If you’re looking for an easy way to add flavor to your meals without having to go through all that work then this is it! Pork jowl is one of those dishes that will take just as much effort but be worth every second.
There are no words to describe how good pork jowl tastes so we won’t even try.
The best thing about pork jowl is its versatility because it can be used on top of salads or pasta dishes, grilled, roasted, or sauteed.
It also pairs well with spicy flavors like peppers, ginger, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, etc.
What Is Pork Jowl?
Pork jowl is made from the cheek meat of pigs.
This part of the pig is typically discarded due to its size and shape.
However, it has many unique qualities that make it perfect for cooking and eating.
The most common use for pork jowl is to make sandwiches because it contains both fat and muscle which makes it very juicy when cooked properly.
Many people enjoy this mouthwatering treat by simply taking a bite out of it and chewing slowly.
But if you want to do more than eat it alone, there are plenty of ways to turn this tasty cut into something special.
How to cook pork jowl
There are two main types of preparation methods for pork jowl depending on what you plan to serve it with.
For example, if you are going to grill it, it should be sliced thin enough to fit onto skewers.
If you are planning to pan fry it, you need to slice off any excess pieces of skin and trim away the bone.
- Skewer-able (or skewered) – Cut the jowl into 1/4 inch slices and place them on a flat surface. Then using a toothpick, pierce each piece several times to form a “skewering base.” You may also choose to brush the outside of the jowl with oil before placing it on the skewers.
- Cutting board – Remove any large bones or other parts of the jowl that aren’t needed and lay out the rest of the meat on a cutting board. Make sure there are no large chunks of fat running throughout the entire layer of meat. Using sharp kitchen scissors, carefully snip along the edges of the jowl until it resembles long strips.
- Pan frying – Slice the jowl into 1/8th inch thick slices and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat up some vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, drop in the slices of jowl and let cook for roughly 2 minutes per side. Carefully flip the slices over again and continue cooking until they reach desired doneness.
Other uses for pork jowl
You can find pork jowl at most grocery stores these days but it is usually sold already prepared for grilling or making sandwiches.
There are also specialty markets where you can buy whole pigs heads and get their cheeks ready to be turned into pork jowl.
But if you have access to fresh, raw pork jowl, you can prepare it yourself.
Here are a few recipes that show you how to cook up a batch of pork jowl.
What Are The Ingredients In A Pork Jowl Recipe?
Pork jowl is made from fatty pork shoulder meat and skin.
These two parts need to be trimmed off before they get cooked.
Then, everything else goes into the pan to start cooking until the fat renders out and the meat gets nice and crispy.
When making a pork jowl recipe there isn’t any set formula that needs to be followed.
You can play around with different spices, sauces, and seasonings until you come up with something tasty.
- 1-2 pounds (about 500 grams) of pork shoulder meat
- Seasoning, such as salt, pepper, chili powder, onion powder, paprika, sugar…whatever you want
- Onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers, potatoes, leeks, turnips, cabbage, mushrooms, parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, sage, peppercorn, coriander seeds, oregano, basil, marjoram, mint, dill, fennel seed, curry powder, lemon zest, orange zest, red wine vinegar, sherry, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, tamarind paste, maple syrup, honey, molasses, agave nectar, brown sugar, cornstarch, flour, breadcrumbs, oats, spices, herbs, eggs, milk, cream, butter, olive oil, vegetable stock, water… whatever you have on hand
- Lemon, lime juice, fresh tomatoes, raisins, cranberries, dried apricots, figs, pineapple, mangoes, apples, pears, prunes, dates, plums, grapes, oranges, bananas, cherries, pomegranates, grapeseed oil, vanilla extract, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom pods, star anise, mace, black pepper, white pepper, turmeric, paprika, mustard, horseradish, anchovies, capers, chutney, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, yogurt, sour cream, miso paste, tahini, rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice wine vinegar, dry vermouth, beer, rum, whiskey, tequila, vodka, gin, port, or cognac
- Butter, heavy whipping cream, whole milk, half & half, crème fraiche, mascarpone cheese, Greek yogurt, sour cream, ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, goat cheese, blue cheese, Parmesan cheese, kefir, cream cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, sour cream, yogurt cheese, crema Mexicana, crema francese, queso fresco, feta cheese, ricotta salata, mascarpone cheese, crumbled blue cheese, chopped olives, sunflower seeds, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, coconut flakes, flaxseed meal, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, almond butter, peanut butter, bacon bits, prosciutto, ham, pancetta, sausage, smoked salmon, pickled onions, capers, artichoke bottoms, anchovy fillets, truffles, caviar, truffle oil, truffle salt, truffle shavings, duck fat, goose fat, lardo, bone marrow, foie gras, chicken liver parmigiana, lobster tail, crabmeat, shrimp, scallops, squid ink, calamari rings, smoked trout, trout roe, salmon blinis, fried oysters, mussels, clams, clam strips, shrimp cocktail, crab legs, crawfish tails, raw oysters, shellfish crackers, popcorn, sweet potato chips, pretzels, tortilla chips, tortilla strips, french fries, kale chips, avocado, cucumber, tomato, eggplant, radishes, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, sorbet, ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, pie crust, puff pastry dough, phyllo dough, croissants, brioche, challah, baguettes, kaiser rolls, dinner rolls, pizza crust, focaccia, biscuits, biscotti, donuts, cake batter, cupcakes, muffin mix, waffles, pancakes, waffled pastries, brioche, brioches, galette, pain au levain, croissants, croquembouche, brioche, brioche, brioche, brioche, brioche, brioche, brioche, brioche, brioche, brioche, brioche, brioche… anything that sounds good!
