pork temple meat

Pork Temple Meat – What It Is and Where to Get It

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You find yourself standing in front of a butcher’s counter, scanning the array of meats on display. Amidst the familiar cuts, your eyes land on a package labeled “Pork Temple Meat.”

Curiosity piqued, you realize you have no idea what it is or how to cook it. Pork temple meat, also known as pork cheek or jowl meat, is a lesser-known gem that offers a rich taste and delightful texture when prepared correctly.

It highly benefits from slow cooking methods like stewing or braising, which helps release its full tender, succulent potential!

In this article, we’ll delve into what exactly pork temple meat is, its unique characteristics, and the best cooking methods to bring out its succulent qualities.

Additionally, we’ll explore where you can source this cut, whether from trusted butchers, specialty meat markets, or online retailers.

Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure as we uncover the secrets of pork temple meat and discover how it can elevate your dining experiences.

What Is Pork Temple Meat?

Pork temple meat, also known as pork cheek or jowl meat, is a specific cut of pork that comes from the cheek or jowl area of the pig. It is a flavorful and tender cut that is popular in many cuisines around the world.

The cheek or jowl meat is located near the pig’s head, specifically from the area around the jawline and below the eyes. It consists of the muscles that are responsible for chewing and moving the pig’s mouth.

Despite not sounding all that appetizing, pork temple meat is well-marbled with intramuscular fat, which contributes to its rich flavor and succulence.

When uncooked, pork cheek or jowl meat typically appears as a well-defined, thick piece of meat with a layer of fat on one side. The color of the meat can vary from pale pink to a deeper reddish hue, depending on the age and diet of the pig. The fat layer is usually white or creamy in color.

Due to its high-fat content and connective tissues, the pork cheek meat is well-suited for slow-cooking methods such as braising, stewing, or roasting.

These methods help to break down the collagen and tenderize the meat, resulting in a moist and flavorful final dish.

Pork cheek meat is often used in recipes for dishes like braised pork cheeks, guanciale (an Italian cured meat), or as an ingredient in stews, soups, or ragùs.

It’s worth noting that the terminology used to describe cuts of meat can vary across different regions and culinary traditions. While “pork temple meat” may not be a widely recognized term, referring to it as pork cheek or jowl meat provides a clearer understanding of the specific cut and its culinary applications.

What Does Pork Temple Meat Taste Like?

It’s important to note that the flavor of pork temple meat can vary depending on how it is prepared and the ingredients used in the recipe. Pork temple meat is often used in soups, stews, and braised dishes, where it absorbs the flavors of the accompanying ingredients.

Nevertheless, here’s what you can expect.

pork cheek meat

Overall, pork temple meat offers a combination of rich flavors, tenderness, and a pleasing mouthfeel. Its taste is further enhanced by the ingredients used in soups, stews, or other slow-cooked dishes.

The unique characteristics of pork temple meat make it a popular choice for recipes where flavor and texture are key elements.


Pork temple meat is known for its rich and intense flavor. It has a pronounced pork taste that is often described as savory and slightly sweet.

The flavor profile can be influenced by factors such as the age and breed of the pig, as well as its diet. When cooked in soups or stews, the flavors of the broth and other ingredients infuse into the meat, enhancing its overall taste.

Mouthfeel and Consistency

This cut has a tender and succulent texture. It contains a good amount of intramuscular fat, which contributes to its moistness and adds richness to the meat.

When cooked properly, the meat becomes very tender and easily flakes apart with a fork. The fat content helps create a luscious mouthfeel, making it enjoyable to eat.

Flavor Absorption

One of the notable characteristics of pork temple meat is its ability to absorb flavors from the surrounding ingredients. When used in soups or stews, the meat absorbs the aromatic components, spices, herbs, and liquids, resulting in a melding of flavors.

This makes it an excellent choice for dishes that rely on the meat to contribute to the overall taste of the recipe.

