Join Riverfront Times Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Jowl Bacon from the Farmers' Larder - Sweet Jesus, Is It Delicious!

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 10:00 AM

New to the farmers' market scene this year is the Farmers' Larder. - HOLLY FANN

Standing in the pouring rain behind a small white folding table at the Maplewood Farmers' Market this past Wednesday was Lucian Matoushek, smiling quietly next to a small chalkboard sign containing a list of the day's offerings from the Farmers' Larder: kielbasa made with beef and pork and smoked over hickory wood; spicy andouille sausage; beef hot dogs in natural casings (for that satisfying "snap"); smoked ham hocks; and bacon, slowly dry-cured and thickly sliced.

All delicious, all made using livestock raised humanely with no antibiotics or growth hormones and seasoned with organic ingredients. All exceptional.

click to enlarge Jowl bacon in the raw! - HOLLY FANN
  • Holly Fann
  • Jowl bacon in the raw!

And then there is the jowl bacon.

Made from pigs' cheeks -- the same cut used for Italian guanciale -- this stuff is nothing short of divine. Thick, finger-size slices come in vacuum-wrapped packages weighing about a quarter-pound each. At first glance, the 80:20 fat-to-meat ratio seems worrisome. One could imagine the fat all melting away as it does with traditional bacon, leaving tiny little crunchy pork nibbles, not such a bad thing in itself, but not very satisfying in the end. But when you cook it up, either in the oven or in a sauté pan, the fat firms up slightly and forms a smoky char while the meat crisps with a surprisingly small amount of the slice melting away.

click to enlarge crispy cooked jowl bacon bliss - HOLLYFANN
  • HollyFann
  • crispy cooked jowl bacon bliss

And the taste? Dear Lord! Ever so slightly sweet from a tiny amount of brown sugar in the cure, a nuttiness akin to acorns or chestnuts, that undeniable and satisfying salty pork flavor and something like dewy spring grass -- all in a tender, crisp bite. It is unreal.

And it sells out quickly.

You can find the Farmers' Larder -- and maybe, if you arrive early enough, jowl bacon -- at the Maplewood Farmers' Market, and in the coming weeks at the Tower Grove, Ferguson and Webster Groves markets.

Tags: ,

Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2020 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation