious, tender pork jowl will surely impress everyone at the table. Plus, the leftovers will be just as tasty when reheated. Enjoy your braised pork jowl in confidence, knowing you have mastered an expert culinary technique.
Southern Style and Soul Food
When you’re craving a taste of the South, nothing hits the spot quite like a Southern-style pork jowl dish. Full of flavor and steeped in culinary tradition, this dish is perfect for a hearty meal that showcases the best of soul food.
One popular way to serve up pork jowl is by pairing it with classic Southern sides, such as cornbread, collard greens, and black-eyed peas. To create a mouth-watering meal, begin by frying the hog jowl in a skillet until it’s crispy and golden brown. The richness of the pork jowl will complement the earthy flavors of your collard greens and black-eyed peas.
Collard greens can be prepared by sautéing them in the jowl drippings along with some garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes, which adds a wonderful depth of flavor. Make sure to cook them until they’re tender, ensuring the greens soak up all those delicious juices.
For your black-eyed peas, first rinse and drain them. Then, cook them in a flavorful mixture of chicken broth, onion, garlic, and diced hog jowl. Allow them to simmer for an hour or so, until they’re plump and tender. The smoky, salty taste of the jowl elevates the peas to a whole new level of deliciousness.
Don’t forget to serve your meal with warm, crumbly cornbread on the side. It’s perfect for mopping up any remaining juices on your plate and adds a touch of sweetness to balance out the savory elements of the dish.
By combining these beloved Southern staples with the rich, smoky flavor of pork jowl, you’ll create a soul food feast that’s sure to satisfy your cravings and impress your guests. So go ahead, dig in, and enjoy a true taste of Southern hospitality at your dinner table.
International Flavor Variations
In your exploration of pork jowl recipes, you can take your taste buds on a trip around the world. In this section, we will discuss a few international variations that highlight the versatility and flavor of this delicious cut of meat.
Starting in Italy, guanciale is a popular choice when it comes to utilizing pork jowl. This unsmoked Italian cured meat is made from the jowl, seasoned with black pepper, and typically aged for three months. You can use guanciale in traditional Italian dishes such as pasta carbonara or amatriciana, as it adds a rich, salty, and robust flavor.
Moving over to Chinese cuisine, pork jowls are often marinated in a blend of soy sauce and rice wine, then cooked until tender. The flavorful marinade adds depth to the dish, while the slow cooking process melts the fat, causing the meat to become incredibly succulent. You may encounter pork jowl in Chinese-style stews, stir-fries, or roasted dishes, often paired with vegetables or rice.
For a Thai-inspired take on pork jowl, embrace the umami flavors of fish sauce and oyster sauce. Combined with the heat from chilies and the freshness of cilantro leaves, these ingredients elevate your pork jowl recipe to new heights. Try grilling or pan-frying marinated jowl and serve with a side of jasmine rice or in a zesty salad for a deliciously light and satisfying meal.
To summarize, pork jowl recipes can effortlessly adopt flavors from various international cuisines. Italian guanciale, Chinese soy sauce and rice wine, and Thai-inspired fish sauce and oyster sauce can all lend unique tastes to your dishes. By experimenting with these variations, you can create an impressive range of pork jowl delicacies in your own kitchen.
Serving and Pairing Suggestions
When serving pork jowl as a main course, it pairs well with a variety of side dishes, like mashed potatoes or roasted Brussels sprouts, providing a balanced meal. To showcase the flavors of the pork jowl, consider incorporating it into a traditional Southern breakfast with grits or biscuits.
Experiment with different cuisines by incorporating the pork jowl into Asian dishes such as stir-fries or noodle bowls. Your choice of sauce and seasoning can elevate the flavor profile and introduce variations to the dish.
For large gatherings, consider creating a pork jowl-based course, serving the meat sliced or shredded, alongside a selection of sauces, garnishes, and accompaniments. This allows your guests to customize their servings according to their taste preferences.
As a versatile ingredient, pork jowl can be incorporated into various dishes across multiple courses. Just remember to adjust your seasonings and accompaniments based on the specific dish, keeping in mind the richness and flavor intensity of the pork jowl.
Cooking with Specific Appliances
When cooking pork jowl, using the right appliance can make all the difference. Here’s how to cook it using an air fryer, microwave, and cast iron skillet.
Air Fryer: This popular kitchen appliance is a great option for cooking pork jowl, as it evenly cooks the meat while keeping it tender on the inside.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C).
- Cut the pork jowl into 1/4-inch slices and season with your desired spices.
- Place the slices in a single layer in the air fryer basket, ensuring that they don’t overlap.
- Cook for 10-12 minutes, flipping the slices halfway through the cooking process.
Microwave: While this may not be the most common method, it’s possible to cook pork jowl in the microwave.
- Place the pork jowl in a microwave-safe dish with a lid.
- Add a few tablespoons of water to the dish, and then put the lid on.
- Cook on high for 3-5 minutes, checking on the meat every 30 seconds to avoid overcooking.
