Braised Pork Jowl with Persimmon Gravy

Braised Pork Jowl with Persimmon Gravy
Pork jowl, also known as pork cheek is one of my favorite cuts of pork. When jowl is braised over a long period the meat becomes "melt in your mouth" tender. Pork cheek is both chock full of fat and collagen, so it needs to be cooked low and slow for best results. Think of past experiences with cuts of meat like oxtail, ham hock, and shoulder.

Pork cheek is popular across the world, I have seen it atop a bowl of ramen as Chashu, cooked in a Sichuan style, and cured as the Italian Guanciale. Pork cheek shares many similarities with pork belly, and I have found that it is a wonderful substitution in many cases. One of the best arguments I can make about using pork cheek is the comparable cost per pound. As pork belly has risen in popularity, so has its price. Pork cheek is less expensive than pork belly, I bought mine from a higher priced butcher store and still paid under 5 dollars for a pound.

This dish may appear somewhat exotic, but it was meant to be a homey dish to enjoy during the cold winter months. Stews, soups, and other braises are perfect for this time of year and perfume homes with their irresistible scents. Like many braises, this dish will take over three hours to prepare, so I suggest planning ahead, embracing the smells, and enjoy the lengthy process.

Braised Pork Jowl with Persimmon Gravy


  • 2 Fuya persimmons
  • 2 c White wine
  • 1 pound Pork cheek
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 2 Red shallots
  • 1 Stalk of celery
  • 1 T sugar
    Cooking Directions
    1. Trim the fat off of 1/2 to 1 pound of pork cheek until the majority of its fat is removed, then salt.
    2. Heat up an enamel coated dutch oven or another pan with plenty of high heat oil.
    3. Brown all sides of the pork cheek and set aside discard leftover oil.
    4. Add roughly 1 T of butter into the Dutch oven or whatever pan you are using and over medium heat brown shallots, celery, and garlic.
    5. Once browned, deglaze with 2 c of dry white wine, scrape the residual fond.
    6. Place the browned pork cheek back in with the wine mixture, and add two skinless Fuyu persimmons.
    7. Cover Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid and cook in a 250F oven for 3 hours, if you are not using a Dutch oven, transfer everything to a lidded oven safe pot or other braising cookware.
    8. Once again remove the pork cheeks from the Dutch oven and set aside.
    9. Transfer the braising liquid into a blender and blend until smooth, transfer back to the Dutch oven. Add 1 T of sugar and adjust seasonings if necessary, and reduce on the stove top over medium-high heat. 
    10. Once thickened to a gravy-like consistency remove from the heat.
    11. Serve pork cheek with a side dish(es), and top with persimmon gravy.
    Total Time: 3 Hours 30 min


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