South by Southeast
A bona-fide ham man turns to Italy
The Edwards family of Surry Farms has been curing country ham for three generations.
Having perfected that fine art, they began reimagining the porky traditions of other cultures. The family's first exercise in international diplomacy was Surryano, a take on Spanish Serrano ham, and now, with the release of their Jowciale, the Edwardses have given the nod to Italy.
Theirs is not the first domestic version of guanciale--the classic Italian cured pork jowl--but the Edwards' take is quickly becoming our favorite. The jowls, which come from heritage breed Six-Spotted Berkshire hogs, are dry-cured before spending two to three days in the smoker. That richness of flavor is then concentrated with an additional two to three weeks of aging.
At $23 for 1.5 pounds, it is kinder to your pocketbook than most of the other guanciale on the market. And when we consider the transformative bacon-like properties of the Jowciale's sweet-smoky flavor--sampled in everything from pasta to eggs--the price seems like even more of a bargain.
May the Edwards family's world tour have many more stops.