Pork-jowl bacon doesn't differ much from pork-belly bacon, except for one thing: technically, it's offal. Although you wouldn't know by its appearance -- both jowl bacon and regular bacon are cured and smoked -- pork-jowl bacon comes from the inside of the pork cheek, just below the eye. You do, however, have to cook it a bit differently than you do regular bacon to get the best out of it. Regular bacon has a 1:3 ratio of meat to fat, whereas jowl bacon has about a 2:1 ratio of meat to fat -- a proportion for which the pressing-and-roasting cooking method was made.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Slice the pork jowl into 1/4-inch-wide slices with a straight-edged knife. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet.
Arrange the jowl bacon strips on the baking sheet at least 1/2-inch apart. Season the bacon with freshly ground black pepper, if desired.
Cover the bacon with another sheet of parchment paper. Place another rimmed baking sheet on top of the parchment paper and bacon.
Place a baking dish or a pot filled with dried beans on top of the baking sheet. You have to press the baking sheet down with something that weighs 2 or 3 pounds, so you can use almost anything as long as it's oven-safe. Place the bacon in the oven.
Roast the bacon for about 18 to 20 minutes. Pull out the oven rack and check the bacon for doneness. The bacon should have a dark-brown or mahogany color, and most of the fat should have rendered out. You can roast the jowl bacon uncovered and without a weighted pan for a few minutes if you want to render out all the fat and crisp up the meat.
Take the weighted dishes off the baking sheets and set them on a heat pad to cool. Take the top baking sheet off the bacon and place it on a heat pad to cool, also.
Discard the top piece of parchment paper. Pour off the rendered bacon fat into a heat-proof jar or bowl by tilting a corner of the pan downward.
Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and blot the oil from it with paper towels. Serve the bacon as-is or add it to another dish, such as pizza, salads or any dish you would add regular bacon to.
Things You'll Need
2 baking sheets
Sprinkle the bacon with raw brown sugar, such as turbinado or demerara, before roasting to make salty-sweet candied bacon.