Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pork Jowl (Pork Cheeks) with Brown Sugar Rub

I'm quite amazed that we're actually posting entries while away! Again, I did the photo processing just before going, then wrote the copy on the plane.

This dish is dedicated to Christina of Doesn't TaZte Like Chicken.

JS and I had dimsum one day with Christina and ET (of Doesn't TaZte Like Chicken), and Ben and Suanne (of Chowtimes). Christina picked the place: Top Gun J&C Restaurant.

We all agreed that we should order "unusual" items, and not the standard dimsum fare like har gow, siu mai, etc. So, we left it in Christina's capable hands.

One of the dishes was pork jowl (also called pork cheek), sliced into pieces. This led to a discussion of what we would do to such a jowl if we should buy one, seeing as we all haven't tried cooking it before.

We didn't think too much about this discussion. In fact, I believe Christina may have ordered the dish again to take home!

But, we happened to go to T&T later that afternoon, and along with our usual meats and produce, decided to get a packet of pork jowl after seeing its alluring self on the shelf.

It's "polished", they say! I don't know what that means.

The small packet came with two pieces of meat. As you can see, this is not inexpensive.

But, look at the fat! Nice, eh?

As an idea, Christina mentioned curing the meat, then roasting it and basting it with Korean barbeque sauce. I was too lazy to make anything too complicated, so I decided to take our beloved longganisa flavors and add a little Chinese twist.

I made a little wet rub of brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, grated garlic, and a touch of Maggi seasoning. My little "Chinese twist" is merely the addition of sesame oil.

The cheeks marinated in this mixture (it wasn't not really a cure) for about two days. Then, for ease of cooking, I decided to pan-fry them.

The pork jowls shrunk!

I sliced the jowl pieces in an angle, copying the presentation at the restaurant to the best of my memory.

The dish was quite tasty, although it could have used a tad more salt to balance the sugar.

Like at Top Gun J&C, the texture of our pork jowl was interesting. It was meaty and yet there was also a "crunchiness" to the meat, I think from the fat, strange as it sounds.

I can imagine this cut very nice slightly smoked, so maybe we'll try that next time.

So, Christina, this is what we did with pork jowl. =)

[eatingclub] vancouver Chinese

Our Regional Recipes posts:
Greek Meatball Soup (Giouvarlakia)
Simmered Saba Mackerel with Daikon Radish (Saba Oroshi-ni)
Thai Fried Chicken
Roast Pork Belly with Puy Lentils
Beef "Ribbon" Kebab (Pasanda Kabab) with Cilantro Chutney
Canadian Onion Soup with Oka Cheese
Börek with Beef Filling
Korean Pork Bulgogi (with Muu Namul, Kong Namul)
Lobster Congee from a Lobster Feast
Pork Jowl (Pork Cheeks) with Brown Sugar Rub
Beef Salpicao
Cuban Arroz con Salchichas (Yellow Rice with Vienna Sausages)
Cuban Pastelitos de Guayaba y Queso (Guava and Cheese Pastries)
Vietnamese Spring Roll (Cha Gio)
Grilled Fish Fillet on Oregano
Pastéli (Greek Sesame Snaps)

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Blazing Hot WokWe're submitting this to Regional Recipes, a blogging event created by Blazing Hot Wok that celebrates food from all over the world.

The region for this edition is China. The round-up will be hosted at Blazing Hot Wok and will be posted around/after August 20.

Regional Recipes information


  1. love love love this part of pork. the fat bits made it very forgiving ;) i normally grill it with lots of kecap manis and make some kind of skewerless indonesian sate :)

  2. Hi TS and JS:
    Very nice! When I saw that picture and without having read the article, I was already thinking about the dim sum we had.
    Now ... how am I gonna hint to Suanne to make this at home. LOL!

  3. The cheeks of most animals are some of the best parts of the beast. I like your flavor profile, especially the W sauce.

  4. I had braised pork cheeks at a french restaurant that were really tasty. Now I hear they are going to be the new item at the MN State Fair this year, served with a peach glaze

  5. I never see interesting cuts of meat like this...maybe I have to ask. Yours looks delicious. So nice and juicy.

  6. polished most likely means that they have trimmed more of the fat off. I make this at home a lot. if there is a fat layer, you need not worry as it will burn off under the broiler. the best/easiest way to cook it is a bit of salt and pepper on both sides with minced garlic, broil it until done.....make sure to brown it well for best texture and flavour.

  7. looks delicious. I have been looking for pork jowl for a while.

  8. Awwwww, thanks for this post TS. That is so sweet. You are the first person who has dedicated a post to me.

    I was going to make the jowl and you beat me to it. I will use the ready-to-use Korean BBQ sauce and let you know.



  9. this part of pork look like fatty tuna part!! look delicious...and like char siew!!

  10. The meat must be so tender there! In the cheeks.

  11. Pig + cheeks = love.

    All this pig talk has really got me thinking I need to have a chat with my butcher and see if he can hook me up with this stuff.

  12. I've only ever had pork jowl cured, as guanciale (essential to a classic pasta carbonara). In fact I've never even seen it for sale raw. Would love to get some and try out this recipe.

  13. I love pork cheeks! Although not easy to find here...This looks fantastic! Sweet pork goodness -- just my type of dish :)

  14. M... Rita:
    That's a great idea! Something really simple. We'll try it with just plain kecap manis next time.

    Haha... It's actually a very quick & easy thing to prepare at home. Let us know if your hinting works. ;)

    Thanks! Some Filipino dishes do tend to use Worcestershire.

    Oh, peach glaze! Another great idea! We recently saw something about the MN STate Fair on TV; I didn't realize it was *that* huge!

    maybelle's mom:
    Joan Nova:
    Thanks! Yeah, maybe the butchers keep that part to themselves. ;D

    Thanks for the tip. Simple does seem to be best with regards to pork cheeks.

    It really was you who was the inspiration behind the dish, hehe. We'll be looking forward to your pork cheeks!

    My Asian Kitchen:
    It's the fat that makes it good. =D

    It was tender, yet had "body" to it too.

    LOL. =)

    We would love to see *your* pork jowl dish!

    I really do think the butchers hide that part for themselves, teehee. =D


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