Guanciale is a type of cured meat that comes from pork jowl, and it is often served with hard bread and a nice Chianti wine. It is also used to make several Italian dishes, most notably carbonara and gricia. It can be hard to find in the U.S., but it’s worth the effort because this type of cured meat is absolutely delicious.
The best way to store guanciale is to keep it well wrapped in the refrigerator, where it can remain for up to six months.
Storing Guanciale in the Refrigerator
Guanciale is supposed to be hard, not soft, so when you put it in the refrigerator, you should keep it wrapped in some type of non-plastic paper, such as butcher paper. If you use a plastic wrap, it could encourage mold growth or even condensation, both of which might make the meat a lot softer than it should be.
Each time you want to eat some of the guanciale, simply slice off what you wish to eat, then wrap it back up and place it in the refrigerator.
How Long Will Guanciale Last in the Refrigerator?
As a general rule, guanciale will keep in your refrigerator for about six months. That being said, many food experts claim that you can keep it in there for up to a year and it’ll be good as long as you’ve kept it at the right temperature and you’ve handled it properly the entire time.
In Italy, guanciale is often kept hanging in a dry, well-ventilated area while it’s curing. Once you’re into the meat, though, you should keep it in the fridge where the temperature and humidity will be consistent month after month.
Storing Guanciale in the Freezer
While storing guanciale in the refrigerator is recommended over storing it in the freezer, this is still something many people wish to do.
Why is it not recommended that you freeze guanciale? Because as a general rule, it doesn’t “preserve” this type of meat much better than keeping it in the fridge. There is little to no difference between preserving guanciale in the freezer and preserving it in the refrigerator.
Nevertheless, if you decide to freeze your guanciale, wrap it very tightly in aluminum foil first. It’s best if you wrap it in two sheets of foil because the meat has to be wrapped tight, and make sure there are no tears or holes in the foil. Next, place the tightly wrapped meat in a sealable freezer bag and place it in the freezer. Make sure you mark the date on the outside of the bag so you’ll know when to remove it from the freezer.
How Long Will Guanciale Last in the Freezer?
Just like refrigerated guanciale, frozen guanciale lasts for around six months. Unlike the fridge method, however, you should never leave your guanciale in the freezer for more than six months. Make sure you remove it from the freezer after six months.
How Do You Defrost Guanciale?
Guanciale should be frozen whole, and when you take it out of the freezer, simply place it in your refrigerator and let it thaw for around 24 hours.
You should never thaw out any cuts of meat, including guanciale, on your countertop because they could spoil.
Even though guanciale goes through a type of curing process before it is sold to the public, it still needs to be kept in the fridge if you want it to stay fresh for the six-month period.
Storing guanciale is simple. Just wrap it in paper and place it in the refrigerator where it won’t spoil or go bad. You can keep it in there for a maximum of six months
Just keep in mind that while freezing the delicious meat is an option, it really doesn’t do a lot of good, so you might as well store it in the refrigerator instead.