Monday, March 24, 2008


Guanciale is magic. Imagine bacon, only better; porkier, tastier, richer. Guanciale is the cured jowl of the pig. It is cured in similar fashion to pancetta, which is unsmoked cured pork belly, but the location on the animal gives it a very different taste and texture. Since the cheeks/jowls of the pig see a lot of exercise the hunk of pork derived from them is tougher than the belly, and has much more intramuscular fat instead of layering as is seen on the belly.

I used a very simple formula to not hide the quality of this pork which i got from Niman Ranch. Unfortunately this piece of meat is very difficult to find, even in ethnic butchers. You can sub a piece of pork belly and get good results as well.

IngredientQuantity(g)% of Meat+Fat
Pork jowls
Salt - Kosher
Black pepper crushed
Cure #23.20.25%
Thyme (Dry)10.08%

I mixed the cure well, trying to make certain the cure #2 was well dispersed in the sal

The cure mixture is rubbed onto the jowels, making sure to get into the "nooks and crannies".

The jowls are then put into a ziplock bag, and they'll be turned every few days.

Once cured, they'll be hung to dry for anywhere between 1 and 6 months.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Coppa V2 - Tasting notes

Last week I took the plain coppa that was made a few posts ago. I let coppa A, the plain one almost exactly 1 month, at about 52 deg. F and 72% RH. It lost about 35% of its weight through drying. The 2nd coppa, which was a fennel one stayed about 1 week longer in the chamber and lost about 2.3% more water, for a total of 37.3% weight loss.

You can see in these picture that for whatever reason the mold i sprayed on it did not fully cover the surface like it did for the bresaola.

On the right is the plain one sliced. It is beautiful. The flavor is fantastic, just perfectly salty, the spices come through (maybe still a tiny bit too much clove!), and it is wonderfully tender and soft without being mushy.

I would say this one is definitely the best coppa I've made. Really really good.

The fennel one that was just a touch drier and the flavor was also fantastic. The fennel was very light in the flavoring, and I would probably use a little more next time so it is a little more pronounced.

I don't think i could be more pleased with both of these coppe!