Wangenspeck - German Style Jowl Bacon


With pork belly prices the way they are, I decided instead of bellies I'd pickup some Hog Jowls from the butcher to save a few bucks. Jowls make really great bacon and generally cost about 35% - 40% less.

Four jowls (about 10 lbs total), skinned, trimmed and into the brine: Water, Juniper berries (crushed), Peppercorns, Salt, Sugar & some Curing Salt #1. Next, put a plate on top to keep them submerged, cover and into the fridge to cure for 7 - 10 days.

They'll get overhauled (flipped & rotated) every couple days to ensure even curing.

See you in a week or so...


Here's where we're at...

The jowls were in the brine for about 11 days. The sample I fried up had a nice favor. The extra time in the lower salt brine let the juniper berry flavor come through a little better.

Drying off under a fan.

A light coating of pepper (this pepper is kind of warm. I may have to brush some off so it doesn't overwhelm the pallet).

I don't have a dry cure cabinet yet, but I want to dry this out some and get a lighter smoke profile, so I'm skipping the cold smoke and going straight for a hot smoke using Sugar Maple (I wish I could get beechwood pellets here to keep in more authentic). This will loose more water weight than just cold smoking.


Not too dark and definitely a lighter smoke profile (oh, you bet I sneaked a sample ;)). This will now go into the fridge in paper bags to continue drying slowly until they reach the density I want. I'll most likely add a tray of rock salt with some water to keep the humidity at a good level.

I'll post more as it ages...


New member
Looks and sounds great!
I have some jowls in the freezer I plan to do a dry cure on them when I do my next batch of bellies (soon).



I have been so blasted busy the past few weeks I almost forgot to post this.

After drying in the fridge for about a month and testing, it was dense enough, but I wanted a bit more smoke flavor. Since it was a nice cool morning, I decided to give the Wangenspeck a second smoke (it originally only got hot-smoked).

After about 4 hours of cold smoke... ah yes nice and smoky, but no too smoky. It went back in the fridge to rest for another day or so.

Time to slice...

Wow is this stuff good! Nice and dense from the 1-month dry age with a nice hint of the juniper berries & pepper throughout. It can be cooked if you like, or as with other German bacons it's traditionally sliced very thinly and served as-is on dark bread with cheese.
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New member
I might have to take mine out of the freezer and get started, that looks and sounds great. Plus I had to buy bacon today, I have a few slabs in the freezer with my jowls.
Did you end up adding a tray of rock salt & water while they were drying?
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