So, if you remember, back in December when Justin unwrapped his Christmas present of a pig head, and we made porchetta, we cut off one of the cheeks to make guanciale. If you're not familiar with guanciale, it's basically like bacon, but instead of being made from the pig's belly, it's made from the cheek. It's quite easy to make too.
Once you have your cheek, you want to make sure that all surfaces are as smooth as possible. Since it's going to cure, and be exposed to air, you want to minimize the amount of nooks and crannies where the bad bacteria/mold can grow. So if you're cutting the cheek off the face yourself, make as smooth of cuts as possible. Then rub 'er down with your salt and spices. We used a combo of Kosher salt, black peppercorns, juniper berries, star anise, red pepper flakes, and coriander. Pretty much the same mixture we used for the porchetta. Once it was rubbed down, we put it in a ziploc bag and stored it in the fridge for about 2 weeks. You really only want to cure it for about a week, otherwise it'll turn out a tad salty, as ours did (womp, womp!)
|after a week of curing|
Now, go get yourself a pig head and start curing!