If you’ve found a fatty and delicious cut of hog jowl, and you’re wondering how to cook hog jowl in the oven, it’s simple.
Preheat your oven to 350°F (176.6°C), and lay the hog jowl slices in your roasting pan, turning the slices often. It should only take about 15 minutes before you have crunchy, fatty pork deliciousness.
You can prepare wonderfully flavorful pork jowl by several methods and complement them with vegetables that enhance the flavor.
5 Steps for Cooking Hog Jowl in the Oven
Follow these five steps to make mouthwatering hog jowl in the oven:
- Preheat the oven to 350° F (176.6° C).
- Rinse the jowls in cold water (similar to fatback and salty bacon).
- Cut the whole hog jowl into slices similar to bacon.
- Set the slices in a roasting pan, leaving space between each slice.
- Turn the slices several times while cooking.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, or until crisp.
What Is the Best Method for Cooking Hog Jowls?
It’s a matter of personal taste which way is the best for cooking traditional Southern hog jowls (same as chitlins, neck bones, tripe, or other Southern dishes). Here are several favorite cooking methods for hog jowls:
Braised Hog Jowl in the Oven
Braising hog jowls is another method for cooking them in the oven, but it takes a lot longer. Braising results in tender, juicy pork jowls.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F (176.6° C).
- Rinse off the jowls in cold water.
- Place whole hog jowls in a deep roasting pan.
- Pour broth or water over the jowls until they’re covered.
- Add onions, celery, carrots, garlic, turnips, or any vegetable you prefer.
- Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil.
- Bake the hog jowls for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
- Check the jowls with a meat thermometer until they reach 145° F (62.7° C).
Boiled Hog Jowls
Boiling is a traditional and easy way to cook hog jowls. Adding black-eyed peas and collard greens to the jowls makes a tasty meal.
- Add the hog jowls to a large saucepan.
- Cover them with water.
- Bring the water to a boil and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Use tongs to remove the hog jowls from the pot.
- Dice up the jowls and return them to the pot.
- Place prepared black-eyed peas, and onions in the pot.
- Boil the mix for another 45 minutes.
Fried Hog Jowls
A cast-iron skillet (you could use an electric skillet like bacon) is the best frying pan to use for fried hog jowls. It makes them brown and crispy.
- Cut off the tough outer skin of the hog jowls.
- Slice the jowls into chunks or slices.
- Lay them in the cold cast iron skillet.
- Turn the heat to low, and fry them slowly.
- Drain off some fat as the jowls cook.
- Keep frying the jowls until they’re crispy enough for your taste.
Smoked Hog Jowls
When smoking hog jowls, you don’t need to trim the outer fat cap. It helps hold the meat together while smoking.
- Trim thin edge pieces, so they don’t burn.
- Score the fat cap in a crisscross pattern with a sharp knife to render the fat.
- Season the jowls with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and any spices you like.
- Set the smoker to 220° F (110° C).
- Place jowls fat side up in the smoker.
- After about 2 hours, wrap the jowls in aluminum foil.
- Brush on BBQ sauce if desired.
- Place them back in the smoker to crisp the top and braise the bottom.
- Smoke for another two hours, or until they’re rendered and crispy.
Air Fried Hog Jowls
Using an air fryer to cook hog jowls is a fairly recent method that results in crispy, tender jowl meat. Here’s how to cook pork jowls in a good air fryer:
- Slice the pork jowls into cubes or thin jowl slices.
- Season the jowls with your favorite seasonings or BBQ sauce.
- Place them in the air fryer basket.
- Air fry at 350° F (176.6° C) for about 25 minutes.
- Check for crispiness and browning.
- Cook for an additional 10 minutes if necessary.
The air frying time may vary depending on how large you cut the chunks or slices. Check the hog jowls several times while cooking and adjust the time accordingly.
Also, pork jowls are very fatty, so you might have to remove some fat with a turkey baster while air frying.
What Do You Serve with Hog Jowls?
Serve pork jowls with any of your favorite vegetables, but greens balance the flavor of pork jowls very well (similar to ham, ribs, or pork chops). Popular sides for pork jowls include:
- Mustard and collard greens
- Black-eyed peas
- Green peppers and onions
- Root vegetables
You can also use cooked hog jowls in sandwiches with ketchup or BBQ sauce. Or, use them as a bacon substitute for BLTs.
What’s the Difference Between Hog Jowls and Bacon?
The difference between hog jowls and bacon is where it comes from on the hog. Hog jowls are the cut that comes from the lower cheek along the side of the hog’s head.
Regular bacon is the cut that comes from the side of the hog’s belly (though cottage bacon comes from the shoulder).
It’s often called a side of pork or fresh pork belly. Bacon is usually sliced, cured, and smoked before you buy it.
Popular methods for cooking bacon include frying, roasting, smoking, and broiling.
Where Do You Buy Hog Jowls?
Hog jowls are readily available in the Southern states, but you might have difficulty finding them elsewhere. Check the deli and meat department in your local supermarkets. Many times they carry pre-packaged hog jowls.
Also, you can also find pork jowls online. Meat retailers deliver specialty cuts of meat (usually the same places that have rose meat, fatback, skins, chitlins, or neck bones), packaging them in coolers for home delivery.
Another idea is to ask your local meat shop to order hog jowls for you.
How to Store Hog Jowls
Once you buy hog jowls, you can freeze them indefinitely, but for the best flavor, freeze for up to six months according to the USDA.
If you buy prepackaged hog jowls, they’ll keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. An opened package of hog jowls will stay fresh for about one week in the refrigerator.