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Wangenspeck - German Style Jowl Bacon

TentHunter

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

See you in a week or so...
 

TentHunter

Moderator
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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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I'll post more as it ages...
 

FrozenTundra

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).
 

TentHunter

Moderator
Update!

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).
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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...
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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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FrozenTundra

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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