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Pork Jowls 101: Taste, Recipes, and Cooking Techniques

Pork Jowls 101: Taste, Recipes, and Cooking Techniques

People have been eating various parts of the pig for many years. While pork chops, bacon, and pulled pork ribs are some popular parts of the pig that are eaten, there are other parts of the pig that people eat that you may not even be aware of.

Pork jowls are a part of the pig that people eat. However, some people have no idea what pork jowls are. 

What Are Pork Jowls?

Pork Breeds

Pork jowls is a cut of meat that is taken from a pig’s cheeks in the head cut. It is usually consumed in the American South, and is often smoked or salt-cured.

Jowls are a popular dish in the American South, and they’re often used to season greens, beans, soups, and stews, as pork jowls often have a great deal of flavor.

Depending on how pork jowls are cut will dictate what it’s called. In the American North, pork jowls are often cut into bacon and called: jowl bacon.

In the South, pork jowls are often called hog jowls. If you spend any time in the south or talking to southern natives, then you will likely hear them raving about how delicious hog jowls are. 

What Do Pork Jowls Taste Like?

Everyone who has eaten pork jowls before has their own opinion regarding how they taste. Some people believe that pork jowls taste like bacon or another pork product called “salt pork.”

Regardless, pork jowls are very popular,  especially in the south. If you like salty bacon or other fried pork products, then you will likely enjoy pork jowls as well. 

What Are Pork Jowls Used For?

People consume pork jowls, which is the number one way they’re used. Eating pork jowls entails frying them up until they’re very crispy and then eating it with other foods or using it to season large pots of foods.

Many people like the crispness and texture of fried pork jowls, which is why it’s often eaten like bacon. 

Are Pork Cheeks and Pork Jowls the Same?

Yes, pork cheeks and pork jowls are essentially the same thing, as pork jowls are simply the cheeks of the pig. It may seem strange to eat a pig’s cheeks, but there are many strange parts of the pig that people eat, including the brain, which is referred to as “hog head cheese,” pig’s feet, pig ears, intestines, necks, skin, and more

Can You Eat Pork Jowls?

Yes, people eat pork jowls all the time. They can be eaten in the same way you would eat bacon or skins, or they could be eaten in soup, beans, greens, or stews. 

Is Pork Jowl the Same As Bacon?

No, pork jowl isn’t the same as bacon, as pork jowl is taken from the cheeks and bacon is derived from the pig’s belly. This results in two completely different tastes and textures. 

Are Pork Jowls Healthy?

Pork jowls are an extremely fatty cut of meat, and it’s saturated fat that we’re talking about, meaning that it’s not a very healthy cut of meat. The tremendous amount of fat is what gives the pork jowl its taste and texture.

So, if you’re trying to follow a healthy eating plan, then you want to either eat as little as possible of this fatty meat, or add in other foods that actually are healthy.  

FAQs about Pork Jowls

Here are the answers to a list of commonly asked questions about pork jowls, which will hopefully help you to better understand what pork jowls are and why they are so popular. 

Are there recipes available for cooking pork jowl?

Yes, there are many recipes available online that can introduce you to pork jowl and some many creative ways to cook with it.

Do people really eat pig’s feet?

Yes, people do really eat pigs’ feet. Eating this part of a pig’s body might seem really strange, but it’s a staple in many people’s diets, especially those in the south.

Do pig’s feet taste like pork jowls?

Most people who have eaten pig’s feet and pork jowl agree that the two parts of the pig taste totally different. While pork jowls are somewhat chewy and similar to bacon, pig’s feet are said to have a tender, delicious flavor.

What foods pair well with pork jowls?

Again, many people use pork jowls to season their large pots of beans, greens, and peas. However, others fry up pork jowl and eat it in the same manner that you do bacon. The sky is the limit when it comes to coming up with ideas of foods to eat with your pork jowls, and even if you prefer macaroni and cheese, or even potato salad, then that is okay as long as you’re enjoying your meal.

Why can’t I find pork jowls at my grocery store?

You will likely find pork jowls at local grocery stores in the south. However, if you check stores in the north, Midwest, or other areas, then you may have a difficult time locating a pack of pork jowls.

What’s the grossest part of the pig to eat?

Some people believe that there are no gross parts of the pig to eat, as some people love every single part of the pig. For people who don’t like eating pig meat or who only eat bacon may find that certain parts of the pig are gross.

Some parts of the pig that many people turn their noses up in the air in revulsion are: chitterlings ( the pig’s intestines), the pig’s brain, often called “hoghead cheese.”

Hog head cheese can often be found at many grocery stores all over. Chitterlings must be cleaned in a sink full of water before consumption, and if they’re not cleaned well enough, then a person could be consuming waste that has been leftover in the pig’s intestines. This is one thing that many people believe is extremely disgusting when it comes to eating parts of the pig.