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Guanciale (Italian pronunciation: [ɡwanˈtʃaːle]) is most often an unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with pig's jowl or cheeks. Its name is derived from guancia, Italian for cheek. Guanciale is similar to the jowl bacon of the United States.
Pork cheek is rubbed with salt, sugar, and spices (typically ground black pepper or red pepper and thyme or fennel and sometimes garlic) and cured for three weeks. Its flavor is stronger than other pork products, such as pancetta, and its texture is more delicate.
Pancetta, a cured Italian bacon which is normally not smoked, can be used as a substitute when guanciale is not available.
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