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C) before consuming.
Cast Iron Skillet: This classic method yields delicious, crispy pork jowl that pairs well with many different dishes.
- Preheat your cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Slice the pork jowl into 1/4-inch pieces and season with your choice of spices.
- Add a small amount of oil or butter to the skillet.
- Once heated, place the slices in the skillet, cooking for 4-5 minutes on each side.
Remember to use a thermometer to ensure the pork jowl reaches a safe internal temperature. Each of these methods offers a unique way to cook your pork jowl, so be adventurous in the kitchen and try them all!
Safe Storage and Reheating Tips
To ensure you keep your pork jowl fresh and safe to consume, follow these storage and reheating tips. When storing your seasoned pork jowl, use a sharp knife to trim any excess fat and then wrap the jowl tightly in plastic wrap. Properly wrapped pork jowl can be stored in an airtight container and placed in the refrigerator for up to three days.
For longer storage, consider freezing the pork jowl. Before freezing, season the jowl with ingredients like rosemary, ground pepper, black pepper, kosher salt, and smoked paprika. Place the seasoned jowl inside a freezer-safe airtight container or a vacuum-sealed bag and store it in the freezer for up to three months. To defrost, transfer the pork jowl to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight.
When you’re ready to reheat your cooked pork jowl, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) for a gentle, even reheating process. Use an oven-safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil to lock in moisture. Heat the pork jowl for about 15-20 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). If you prefer to add a crisp finish, broil the jowl in the oven at a higher temperature of 450°F (232°C) for a few minutes.
By following these storage and reheating tips, you’ll maintain the delicious flavors and textures of your pork jowl dishes while keeping them safe for consumption.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I prepare braised pork jowl?
To prepare braised pork jowl, first season the jowl with salt and pepper. Sear each side in a hot oven-proof pan with some vegetable oil. Remove the jowl, then sauté diced onions, carrots, and celery in the same pan. Add some garlic and tomato paste, and cook for another few minutes. Deglaze the pan with red wine and reduce by half. Add chicken stock, bring to a simmer, then return the pork jowl to the pan. Bake in a preheated 325°F oven for 2-3 hours, or until tender. Remove the jowl, strain the braising liquid, and simmer to your desired consistency. Serve the braised pork jowl with reduced sauce and enjoy.
What is a delicious pork jowl taco recipe?
For pork jowl tacos, thinly slice the jowl and marinate it in a mixture of lime juice, minced garlic, chopped cilantro, paprika, cumin, and salt. Let the jowl marinate for at least 30 minutes. Cook the slices on a hot grill or cast-iron skillet. Serve in warm corn tortillas, topped with red onion, cilantro, avocado, and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy your delicious pork jowl tacos.
Can you suggest a method for pan-frying pork jowl?
To pan-fry pork jowl, first dry the jowl with paper towels and cut it into thin strips. Heat a frying pan with vegetable oil over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the pork jowl strips and cook until they’re crispy, about 5-7 minutes per side. Remove the strips to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil. Enjoy your crispy pan-fried pork jowl with your favorite side dishes.
What is a popular Italian pork jowl dish?
A popular Italian pork jowl dish is “Spaghetti alla Gricia.” To make it, cook spaghetti according to the package instructions. While the pasta cooks, sauté thinly-sliced pork jowl (guanciale) in olive oil until crispy. Add minced garlic and crushed red pepper to the pan and cook until fragrant. Drain the spaghetti, reserving some pasta water. Toss the spaghetti in the pan with the pork jowl, along with grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Add the reserved pasta water as needed to create a creamy sauce. Enjoy your Spaghetti alla Gricia.
How can I slow cook pork jowl for maximum tenderness?
To slow cook pork jowl for maximum tenderness, season the jowl with salt and pepper. Place it in a slow cooker along with sliced onions, crushed garlic, and fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary. Add some chicken stock until the jowl is covered halfway. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the jowl is fork-tender. Carefully remove the jowl from the slow cooker, and serve with some of the cooking liquid.
What are some recipes featuring pork jowl and beans?
For a savory pork jowl and bean dish, first soak dried beans overnight in water. Drain and rinse the beans before adding them to a pot or Dutch oven. Season the pork jowl with salt and pepper, and sear it until browned. Remove the jowl, then sauté diced onion, carrot, and celery in the same pot. Add the beans, pork jowl, and enough chicken stock to cover. Season with bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper. Simmer the beans and pork jowl for several hours, or until the beans are tender, and the pork jowl is rich and flavorful.
