Pork Shoulder, Belly or Jowl?
Which part of the pig is the most flavorful? Well, pork shoulder is always a tasty treat either slow-cooked in a ragu or stir-fried with mushrooms. It provides just the right amount of hearty meat to fat ratio that makes it oh so delicious. Then again, you can’t forget about pork belly. Who can resist that crispy crackling and the tender layers of fat and meat? Needless to say, choosing my favorite cut of pork has always been a difficult decision for me.
That was all until recently when I started spotting pork jowl in the pork section of my local grocery store. Pork jowls, or hog jowls as they are also known, are delicious cut of meat cut from the head of the pig. They are especially fatty which makes them perfectly suited for curing and turning into bacon (aka guanciale). As I love all things bacon, it became imperative not only that I bought every bit of pork jowl that was being, sold but also that I came up with a good recipe to go with them.
Thai Grilled Pork Jowl
I love guanciale as much as the next gourmand and would jump at the chance of home curing my own meat. However, because I live in tropical, humid Malaysia, I have to postpone those dreams for later. So when it came to cooking this delicious cut of pork jowl, I reverted back to local flavors of lemongrass, garlic, and soy. Not only is this a delicious combination of flavors but it is also how I first discovered this wonderful piece of meat-as grilled pork neck at one of my favorite Thai restaurants. That grilled pork neck was always juicy, tender, salty and sweet. It was always the first to be snapped up and created a frenzy amongst my fellow diners when placed on the table.
Since I don’t much like the idea of sharing such a tasty dish, I now make it at home and in bulk. Why is that, you may ask? The answer is because even in my own home surrounded by my loved ones, I still have to compete for my fair share. Good thing I make plenty!
Pork jowl marinated overnight in a lemongrass, garlic, soy and brown sugar sauce then grilled until tender. Your new favorite pork recipe! #pork #thai #lemongrass #garlic #easyrecipes
Thai Pork Jowl
500 g / 18 oz pork jowl
6 cloves of garlic
5–6 long stalks of cilantro (without leaves)
2 tbsp chopped lemongrass
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tbsp brown sugar
pinch of sea salt
1/4 small red onion
1 garlic clove
1 red chile (optional)
5–6 cilantro sprigs with leaves
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp water
Thai Pork Jowl
In a food processor or using a mortar and pestle, combine garlic, cilantro stalks, lemongrass, oyster sauce, soy sauce, black peppercorns, brown sugar and salt. Blitz or pulverize until smooth.
Cut pork jowl into strips about 2 inches (4.5 cm) thick. Pour marinade over pork jowl and make sure everything is evenly coated. Cover and let marinate in the fridge overnight.
When ready to cook, take pork jowl out about 30-1 hour before cooking and allow to warm up to room temperature before grilling them on a bbq or underneath the broiler in the oven. Cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side or until jowl is firming up and the outside starts to crisp and carmelize.
When finished grilling, remove from heat and rest on a plate on a plate for about 5 minutes before cutting into them. Cut at an angle and against the grain to get the best slices.
In a food processor or using a mortar and pestle, combine all ingredients together and blitz or pulverize until smooth. Let sit for about 10-15 minutes to ensure all ingredients marry together then serve.
- Category: Main, Pork
- Method: grilling
- Cuisine: Thai
Keywords: pork, pork neck, pork jowl, Thai, grilling, grilled, garlic, cilantro, lemongrass, brown sugar, oyster sauce