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Fresh Pork jowl/cheek


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I decided to make a few things, one is a pork cheek chili, that is going in my slow cooker, and im marinating cheeks in mirin, soy, garlic, ginger, honey, sriracha, lime juice, and then tomorrow will braise this and maybe finish in the oven or broiler to crisp it up a bit.  I also reserved a couple cheeks for Guanciale, which is now curing.  I will report back soon, maybe with photos.

The cheek chili was ok, but the marinaded and braised cheeks were out of this world, utterly amazing. Trying to figure out how to put them on the menu, a buddy serves cheek tacos, wow would that be good.

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  • 5 weeks later...
I decided to make a few things, one is a pork cheek chili, that is going in my slow cooker, and im marinating cheeks in mirin, soy, garlic, ginger, honey, sriracha, lime juice, and then tomorrow will braise this and maybe finish in the oven or broiler to crisp it up a bit.  I also reserved a couple cheeks for Guanciale, which is now curing.  I will report back soon, maybe with photos.

The cheek chili was ok, but the marinaded and braised cheeks were out of this world, utterly amazing. Trying to figure out how to put them on the menu, a buddy serves cheek tacos, wow would that be good.

The best thing i found to do with this meat was to shred it and put it in a chinese style steam bun, even better than the tacos with cabbage!

Now i also got jowls and will play with them this weekend. I am starting to wonder if I am a bad jew?

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Well, they are a very tough cut that need a lot of cooking, so slow and low is your best bet. A braise or a stew, or a slow roast.

I'm not sure if guanciale (sp?) is cheek. I mean, I know it is "jowl" but I don't know if jowl and cheek are the same or not. But guanciale is fantastic.

I am having a little trouble with the difference between cheek and jowl but, based on this chart, it appears that the jowl is the cut that runs from below the cheek, under the chin and back up the other side a bit.

Guanciale is jowl that has been cured.

I am no cheek expert but, in my experience, cheeks tend to be less fatty and more meaty than jowls, and the fat tends to be mixed a little more finely into the meat. But this is a relative thing; cheeks ain't lean. Once, in Paris, I was served a pork cheek that appeared to have been braised or slow-roasted and then roasted crisp on the outside. There was a spectacular crunch and then the whole thing melted ino my mouth. I'm going to attempt something like this next time I get near either a jowl or a cheek.

I happened to be at a charity event where a butcher was breaking down an Eco-Friendly piglet and I gently calmed his butchering long enough to get a proper definition of a jowl. Basically, it's the side of the pig's face (including the cheek, but when I stumble across "cheeks" it seems they've edited out the fattiest parts and focused on the main muscle) down across the neck to the edge of the shoulder, where the butt begins. Imagine slicing yourself from cheekbone to shoulder, then imagine you're a pig, and that's it.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I went in and talked to my local butcher [A&J's in Seattle]. He defined the cheek as that and the jowl as shown in the chart above.

His definition basically said the cheek is this small piece that moves/pulls the jaw bone up and the jowl as the big muscle from the shoulder to the jaw bone below.

The cheek is to be fast braised and the jowl is to his thinking for gaunciale.

I have 3# of cheeks coming. Any more suggestions?

Robert

Seattle

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Would pork jowls be a candidate for sous vide cooking? Or is the braising method better? Anyone tried both methods?

Pork belly was hard enough to find, and I'm quite certain I never seen things like jowls, or a pork neck, in any grocery store.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I'm going with confit on this one. You can then turn them into pork cheek rillettes. Delicious

Please elaborate. In my experience confit and rillettes are rather different products in that the former is cooked entirely in fat, after curing, while the latter is cooked only in the fat ingherent in the meat and a good slug of wine. Either approach sounds tasty, but I'm curious what you propose.

I was thinking of stuffing some raviolis with the pork cheek now in the freezer; rilletes might make an excellent start.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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  • 2 years later...

Hey guys, first post here. I've always been interested in food. In the last year or so, I've started being a bit more active in learning and experimenting in the kitchen.

anyways, first quick question.

What's the difference between pork jowl and pork cheek? I've tried google but no luck there.

Anyways, in case you wonder what project this is for, I'm trying to replicate Santouka's ramen.

Thanks!

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Cheek is probably the mandibular muscle that closes the jaw. bite hard down and feel the sides of you face = mandibular muscle.

jowl is probably the platisma muscle. holding your mouth closed try to open it the platisma muscles become prominent.

the jowl probably is much more fatty think: a jowly pig has a lot of fat in that area. the platisma muscle are lots of thin strands as you can feel on your self: plenty area to deposit fat inbetween the thin strands

I have yet to locate locally either, pig or beef. but im on the game : locally grass fed ( +/- ) galloways are sold at their farm stand. they do not butcher their own beef. they may save some for me. its a question of $$/lb.

there used to be a large ethnic market in Boston really large like a small safeway, they had the best exotic meats anywhere. unfortunately that was before my SV days. but I used to get really good young goat there and in a low and slow BBQ with that.

cheeks and other things like that probably routinely go into "hot dogs" along with the lips and snouts!

Edited by rotuts (log)
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SV Pig cheeks are wonderful, got 1.5kg of them from Waitrose the other day, portioned up into 6's, cover with some mustard, herbs and then 48hrs at 60C. Now a pile of yummyness in my -1C drawer to eat over the next month.

Edited by ermintrude (log)
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Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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  • 2 years later...

I scored a fresh pork jowel from my local butcher today. I have scored and punctured the skin thoroughly. I pored boiling water over the skin, salted it and brushed with vodka. For the meat side I made a marinade paste rub with salt, five spice powder, sugar, pepper, hoisin sauce, garlic and miso. It is drying in the fridge over night.

I want to render a lot of the fat and have a crispy skin. So I am thinking a low and slow cook to render the fat and slow cook the tough meat. 250 f degrees for 3 hours then crank the oven up to 450 for 45 min and finish off under the broiler.

Any thoughts on this, thanks

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Not what you're looking for this time, but guanciale is a wonderful thing to do next time you find a pork cheek or two.

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

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