Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Strolling by the meat case at the Slingerlands-Chops I spied the above jowl bacon. For people who don't speak bacon, this product is made from the jowl area as opposed to our usual side or belly bacon. I haven't done a good ol' bacon post in quite a while, so I thought I would brighten your Tuesday with some greasy goodness.
The jowl bacon was pretty affordable, I forget, but about 3 and change per pound. In appearance it is similar to normal bacons, maybe a bit fattier. Being from the jowl area it is sort of half moon shaped. I figured the only way to do the meat justice was to break out the old cast iron skillet.
The extra fat content in this stuff makes the cooking process a little delicate, if you agitate the bacon too much you are left with little scraps of meat as the fat melts. I would go low and slow with the stuff, or bake it which is actually my preferred way of achieving maximum bacon crisposity. Here we have some cooked jowl.
We have here a taste very similar to run of the mill smoked bacon. The jowl does have a sweeter, "porkier" flavor to the meat. It gives a lot of grease, which makes this stuff excellently suited for use as a "seasoning" bacon as opposed to an eat it by itself bacon. A bunch of the stuff in some bean/lentil/pea soup would be delicious. In this case, I made a sandwich.
As I said the jowl is very fatty so you are left with some definitively chewy bits. As I age I find myself less likely to reject something that is "chewy" or "fatty." I go ahead and chew the fat with relish. I have spoken on the issue before, but I find it interesting that there are cultural differences in the enjoyment of not only flavor, but texture. Western cuisine often turns up its nose at chewy/fatty meat whereas many Asian cuisines embrace it. Our loss.