In this article you will learn how to make a super tasty Guanciale. Guanciale consists exclusively of pork cheek. This type of bacon has its origin in Italy, more precisely in Latium.
Personally, I find it not so easy to get a good guanciale in Germany. Therefore, I did some research and made it myself. I am infinitely enthusiastic about the taste and therefore I would like to share this recipe with you.
The recipe is simple and does not require much effort. The preparation actively takes 15 -30 minutes. For the curing and drying phase you have to allow for about 4 weeks waiting time.
Guanciale is air-dried and tastes similar to Pancetta. But the taste is much stronger.
Due to the high fat content, the bacon is rarely eaten raw. The typical dishes with Guanciale are spaghetti à la Carbonara, Fave col Guanciale and Bucatini all’Amatriciane. For these dishes I also have recipes for you at the end.
Enough talk! Here you can find the complete recipe in the video or read it.
Have fun and good luck making it!
Guanciale – What do you need to make it?
Ingredients for your Guanciale
- Pork cheek (depending on how much you want to make, mine was about 360 g)
The amount you need is measured by the weight of the pork cheek.
- 2.75 % salt
- 0.25 % Cure #2
- Optional: thyme, rosemary, sage, juniper berries
Your pork cheek is 350g. Then you need:
- 6.25 g salt (350 / 100 * 2.75)
- 0,875 g Cure #2 (350 / 100 * 0.25)
For the drying process I used:
- Chili flakes (not too hot)
The equipment to make Guanciale
Space in the refrigerator
Your Guanciale must be kept in the refrigerator to dry for at least three weeks. For this purpose it must either be hung up or be put on a grid.
The cheesecloth is used to wrap your Guanciale in it. It holds the spices on the Guanciale and is permeable to air. Therefore perfectly suited for air drying.
The kitchen string is important so that you can lace up the Guanciale well. This prevents it from falling out of the kitchen towel.
If you want to grind your spices The spice mill grinds the spices while the mortar crushes or grinds the spices.
Make Guanciale – Step-By-Step Instructions
1. Weigh your pork cheek and write it down. The weight is used to calculate how much salt and cure you need in the next step.
2 Calculate your salt & cure quantity. It is 2.75 % salt and 0.25 % Cure #2.
3. Massage the salt & cure into the pork cheek. Make sure that it is covered on all sides.
Optional: You can now add additional spices and herbs. They will infuse during the curing process. I did not do it becauseI wanted a simplisitc version first but I will try it next time.
4. Place the pork cheek in a vacuum bag and vacuum it.
5. Put the pork cheek in the refrigerator for 5 days (if it is below 500 g). Turn your pork cheek once a day. This ensures that it is cured correctly.
Important: The thicker the meat, the longer it takes (e.g. 2 kg pork cheek takes about 2 weeks).
6. Once the curing process is finished you can now grind your spices very fine.
7. Massage the ground spices into the pork cheek.
8. Pack the pork cheek in a cheesecloth and tie it tightly with kitchen twine. Make sure that it is really tight.
9. Weigh the cheek and write it down again. With this weight you can control how much weight your Guanciale loses when it dries in the refrigerator. This way you will know exactly how long you need to dry it and when it is finished.
Hang the Guanciale in the refrigerator to dry for at least 3 weeks and up to 4 months (only if you can wait that long). It should lose between 20 and 25 % of the weight.
Alternative: A cooler place like a cellar with good air circulation is also possible.
11. After 3,5 weeks my pork cheek lost 20 % of its weight. I could not wait any longer and unpacked it. And I have to say, I did not regret it.
12. It has become nice and firm and the Guanciale was done.
13. I fried it up and tried it. A dance of joy was also included. Have fun doing it yourself!
How long is the shelf life of the Guanciale?
The Guanciale can be kept for about 2.5 months. But I can assure you that it will not survive that long, because it tastes too good for that!
The perfect dishes for your Guanciale – 3 extra Guanciale recipes
Spaghetti à la Carbonara from Gustini
Spaghetti à la Carbonara is a classic in Italian cuisine. The Guanciale goes perfectly with the dish here. You can find the recipe here.
Fave col Guanciale from cook around
Here is an Italian recipe that is easy to understand.
Bucatini all´Amatriciane from Ale Modo Mio
The third traditional dish with guanciale is bucatini all´Amatriciane.
It tastes delicious.