4 Delicious Recipes to Make with Pork Jowl
- Chopping board
- Sharp knife
- Braising pan
- Large Zip-lock bag or airtight container
- Large pan or skillet
- Wooden spoon
- 2 sheets of parchment paper
- 2 rimmed baking sheets
- Baking tray
- Bread knife
- Butter knife
Thai Pork Jowls
- 2 lbs pork jowls
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 4 red bird’s eye chilis
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 shallot
- salt & pepper to taste
- Basil, cilantro, and scallions
Sweet, Savoury & Spicy Pork Jowl
- 3-4 pieces pork jowl
- 1/4 cup chinese wine
- 2-3 chili peppers
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 small carrot
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
- 4 tbsp fish or oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 cup shallots
- 5 tbsp sugar
Pork Jowl braised in a rich Tomato and White Wine Sauce
- 2.5 - 3 lbs pork jowl
- 1 cup canned chopped tomatoes
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion
- 1 tbsp rosemary
- 1 tbsp thyme
- Salt & pepper to taste
British Pork Jowl Bacon Sarnie
- 1-2 lbs cured pork jowl (ideally cut into thin slices)
- ground pepper
- bread buns
- t tsp butter or spread
- HP, brown sauce or ketchup
Thai Pork Jowls
- Dice your bird’s eye chili and your 3 garlic cloves into thin pieces. Dice your shallot.
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Once your oven is ready, place your pork jowls into a braising pan and add water until the pork is halfway submerged.
- Add your soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine, sugar, garlic, chili, 1 stick of cinnamon, and salt and pepper to the water. Bring the pan to the boil on the stove and reduce it to a simmer.
- Add a tight lid or foil to cover your pan and then transfer into the oven to cook for 2 hours. You know it’s ready when the meat looks tender.
- De-fat the mixture by skimming off the liquid fat. Alternatively, you could refrigerate it and wait for the fat to solidify on the top.
- Remove the meat from the liquid and break it into bite-size chunks and put them into a bowl.
- Once you’ve removed the fat from the liquid mixture, add it to a saucepan and cook until reduced. It should be rich and syrup-like and not too thin.
- Add your cooked pork back into the mixture on the stove and heat through. Adding in your diced shallots to fry as well.
- Serve up your Thai-inspired pork jowl with garnishes of basil, cilantro, or even scallions.
Sweet, Savoury & Spicy Pork Jowl
- Thinly chop your chili peppers and cilantro leaves and place them in a bowl. Then using the flat surface of your sharp knife, press the garlic cloves and then chop into fine pieces. Dice your shallot and carrot into thin slices.
- Rinse your pork jowls with cold running water and then pat dry with a paper towel. Then place it into your ziplock bag or airtight container.
- Add all of your wet ingredients and dry ingredient ingredients to your container of choice on top of the pork jowls. If you’re using a ziplock bag you’ll want to lightly squeeze the air out and zip the bag shut. You can shake the bag if you wish or you can massage the ingredients into the meat with your hands.
- If you’ll be using an airtight container, you can put a tight lid on and shake the container around so the ingredients all mix. Alternatively, you could use your hands to mash everything into the meat and then place your lid on top.
- Leave your meat to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next day, pour some olive oil into a large pan and place the pork jowls into the pan. You can pour all the mixture in or you can use tongs to place just the meat into the pan. Cook on medium heat for 5-10 minutes making sure the jowls are cooked through. If you’ve poured in all the sauce, you can leave it to simmer and reduce it down on low heat.
- You can add honey at this point or later on when you are serving. Let the sauce cook until it is sticky and thicker.
- Serve with white or brown rice and garnish with honey and pepper.
Pork Jowl braised in a rich Tomato and White Wine Sauce
- Cut and peel your 2 medium carrots into thin rounds. Dice your celery stalks into ½ inch pieces. Dice your onion into ¼ inch slices.
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Whilst it warms up, sprinkle your salt and pepper onto the pork cheeks, you can rub it into the meat if you want to.
- Add a couple of tablespoons into a skillet on medium heat and add the jowls, cook until the surface is brown on both sides. It should take 3-5 minutes. Remove from the skillet using tongs and place on the side in a bowl.
- Add your chopped vegetables to the skillet and saute. Then pour in your cup of chopped tomatoes, 2 cups of dry white wine, and your rosemary and thyme. Stirring thoroughly with a wooden spoon or tablespoon to ensure it’s all mixed.
- Add your cooked jowl and stir everything together, making sure your meat is evenly coated. Simmer in the skillet for a couple of minutes.
- Cover your skillet and put it in the oven for 1.5-2 hours until it is tender. You know when it’s done when the meat falls apart.
- Serve up with your sides and be generous with the sauce when plating up.
British Pork Jowl Bacon Sarnie
- If your pork jowl is not already cut, then cut thinly cut with a sharp knife into ¼ inch slices.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Arrange the bacon strips on the parchment paper, leaving 1 ½ inch between each strip. Cover the bacon with the other sheet of parchment paper to absorb excess oil from the meat whilst it cooks.
- After 15 minutes remove the tray from the oven and remove the parchment paper from the top of the bacon. Then place the baking tray back into the oven for a further 5 minutes, keeping an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
- You’ll know the bacon is done when it’s a dark honey color. Arrange your bacon pieces in your bread buns and top with your choice of sauce. The British normally use Heinz Ketchup or HP sauce on their classic bacon rolls.