Cured Unsmoked Italian Pork Cheek – The Perfect Appetizer!
The pork cheek is a type of meat that comes from the head of a pig. It’s a fairly tough cut, but it’s also very flavorful. Cured Unsmoked Italian Pork Cheek has a slightly Gamey taste to it, which some people might find off-putting at first. However, if you’re able to get over the initial taste difference, you’ll likely be surprised by how much you enjoy Cured Unsmoked Italian Pork Cheek once you’ve had your first bite!
There are many different ways to cook pork cheeks. They can be roasted in an oven or cooked on the stovetop over low heat. One particularly popular method for preparing pork cheeks is curing them with salt and smoking them slowly over wood chips. This produces tender and juicy results that are perfect as an appetizer or main course alike!
What is Guanciale Norcia?
Norcia is a small town located in the Umbria region of central Italy. The town is known for its pork products, particularly guanciale (or cured and smoked pig jowls). Specially cured Guanciale Norcia can be used in many different dishes, from pasta sauces to pizzas. It’s a delicious ingredient, and once you’ve tried it you’ll never want to go without it again!
Making your Guanciale Norcia may seem like a daunting task, but don’t worry – it’s quite simple! All you need is some pork jowls (you can usually find these at your local butcher), salt, black pepper, garlic powder, fresh rosemary leaves (optional), and cold-smoking wood chips. You’ll also need a smoker or smokehouse if you plan on cold smoking the meat yourself. If not, most supermarkets carry pre-smoked guanciale that will work just fine for most recipes.
How to make Guanciale Norcia?
First things first – score the skin of each pork cheek with diagonal cuts using a sharp knife. This will help the cure penetrate deep into the meat and produce better results overall. In a large bowl or container big enough to fit all of the cheeks comfortably, mix 2 tablespoons of salt with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Add black pepper and garlic powder to taste (I use about ½ teaspoon each).
If you’re using fresh rosemary leaves, add them in at this point too. Stir everything around until the ingredients are evenly combined. Add the pork cheeks to the mixture and make sure they’re well coated on all sides. Cover the container tightly and refrigerate for 3-5 days, flipping them over once a day.
Smoking and Final Preparation
After 3-5 days have passed, it’s time to smoke ’em! If you have your own smoker/smokehouse setup then follow these instructions: Fill up your smoker/smokehouse with charcoal briquettes and light them up until they reach a nice red glow; now add some cold smoking wood chips. Place wire racks on top of the coals before adding the guanciale – this will give them plenty of room to cook evenly without coming into direct contact with any heat source.
Smoke at 85 degrees Fahrenheit for 4 hours, making sure to flip every hour or so. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit; place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet and lay the cured unsmoked Italian pork cheek out in one even layer. Bake for 3-4 hours, flipping every hour or so until they’re nice and crispy.