Today we look at one of the cuts from a pig that does not get normally eaten in the United States but does get eaten in Rome, both ancient Rome and modern Rome. Gianciale is a cut of meat taken from the jowl of a pig. Here is a picture:
This very fatty cut is then packed in pepper and herbs and cured. You cut it up and cook with it just like you were cooking with bacon or pancetta. It is an essential ingredient in the traditional Roman pasta dishes pasta alla carbonara and pasta all'amatriciana. Guanciale is just beautiful to cook with, it renders out this wonderful smelling liquid fat and makes whatever is cook in that fat delicious. So, go get yourself some fatty pork and cook with it! Always add some olive oil to the pan to help the guanciale cook and render out its fat better. And, the taste of olive oil and pork fat is magical! Here is another angle of the guanciale with the skin side up.
Cooking with different animal fats was common in the ancient world. You should cook with them as well because then you will be happy because all your cooking will taste so good! Enjoy!