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Guanciale Update: Looking Pretty

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jun 30, 2009 4:20PM

We were explaining the guanciale experiment and process in making it Saturday night to Benjy's lovely wife Ella. Mrs. Lipsman asked all the pertinent questions about making one's own charcuterie, most important among them, "What if you get food poisoning?"

It's a legitimate query, one that we've hesitated to ask ourselves. Whether it's guanciale, bacon or other charcuterie; steaks; sun-dried tomatoes; peppers or pasta, dry aging is a form of controlled rot. The hang time for bacon, coppa, soppresata or guanciale doesn't affect the flavor, but the texture. During the hang, basteria break down the connective tissue of the cut, making the protein more tender.

We finally asked ourselves the question Ella asked Saturday. For three weeks we've had our guanciale hanging in the coolest, driest place in our apartment: underneath the kitchen sink. Mold on the guanciale has always been our biggest concern, so we decided to give it a look-see. We breathed a sigh of relief to find no mold visible. Furthermore, upon inspecting the the guanciale we noticed it dried considerably and had a familiar texture. It's done, for all intents.

We've decided to let it hang for another week or two, to see how the texture changes. Then we're going to taste it out with some special guests. See you same time in three weeks.