Can You Eat Guanciale Raw?

Many people think raw meat tastes terrible. It doesn’t have to be this way. When correctly prepared and well-marbled, dry-cured meat has an excellent taste and texture.

But can you eat guanciale raw?

No, guanciale is made from pork which can contain parasites if you eat it raw. However, you can eat guanciale if it’s dry cured.

This guide will explain the difference between dry-cured and raw guanciale. Additionally, you should take precautions before eating raw pork.

What is Guanciale?


Guanciale is a lump of Italian meat that is made from pork cheek or jowl. If you know Italian then you know that guancia means cheek.

Generally, guanciale is a piece of fatty pork and comes as one large piece. It can be used in place of oil, or it can be one of the main ingredients of pasta dishes.

Guanciale has usually cured the same way as pancetta or prosciutto. The meat is left for up to two weeks after being rubbed with salt.

After the excess salt is washed off, the Guanciale is seasoned with herbs. Aging is the final step in the curing of guanciale.

The meat is dried for two months before it is ready to be eaten.

Guanciale can be stored at a cool room temperature for a long time as salt is a natural preservative and all excess humidity is removed.

The food doesn’t have to be cooked.

Is it Safe to Eat Raw Pork?

Pork is not a steak and should not be eaten raw or rare. When blood can be seen on the inside of the meat, it is considered rare.

Pork is vulnerable to certain living organisms that are found in other living stock and get killed at high temperatures.

It is possible that undercooked pork can cause you to get sick. The two types of parasites found in pork are Trichinella spiralis and Taenia solium.

Both tiny microorganisms can only be seen under a microscope. The good news is that pork loin can be cooked for more than 15 minutes and parasites will die.

Pork remains slightly pink on the inside at this temperature. Higher temperatures are required for ground pork to be considered safe.

What’s the Difference Between Cured and Raw Guanciale?

The main difference between salted and cured raw guanciale is that salted guanciale resembles other meats that are typically served on a charcuterie board. 

Its dark color suggests that you can eat it raw, but that’s not true.

Salt helps slow down the deterioration process and preserve meat for a long time, but it doesn’t kill the living organisms that may already be in the meat.

It is important to rinse salted raw Guanciale and cook it before consuming it to kill all the microorganisms. You may wonder why you should rinse.

As the salt has been in contact with pork for a long time, it may be contaminated as well. There is a question about dry-cured guanciale.

Dry-cured meats can be eaten raw if they are dehydrated by salt. Some types of microorganisms die when they come in contact with salt because they can’t breed without water.

The risk with pork is still present, and you should take precautions. It is recommended that you rinse the meat of the salt it has been cured in and make sure it is not spoiled before eating.

The water content is the difference between salted raw and cured Guanciale. Guanciale is dried for months while both variations are not cooked.

It doesn’t let microorganisms thrive because it’s free from any excess moistness. Salt does not kill Trichinella spiralis or Taenia solium, it only slows down the process.

The Fat is Safe to Eat

It’s safe to eat the fat but beware of overcooking it. Like meat, fat from cooked pork should be cooked thoroughly. Unlike meat, it can’t go rancid, so don’t keep it around long after cooking.

It is usually thinly sliced or diced and eaten with cooked potatoes or served on a piece of bread.

It’s the same thing for fat on the guanciale. Don’t forget to rinse the excess salt before cooking raw Guanciale, but you can remove it before doing it.

Pork meat doesn’t have fat because harmful microorganisms only penetrate it.

Final verdict? 

Guanciale can be eaten raw if it is dry-cured. It is possible to eat it with fat or lean meat. There is a possibility that salted pork may be unsafe.

It’s always best to know ahead of time what you’re doing.

After cooking guanciale for at least 15 minutes at 55 degrees, turn it off and allow it to cool for a few hours.

This will give the fat more time to congeal, and it will be still some raw.


If you know the answer to the question of whether or not you can eat raw, you will be able to enjoy the delicious Italian meat.

Unless it has been dry-cured or cooked for at least 15 minutes, we don’t recommend you consume raw meat.

If you still want to risk it, make it yourself or pay attention to the quality and origin of the guanciale you purchase.

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