13 February, 2011

Farmland Smoked Pork Jowl

"Pork jowl," for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is a fatty cut of pig that runs along the side of the head to the neck of the animal.  Most of them are used for making sausage, but they are also available as whole cuts, either "as is" cut from the pork, or cured and smoked like bacon.

Jowl has a similar composition to traditional bacon: it's often sold with the "rind" on, and there are layers of fat and lean within the cut. But there are differences as well: jowls are a smaller cut than pig bellies so they are usually sold as whole cuts; they also tend to be a "bulkier" cut which resembles a roast rather than a flat, "brisket"-like shape.  And unlike bacon, with its familiar streaks of fat and lean, there are often small lines of cartilage running through the jowl. 

Jowl usually has a higher moisture content than traditional bacon, though, so when it's sliced and fried it should be done over low heat to allow some of the water to try out and evaporate.  I like to use a bacon press to weight it down and keep it from curling when I cook it.

Farmland's smoked pork jowl is typical of the product, and like most other Farmland products, it's of pretty high quality.  It can be chunked and cooked with beans, used to flavor greens, or just sliced and fried and eaten on sandwiches or for breakfast like bacon.  It's a little less salty than regular bacon as well without sacrificing any flavor.

Given a choice of the Cumberland Gap jowl bacon I reviewed previously and Farmland, I'd have to choose the Farmland if only for the ease of preparation.


Jim Weller said...

I sure wish my store carried squid heads and smoked jowls!

BTW I snagged the baby chicks pic and emailed it off to my g-kids to check out.

YK Jim

Alan said...

I think, in America, many people like to separate the animal from the meat. In other words, hamburgers are an entity unto themselves, and not part of an animal. They grow on trees, perhaps, and come in neat little packages. For marketing purposes, we need to remove "jowl" from the term and all it, perhaps, Jacon. Gotta get some seeds and grow me some Jacon.

MrsBug said...

Excellent info! I never knew the difference. I'll have to try some the next time my hubby is out of town. He's vegetarian and can't abide the smell of cooking bacon. I know, I know, crazy. :)

marc said...

Where did you find the "jowl"?

Chris and Amy said...

Where did you get this? We're in Manchester and have not been able to find this nearby!

Dave said...

Price Chopper nearly always carries Cumberland Gap brand jowl (both sliced and unsliced.)

I think I got that Farmland jowl at Arnold's Meats in East Longmeadow MA.