Guanciale!!!

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indaswamp

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When I went to my butcher Sunday, I expected them to be breaking down pigs. I was disappointed. I had gone to buy pastured pork for the Peimonte salami I've been wanting to do, and with the Finocchiona finished drying it was time to make it. Well, they had fresh pork in the back....pigs were butchered 2 days prior so I bought what they had. When I got home, I realized I was short about 1.5 kilos of meat. I had looked at the shoulder roast in the meat case quickly and saw "7.5" and assumed that was pounds. That was the price per pound. Had to postpone making salami Sunday. Went back Monday morning bright and early for what I needed. They were breaking down pigs when I arrived at the butcher shop. I got the extra meat I needed and in talking to the employee, I learned that they had fresh pig heads on hand. AWESOME!!! I walked out of the butcher shop with 2 pig heads too. I had not planned on this, but it will work out. The Sopressata di Calabria will be finished by the time the guanciale is done curing in the fridge. I'm refilling the curing chamber fast as I pull product out playing catch up!! LOL!!

They lucky pig heads...
IMG_20220328_114233.jpg

The guanciale in ziplock bags to cure for 10 days...
IMG_20220330_214233.jpg

I got 6.87# of pork cheeks off those 2 heads. I trimmed out the jaw meat and that went in with the Ventricina Teramana. It would be rude of me to tell y'all what I paid for those heads....but I got a hell of a deal and they were super fresh!
 

Fueling Around

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Pig heads made up for the very high priced shoulder?
Skin on so you have for making boudin?

I remember my grandmother relishing a fresh pork head. Head cheese was a favorite treat for her. That woman was in her later 70's and still cooking.
 

indaswamp

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Pig heads made up for the very high priced shoulder?
Skin on so you have for making boudin?

I remember my grandmother relishing a fresh pork head. Head cheese was a favorite treat for her. That woman was in her later 70's and still cooking.
I knew walking in I would be paying a premium for the pork I wanted for the Piemonte Salami. It would have been more economical for me to just buy a whole rear leg, but I wanted specific cuts in a certain ratio for this salami. Shoulder, belly, loin, and jowl....with a little back fat. The mix of fats from the belly, jowl and back is a signature of this salami. I was prepared to just use belly and forgo the jowl from the head, but fortunate accident mis figuring the weights in my head forced me to go back on Monday...and they were butchering fresh pigs....so I got the heads and had a little more meat than I needed. Thus I had enough for the Ventricina Teramana.

I already have about 10# of skin on hand for making boudin. That is on the list in the near future....Got a lot of pork bones I need to make boudin stock with.
 

indaswamp

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So after transferring the Peimonte salami from the drying chamber to the maturing chamber after 7 days of intensive drying, it was time to pull the guanciale from curing in the refrigerator.
IMG_20220404_063447.jpg

I rinsed the meat off and brushed the seasonings off, then used my trussing needle to poke a hole and add a hanging twine. Here they are in the drying chamber to go through an intensive drying/thermal treatment for flavor development.
IMG_20220404_091528.jpg

I am following victor's post here:
https://tasteofartisan.com/guanciale/
 

indaswamp

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Wow! I love your posts!
Thanks bauchjw!
Never ever heard of Guanciale before... Very interesting and something new to learn... Thanks, inda!
Thanks pushok2018. Guanciale....cheek bacon....can smoke or not, most Italian styles are not, or if they are, it is a very light smoke from hanging close to the fire inside the home to dry. It is the ingredient needed for Carbonara and Amatriciana.
 

G8trwood

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Mar 18, 2022
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Excellent post. We used to smoke it like bacon back when it was cheap ;) mmmm sausage
 

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