Po’ Man’s Bacon (Sliced Jowl)
Our “bacon” is a bit unusual—it’s not technically even bacon because it hasn’t been seasoned or smoked at all. It is technically called “Sliced Pork Belly,” as you’ll notice on the label, and the only difference in preparation is that you have to salt it yourself.
But folks have caught on, and most of our customers love our sliced pork belly “bacon.” So much so that we have trouble keeping it on hand. (A pig is not all bacon, after all.) In fact, our bacon has become so popular that we almost always run out of it before the next pork processing, which causes what we like to call a Bacon Famine. And that is bad!
We thought of a new idea, and it was to have another part of the pig, called the Jowl, sliced like bacon. So we asked our processor to slice the jowl into strips and pack it in 1 lb packages. We decided to call it “Poor Man’s Bacon,” because we can sell it at the same price as sausage, and though it’s not quite as pretty as Pork Belly, Jowl makes an excellent substitute for bacon. We cooked up a batch as soon as it arrived home, and here are the results.
What does sliced jowl look like?
Jowl is similar in composition to bacon—it has tender meat layered between white strips of fat that cook up nice and crispy on a skillet. But jowl is not as uniform as bacon. It has larger and fewer layers of fat and meat, unlike pork belly, which has thinner more numerous individual layers. Jowl also occasionally contains an artery pathway or sections of skin pigmentation unlike pork belly, so you might consider it “less pure.”
How does jowl taste in comparison to pork belly?
Perhaps to the charcuterie connoisseur, jowl and pork belly are polar opposites. But to us, they were pretty indistinguishable in taste. While there is certainly a different anatomy between the two, we’d say that any dish that calls for sliced pork belly would certainly work with sliced jowl.
Are you ready to try sliced jowl?
It was great. And we’re glad to have another baconey cut to add to our pork product list. Want to try it? Scroll down for the cooking method.
How to cook sliced jowl:
Heat a dry cast iron skillet over med-low/medium heat. Place the slices of jowl on the skillet and cook a few minutes per side until they have nearly reached desired doneness. Turn carefully with tongs, starting at the back and working your way to the front to avoid splattering your arm. Add sea salt as you cook or immediately after removing from the pan, while the slices are still shiny. Be sure to take the slices out of the skillet a bit earlier than expected, as they will keep cooking after you remove them from the pan.