Amatrice pork jowl lard - Guanciale amatriciano
Amatrice pork jowl, known as “guanciale amatriciano”, is a typical product of the mountain area in the municipalities of Amatrice (Ri) and Campotosto (Aq).
When cut it must be very compact with a white fatty part and bright red lean part. The taste is intense and slightly spicy, highlighting the smoking.
To make this charcuterie item the pork jowl must be detached carefully from the head, starting at the throat, then trimmed to achieve the classic triangular shape, then it is left in salt for 4-5 days (the length of salting depends a great deal on weather conditions). After salting the jowl is washed, drained and when still damp it is coated with plenty of pepper and chilli pepper, as dictated by tradition. The “guanciale” is then hung from a wooden pole (after cutting a hole in the apex of the triangle where a cord is passed so the meat can be hung) and left for at month at 10-15°C, near
a hearth or brazier where wood will burn the entire time and where the smoke will give the product its distinctive lavour. When the pork rind has dried out completely and turned the classic brownish colour, the product is exposed to the currents of the north wind for about two more months, to finish ripening.
The product has always been an integral part of the diet of the Laga Mountains shepherds who had to spend several months on the slopes so needed foodstuffs that would be easy to preserve and with a high calorie content. In the 1700s, when the entire area was part of the Kingdom of Naples, the “guanciale” became a prime ingredient for famous “pasta all’Amatriciana”, together with lovely Amatriciano Pecorino cheese.