This project started over 15 weeks ago when I ordered 2 fresh pig cheeks from my trusted local butcher. I salted them, added sugar and spices and put everything in vaccuum bags. I stored them in my fridge for 3 weeks then let them soak in water for 1 hour. Afterwards I hanged them in my cellar.

After 11 weeks the salted pork cheek turned into an incredible tasty piece of meat. Almost bacon like. But without the smoky flavour. The italians call this product “guanciale” and it is perfect for Spaghetti Carbonara or Spaghetti all’amatriciana.

The ingredients

  • 1 pork cheek (as fresh as possible, ca 1.4kg)
  • 40g Sea Salt
  • 20g Sugar
  • Spices

Mix the sea salt, sugar and spices and rub everything on the pork cheek. Use whatever spices you want. I used pepper and juniper berries on one and fennel seeds and chili flakes on the other one I made. But you should use a generous amount Spices to season the fatty cheek. Put everything in a vaccuum bag and let it cure for 3 weeks. check it every few days. The liguid in the bag should be clear. if it turnes milky or foggy open the bag, wash the cheek add some salt and put it in a new vacuum bag.

After 3 Weeks take the cheeks out of the bags, lay them in a bowl and cover with cold water. After one hour take it out of the water and pat it dry. hang it with a string in your cellar. It shoudl be a place with 15-19°C and air circulation but no direct wind. Check the guanciale every week to make sure no mold grows. If you get mold, wash it off with some warm saltwater. Brush the guanciale with some strong alcohol afterwards. You should be fine now. Now you just have to wait for a minimum of 10 weeks.