Although frying pork jowl may be more common, boiling the meat along with seasonings is a tasty and easy way to spice up bland dishes. Pork jowl bacon is often eaten in the southern United States, where it's traditionally consumed on New Year's Day for good luck, but it's also an Italian delicacy called guanciale. Cut from the cheeks of the hog, the cured meat has a similar flavor to bacon and even looks like thick-cut bacon slabs. Boiling pork jowl takes longer than cooking regular bacon, but the longer the meat simmers, the more savory and tender it becomes.
Cut off the outer rind of the hog jowl with a kitchen knife, if desired, and slice the meat into smaller, bite-sized pieces.
Boil enough water in a cooking pot on the stove to cover the hog jowl pieces. Then add the meat and boil for at least an hour, until tender. If you like, you can add black-eyed peas along with the hog jowl. Soak them in water ahead of time for several hours or overnight.
Add seasonings to the jowl mixture, as desired. Some good complements are whole or chopped onion, crushed red pepper, black pepper, sugar, salt or a little hot sauce. If needed, add more water to the pot.
Simmer hog jowls for 2 additional hours on low heat, along with the peas and spices if you added them.
Remove meat from the pot and serve as is, or drain and serve over rice or noodles.
If desired, add rinsed, drained and chopped greens to the pot when adding the peas. Some common additions are mustard, collard or turnip greens.
Wash hands and any surfaces that come into contact with the raw meat thoroughly with soap and water to prevent foodborne illnesses.