Umami and Gelatinous Qualities

Pork temple meat contains natural gelatin and collagen, which break down during slow cooking methods like stewing or braising. This process results in a velvety, gelatinous texture and imparts a pleasant umami taste to the meat. It adds depth and richness to the overall dish.

Where Can You Buy Pork Temple Meat?

Pork temple meat, also labeled as pork cheek or jowl meat, can typically be found at specialty butcher shops, high-end grocery stores, or markets that offer a wide selection of meat cuts.

Unfortunately, while it’s not uncommon, you may need to do some searching for it. The best way to approach this is by phoning local shops to see if they have any in-store instead of driving around the entire day without success.

Local Butcher Shops

Local butcher shops often carry a variety of pork cuts, including pork cheek or jowl meat. They can provide you with specific information about the cut, and its availability, and even offer recommendations on how to cook it.

This cut is also usually cheaper than other pork cuts because it’s often considered to be offal.

Specialty Meat Markets

Specialty meat markets or gourmet food stores that focus on high-quality meats may carry pork temple meat. These establishments often have a wider range of cuts available and can provide guidance on cooking techniques and recipes.

Farmers’ Markets

Farmers’ markets are a great place to find locally sourced meats, including specialty cuts like pork temple meat. Some farmers or meat vendors may offer pork cheek or jowl meat, especially if they specialize in pork products.

Online Retailers

Many online retailers offer a wide range of meat cuts. You can search for reputable online meat suppliers or specialty meat websites that deliver to your location.

Ethnic or International Markets

Depending on your location, ethnic or international markets that cater to specific cuisines may carry pork cheek or jowl meat. These markets often stock a broader range of cuts used in traditional dishes from various cultures.

When purchasing pork temple meat, it’s important to ensure that the meat comes from a trusted source and adheres to proper food safety standards. Look for fresh, high-quality cuts with good marbling and check for any signs of spoilage or improper handling.

Remember, availability may vary depending on your location and the specific market or butcher you visit. It’s always a good idea to call ahead or check the store’s website to confirm if they carry pork cheek or jowl meat before making a trip.

How to Buy the Best Quality Pork Temple Meat

To buy the best quality pork temple meat, also known as pork cheek or jowl meat, consider the following tips.

Find a Reputable Source

Look for a trusted butcher shop, specialty meat market, or online retailer with a good reputation for providing high-quality meats. Seek recommendations from friends, family, or local food enthusiasts who have purchased meat from reliable sources.

Seek Freshness

Choose pork temple meat that is fresh and hasn’t been sitting for an extended period.

Fresh meat should have a vibrant color, typically ranging from pale pink to reddish hues, and it should not have any off-putting odors. Avoid meat that appears discolored, excessively dark, or has a strong unpleasant smell.

Consider the Source

Opt for pork temple meat from reputable producers or suppliers who prioritize quality and ethical farming practices.

Look for meat that is sourced from well-raised and humanely treated pigs. If possible, choose meat that comes from organic, free-range, or pasture-raised pigs, as these methods often result in higher-quality meat.

Look for Marbling

Marbling refers to the intramuscular fat distributed throughout the meat. It contributes to the flavor and tenderness of the pork temple meat.

Look for cuts with a good amount of marbling, as it enhances the taste and juiciness of the meat. Well-marbled meat will have thin streaks of fat running through the muscle fibers.

Consider Thickness

Pork temple meat can be found in varying thicknesses. Thicker cuts tend to retain moisture better during cooking.

If possible, choose cuts that are at least 1 to 1.5 inches thick to ensure a juicy and tender result.

Check for Proper Trimming

Pork temple meat should be properly trimmed, removing any excess fat or unwanted connective tissues.

However, some fat is desirable as it adds flavor to the meat during cooking. Look for cuts that have a reasonable amount of fat remaining, as it will enhance both taste and texture.

