Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pork Jowls Day 10

The pig fridge

Pig Fridge II

Well, after much tweaking, the pig jowls are successfully hung in an old dorm fridge I bought from a guy who was cleaning out his storage locker.  The original "fridge" I purchased ended up being a freezer.  That in itself is not a problem as you can turn a freezer into a fridge with an external temperature regulator.  But the shelves of this unit themselves were filled with coolant and, as I needed to remove shelves in order to accommodate the pork, that wasn't going to work.  So a mini-fridge it is, which is better anyway as it does not take up half of the apartment.

I have the fridge hooked into a device that forces it to maintain a constant temperature of my choice.  The ideal temp for curing these cheeks is 50 degrees and the regulator does an outstanding job of holding the fridge between 49 and 52.  I have also installed a tiny desk fan to keep the air circulating about the jowls.  After four days, the jowls have shrunk a bit and are developing a dry bark on their surfaces.  And you are met by a pleasant piggy puff as soon as you open the fridge door.  It is a bit more moist than is ideal inside the curing chest and I am hoping that it will dry out as the cheeks continue to lose moisture. 

The cheeks must hang for at least 3 weeks, but some recommend hanging for as long as 12 weeks for maximum flavor concentration.  We'll see how long I can hold out.