Guanciale whole foods can be easily found in a lot of Italian dishes. Coming with a large proportion of fat that will melt around the ingredients when the meat is cooked, guanciale creates rich flavor. Following the ban from the FDA to import guanciale to the US, it is a bit hard to find the meat in the country. However, some kinds of meat are also known to provide you with perfect substitutes for guanciale to make an authentic Italian recipe. Here is the list.
Bacon can be a great substitute for guanciale for some good reasons. This choice of meat can even be cured without smoking. However, if all you can find in the supermarket is unsmoked bacon, you can still use it to replace guanciale. Just use boiling water to blanch the meat for about 1 to 2 minute to get rid of its smokey and salty flavor. Use a towel paper to pat dry the meat before cooking it. However, bacon is less fatty if compared to guanciale and has a less sharp pork flavor.
Consider using pancetta to substitute guanciale in an Italian dish. Though the cut of meat is taken from the belly – not from the jowls as guanciale – it’s prepared by using an almost similar method. That’s why pancetta has nearly similar quality as guanciale. Before being consumed, pancetta is aged with herbs and salt for up to four months. The pancetta will be suitable the most for Italian cuisines such as tagliatelle ala ragù bianco, casserole, and soup.
Lardo is another great option to substitute guanciale. The meat will provide you with a rich umami taste, making it perfect for pizza, pastry, steak, and bread. Lardo also has a buttery texture and much more subtle pork flavor if compared to other meat options.