Flavor of the Month: Jowl Bacon

Featured at Bluebeard, Napolese, and 317 Burger.

If a skinny little strip of bacon got shoved around on the playground, his surly cousin, jowl bacon, would come to the rescue. Extra thick, aggressively smoked, and streaked with fat, this ultra-rich cut from the side of a pig’s head has the kind of imposing presence that traditionally lurked in the background of Southern cooking, serving as the flavoring agent in a pot of beans or batch of greens. But jowl bacon has sizzled and popped to the fore in dishes like Bluebeard’s Formaggio sandwich, which layers the luscious meat with three cheeses and pickled red onion. At Napolese, chef Tyler Herald adds a handful to the BLT pizza (bacon, leeks, and tomato), letting the nubs of pork counteract the sweetness of the wilted veggies. In 317 Burgers Strawberry Hill, thick slabs atop a half-pound patty play off strawberry compote, ghost-pepper cheese, and peanut butter. And Goose the Market sells the home version, maple sugar–cured, hickory-smoked, and rubbed with peppercorns and coriander.