Ask for Guidance

Don’t hesitate to ask your butcher or meat supplier for advice. They can provide information about the characteristics of the pork temple meat, recommend cooking methods, and suggest complementary flavors or seasonings.

Best Ways to Cook Pork Temple Meat

Pork temple meat benefits from cooking methods that allow it to tenderize and develop its rich flavors. These usually include slow methods over low heat. 

Finding the perfect cooking method depends entirely on your preferences and some experimentation. We’d highly recommend taking notes on every recipe you make so that you can easily make adjustments in the future.

cooking pork temple meat

Regardless of the cooking method you choose, it is important to monitor the internal temperature of the meat using a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches a safe temperature of 145°F (63°C) while still maintaining its tenderness.

I personally recommend this thermometer I found on Amazon!


Braising is a popular cooking method for pork temple meat due to its tenderness.

Start by searing the meat in a hot pan to develop a flavorful crust. Then, transfer it to a pot or Dutch oven and add a flavorful liquid such as broth, wine, or a combination of both.

Cover the pot and cook the meat over low heat for a long period of time until it becomes fork-tender.

The slow cooking process helps break down the connective tissues and fats, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Slow Roasting

Slow roasting is another excellent method for pork temple meat.

Preheat your oven to a low temperature, around 275°F (135°C). Season the meat with your preferred spices and herbs, and place it in a roasting pan. Cook the meat uncovered for several hours until it reaches an internal temperature of around 160°F (71°C).

The slow roasting allows the meat to become tender while retaining its moisture and developing a rich flavor.


Pork temple meat is well-suited for flavorful stews. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and brown them in a hot pan to enhance the flavors.

Transfer the meat to a pot and add vegetables, aromatics, broth, and seasonings. Simmer the stew over low heat for a long duration, allowing the meat to become tender and infuse with the other ingredients.

The slow, gentle cooking process helps create a hearty and flavorful dish.

Pressure Cooking

If you’re looking for a faster cooking method, consider using a pressure cooker. Sear the pork temple meat over high heat to develop a caramelized crust.

Then, place the meat in the pressure cooker along with your desired seasonings, liquids, and vegetables. Cook under pressure for a shorter period of time compared to traditional methods, as the pressure helps tenderize the meat more quickly.

The result is tender and flavorful pork temple meat in a fraction of the time.

Sous Vide

Sous vide cooking involves vacuum-sealing the pork temple meat in a bag and cooking it in a water bath at a precise temperature for an extended period.

This method ensures even cooking and helps retain the meat’s natural flavors and moisture. After sous vide cooking, you can give the meat a quick sear in a hot pan or on a grill to develop a flavorful crust.

Related Questions

Is Pork Temple Meat the Same as Pork Cutlets?

No, pork temple meat is not the same as pork cutlets. Pork temple meat refers to the meat from the cheeks or jowls of a pig. It is known for its rich flavors and tenderness, often used in slow-cooked dishes like stews and braises.

On the other hand, pork cutlets typically come from the loin or tenderloin of the pig. Cutlets are thin slices of meat, often breaded and pan-fried or grilled. They have a different texture and cooking method compared to pork temple meat.

Is Pork Temple Meat Expensive?

Pork temple meat can vary in price depending on factors such as location, availability, and the specific market or butcher shop. Generally, pork temple meat is considered a relatively inexpensive cut compared to higher-end cuts like tenderloin or ribeye.

However, prices can still vary, so it’s best to check with local suppliers or retailers to get the most accurate and up-to-date pricing information in your area.

Is Pork Temple Meat Tough?

No, pork temple meat is not inherently tough. In fact, when cooked properly using suitable methods like braising, slow roasting, or stewing, pork temple meat becomes tender and succulent.

The slow cooking process helps break down the connective tissues and fats, resulting in a meltingly tender texture. However, if pork temple meat is not cooked low and slow, it has the potential to be tough. Proper cooking techniques and sufficient cooking time are essential to achieve the desired tenderness and flavor.

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