How Do You Cook Pork Jowl?
Pork jowl takes longer than most other types of meat since it requires more time for it to become tender.
Here’s what you need to know before cooking pork jowl:
- Remove any excess fat from the skin using a sharp knife
- Cut off the head and trim the feet (remove the tendons)
- Trim any extra fat from the inside of the neck area
- Wash off any blood spots under the skin
- Place pork jowl in cold water until ready to use
- When preparing the pork jowl, make sure you cut out any bones
- After removing the bones, place pork jowl in hot oil over medium heat
- Once the pork jowl starts sizzling, reduce heat to low and cover with lid allowing the pork jowl to simmer for 1 hour
- In the last 30 minutes of cooking, turn the pork jowl halfway through for a nice sear
- You may want to increase the heat to high if you have a gas stove or oven
- Cook pork jowl uncovered for another 15-20 minutes after turning half way through
- Check the internal temperature by inserting a thermometer into the thickest part of the pork jowl
The above steps should give you enough information to get started making your own pork jowl at home.
What Are Some Popular Pork Jowl Recipes?
Pork jowl has been around since ancient times.
A lot of people love their traditional Italian-style porchetta which uses cured pork belly instead.
If you want a more modern version, there are plenty of Asian options too including Korean bulgogi style pork shoulder.
These two styles make great sandwiches and are perfect for parties.
Another option would be using smoked ham hock.
You could either smoke the whole ham hock yourself or buy ready made pre-smoked pieces from Amazon.
There are many other ways to use pork jowl besides these three examples – see below for ideas.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Eating Pork Jowl?
Pork jowl has many uses that make it a great ingredient for cooking, especially if you want something quick and tasty.
You can use it instead of bacon when making breakfast sandwiches or tacos.
It works well with chicken and fish too.
It contains healthy fats which makes it a heart-healthy food, full of protein, zinc, iron, calcium, fiber, and B vitamins.
So, not only does it taste great but it also helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle by keeping your body strong and fit.
Fatty acids found in pork jowl
- Omega 3 fatty acid (EPA)
- Omega 6 fatty acid (LA)
- Alpha linolenic acid (ALA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- Arachidonic acid (AA)
Healthy fats found in pork jowl
- Unsaturated fat – monounsaturated fat
- Polyunsaturated fat – omega-6 fatty acids
- Saturated fat – saturated fat
- Trans fat – trans fat
Other nutrients found in pork jowl
- Vitamin A
Are There Any Risks Associated With Eating Pork Jowl?
The best way to store pork jowl is to keep it chilled until ready to use.
Once cooked, refrigerate leftovers immediately.
Leftover meat should always be stored in the refrigerator for no more than three days.
When storing leftover pork jowl, make sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in airtight containers.
How Does Pork Jowl Compare To Other Pork Products?
Pork jowl has a lot in common with bacon which makes sense since both come from the same animal.
However, they have their very own unique characteristics.
For example, while pork jowl tends to be more fatty than regular pork belly, it isn’t quite as fatty as bacon.
And although pork jowl lacks fat, it still contains collagen which gives it a slightly chewy texture.
If you’ve ever had pork jowl before then you know what I mean by “chewiness”.
Another important difference between pork jowl and bacon is that pork jowl is cured whereas bacon is not.
Cured meats contain salt and nitrates which give them a distinct taste and prevent bacteria growth.
But if you don’t want to eat meat that requires curing, fear not because you can make your own homemade bacon at home using pork belly instead.
You could also buy ready-made pork jowl bacon online if you prefer.
Health Benefits of Pork Jowl
In addition to being low in calories and high in protein, pork jowl is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids, B vitamins, iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, copper, selenium, lysine, and glycine.
You may think that these health benefits would only apply to people who consume large quantities of pork jowl but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, the USDA recommends adults get around 10 percent of their daily caloric intake from red meat (including beef, lamb, veal, pork, chicken) per week.
So, whether you’re a fan of pork jowl or not, it’s definitely a healthy choice for anyone trying to shed unwanted pounds.
What Are Some Creative Ways To Use Pork Jowl In Recipes?
Here are some ideas on what you can do with the pork jowl.
You can grill it over coals until crispy and serve it alongside tacos, rice bowls, quesadillas, nachos, burritos, wraps, sandwiches, burgers, panini, or pizzas.
But if you really want to get crazy you could put it on pizza dough, wrap it around cheese sticks, stuff it into a tortilla, or cut it up and throw it on the grill.
For dessert, why not slice it and coat it with chocolate sauce before baking it on a cookie sheet at 350°F for 20 minutes? There are endless possibilities here!
