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Guanciale is an unsmoked bacon made from the meat from the jowls (cheeks) of a pig.

Some cuts and pieces of Guanciale are very lean, taking in a good deal of the muscle strips in the cheek and jaw. Others will be fattier than streaky bacon or American-style bacon, and seem like a strip of meat sandwiched in between two layers of fat.

The meat is formed into a block that is triangle shaped, then buried or covered in salt, sugar, saltpetre and spices and let sit in a cool place for a month. It is then hung to dry for another month, sometimes two months, with whatever salt coating is on it still adhering to it.

Spices used in the cure include a generous amount of either black pepper or dried chile, so the meat becomes a bit spicy.

Though the meat is cured, it still needs cooking. It is very flavourful and used as a flavouring agent, rather than as a "bacon" you would fry up for breakfast.

Guanciale is made in Latium, the region that Rome is in. In making a Carbonara sauce, someone who lives in Rome would use Guanciale, not pancetta. Guanciale is hard to find outside Italy, but don't feel bad: not even Italians outside Latium can find it easily.


Pancetta or unsmoked bacon.

Language Notes

Guancia means "cheek" in Italian

See also:


Ayrshire Middle Bacon; Bacon and Cheese Clafoutis Recipe; Bacon Bits; Bacon Drippings; Bacon Press; Bacon; Canadian Bacon; Cottage Bacon; Guanciale; Gypsy Bacon; Irish Bacon; Lance Corporal Bacon; Pancetta; Rashers; Rolled Bacon; Turkey Bacon; Ulster Roll

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Oulton, Randal. "Guanciale." CooksInfo.com. Published 02 March 2004; revised 18 September 2005. Web. Accessed 05/22/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/guanciale>.

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