Food Guide

Find Out Which Cut of Pork Is Tastier: Jowl or Cheek?

There are many misconceptions about pork jowl and pork cheek.

If you are wondering if there are any differences between these two facial meat cuts, this article will be helpful for you.

We will delve into each pork cut and figure out their own special features which make them unique from other cuts.

After that, you can be able to decide which one is your preference.

What is a pork jowl?

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A pork jowl is a cut from the pig’s cheek area.

It is actually below the cheek, between the jaw and the neck of the hog.

It is often cured or smoked and then eaten as an appetizer.

However, pork jowl can be perfectly braised or slow-cooked thanks to its adequate fat content.

When being cured to make bacon, pork jowl tends to taste not as strong as regular bacon, so it is a great option for people who don’t like the intense taste of pork bacon.

Pork jowl is a more popular meat cut in Asian cuisine, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot find this ingredient in Asia.

What is pork cheek?

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Pork cheeks are a cut of meat from the cheek muscle of pigs.

They’re often used for braising, as they’re flavorful and have an appealing texture when cooked.

Pork cheeks are typically found in traditional dishes like Chilindron de Cordero or Coq au Vin, but these days you’ll find them on trendy menus with names that would make any housewife blush (think: “Bite Me Pork Cheek” at Chicago’s Belly Q).

The pork cheek has many muscles and connective tissues, which is why it can be tough to chew at first.

However, braising or stewing pork cheeks will break down their tough fibers so the finished dish ends up tender and flavorful.

Pork cheek can be served with noodles or potatoes, which soak up all that delicious sauce.

What are the differences between pork jowl vs cheek?

In this section, you will learn how pork jowl cut and pork cheek are different from each other so that you can easily choose the one that you prefer.

 ComparisonPork jowlPork cheek
Position of the cutThe lower part of a pig’s face that hands below its chin and cheekThe fleshy parts of the pig’s head above its jawbone
ComponentsHave more fat and connective tissuesLess fat and leaner
TasteLess sweetRicher and mild
PriceMore expensiveLess expensive than pork jowl because it is not as popular as
Common useDue to the higher fat content, pork jowl is usually cured to make bacon for breakfast, or as a seasoning for beans or other green veggies dishes  Usually used in braised, stew, or soup dishes because it is likely to be chewier and tougher

What are the similarities between pork jowl vs cheek?

Pork jowl and pork cheek come from close areas, therefore, they do share some similarities besides the aforementioned key differences.

1. Pork jowl and pork cheek are cut from the pig’s head

This likeness makes a lot of people mistake pork jowl with pork cheek.

Even in some regions, they are the same thing, which refers to the cheek area of the pig.

2. They can be used interchangeably in some flavorful recipes

Although the pork cheek is likely to taste richer and more flavorful than the pork jowl, one cut can be an alternative for the other counterpart.

You can trim the fat from the pork jowl and make these two pork cuts more similar in texture and flavor when cooking.

Both can be great for braising or stewing, you can try.

Which one is better?

Product ComparisonBurgers' Smokehouse Hickory Smoked Chunk Country Pork Jowl (4 One...Carrillera Iberico de Bellota Raw Pork Cheeks Meat - 3 pcs (total...
Product ImageBurgers' Smokehouse Hickory Smoked Chunk Country Pork Jowl (4 One...Carrillera Iberico de Bellota Raw Pork Cheeks Meat - 3 pcs (total...
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Pork jowls and pork cheeks are two very different cuts of pork.

While both can be used for braising, they have some key differences in what makes them unique from one another.

For example, pork cheek is a leaner cut that has more elasticity than other cuts such as ham or bacon.

Because it’s lower on the hog, it also contains less connective tissue which means it will need to be cooked longer to tenderize.

If you’re planning on cooking this cut with a moist heat method like braising or stewing.

The pork jowl, on the other hand, is fattier than its counterpart but doesn’t contain much fat so you’ll want to cook this type of meat before using any kind of wet cooking method.

Determining which one is better will rely on your preference.

So could you let us know which meat cut do you prefer, pork jowl or pork cheek?

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Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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