Pork Jowl Tacos
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) vegetable oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) ground chili powder
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) salt
- 1 pound (454 g)
- 2 pounds (908 g)
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) black pepper
- 8 small corn tortillas
- Sliced avocado
- Lime wedges
- Chunky salsa
- Shredded lettuce
- Cotija cheese
- Fresh tomatoes
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Cooking spray
- In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and cook 5 minutes.
- Add minced garlic and stir 1 minute more. Stir in spices and seasonings and mix thoroughly.
- Stir in pork cubes and brown them lightly on both sides for 2 minutes each side.
- Transfer meat mixture to slow cooker and place 4 tortillas on bottom. Top with half of the meat filling followed by sliced avocado, lime wedges, chunky salsa, shredded lettuce, and sprinkle with Cotija cheese.
- Cover and bake 3 hours on low setting. Serve warm.
Pork Jowl Quesadillas
- 1 pound (453 g)
- 1 cup (250 mL) water
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon (0.25 mL) freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil
- 3 ounces (85 grams) cream cheese
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) sour cream
- 4 flour tortillas
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 cup (250 mL) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) sliced black olives
- Saltine crackers, crushed
- Put pork cubs in a bowl and pour water over them. Cover and let sit overnight. Drain off excess liquid.
- Heat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). In a cast iron skillet set over high heat, melt butter with oil until hot. Season pork with salt and pepper and sear until golden brown on both sides. Place in 13×9 inch glass baking dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake 45 minutes.
- When done remove from oven and discard any fat drippings. Mix together cream cheese and sour cream and spread evenly on one side of four flour tortillas. Layer pork cubes, tomatoes, green and red bell pepper, and cheese on top. Sprinkle with black olives.
- Place remaining two tortillas on top and press down firmly. Cook 15 minutes or until heated throughout. Remove from oven and cut into 6 pieces.
- Sprinkle with crushed Saltines and serve immediately.
Grilled Pork Jowl Sandwich
- 1 pound (454 g)
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) honey mustard
- 4 slices whole grain bread
- 2 cups (500 mL) arugula salad
- 2 tomato slices
- 1 ounce (28 grams) blue cheese crumbles
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 lemon wedge
- Mix mustard and honey mustard together in a shallow dish. Spread onto one piece of bread. Then layer arugula, tomato, and blue cheese on top.
- Spread mayo and mustard mixture on the other piece of bread. Cut sandwich in half and squeeze lemon over top. Repeat steps above.
What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make When Cooking Pork Jowl?
One of the most important things when making any food is to know what the right temperature should be.
When properly cooked, pork jowl has a nice amount of chewiness which makes it very satisfying.
However, if it’s overcooked there isn’t enough meat left for chewing.
This means you might end up wasting money, time, and energy.
The problem with over-cooking is that it affects everything else around it too.
If the meat starts getting tough, the vegetables start losing their texture, and the sauce gets watery.
There isn’t anything worse than paying attention to the clock only to see half an hour pass by before realizing you need to throw out the entire meal.
Another mistake people often make is not using enough salt.
Salt helps bring out the natural sweetness from the protein while adding depth to the taste.
So, don’t forget to season both sides of the pork jowl first.
Then cook until it reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit (or 60 C) on a digital thermometer.
When cooking pork jowl, remember that it needs to rest after being finished off.
If you don’t let it sit long enough, the juices will leak out leaving nothing behind but dry bones.
If you want to serve it immediately, pour the liquid into a bowl and discard the fat.
What Tips Do You Have For Cooking Pork Jowl?
Pork jowl is very similar to duck jowl but the main difference between them is where their meat comes from – while duck jowls come from ducks, pork jowls come from pigs.
That said, both types of jowl are fatty, flavorful cuts that require long slow cooking methods to become tender and juicy.
When preparing pork jowl, it’s important to remove any excess fat before searing the meat.
This ensures that the resulting jowl has less grease than if there were too many fats left behind.
You may want to use paper towels to wipe off most of the fat after removing the jowl from the pan to prevent more grease from being absorbed by the meat.
If you prefer, you could leave the skin on during preparation.
Either way works fine.
Another tip involves roasting the jowl first at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 Celsius) for 15 minutes per pound (454 grams).
Roasting helps to break down the collagen fibers which makes for better texture upon further cooking.
Lastly, don’t forget to season your pork jowl thoroughly with salt, pepper, and sugar.
These ingredients help to enhance the taste of the meat when cooked.
- 500 g Scottsdale Pork Jowl
- 3 sticks celery
- 1 garlic
- 2 brown onions
- 1 red capsicum
- 1 star anise
- 1/2 cup white wine
- Preheat the oven to 125°C fan-forced.
- Roughly chop the celery, garlic, onion, capsicum and star anise, and place in the base of a roasting tray.
- Add the white wine.
- Place the Scottsdale Pork jowl over the vegetable base and seal up with foil.
- Place the roasting tray in the oven and cook for 5 hours.
- Allow jowl to rest.
- To finish – sear the pork in a pan on high heat.