Pancetta Time In NC


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I haven't posted in a while. Been busy travelling and taking care of my grandson, every chance my wife and I get. I haven't done any memorable cooks worthy of posting. However, I have been playing around with something new to me, dry curing.
I bought one of the Charcuterie kits from Umai a while back. I wanted to try my hand at making some dry cured meats. I have some pork bellies in my freezer that I planned to make some bacon with one of these days. So I decided to make Pancetta instead (this is just dry cured bacon) using the recipe and dry bags from Umai.

After thawing two pieces of pork belly, I broke out the skinning knives I bought for hunting. Even though I have had the knives for a number of years, I had never used them to skin any of the big game that I have shot. We always took the game to a meat processor. So, I got to finally use them. I removed the skin from each piece of pork belly. The knives worked great!

This is the finished pork belly, ready to be coated with the dry rub.

Here is the dry rub mix. It uses InstaCure #2 (not Cure #1) since the Pancetta will be dry cured.

The final picture shows the pork bellies coated generously with the dry rub. They will be refrigerated for the next 7 to 10 days.

Well, the pork belly pieces have been in the dry cure for ten days. Time to rinse and dry them. I decided to dry cure both versions of pancetta, slab (stesa) and rolled (arrotolata). The larger piece had a more uniform thickness and thus lends itself nicely to being rolled. The other three pieces are either too small or a little too thick to roll, so I will dry cure them as a slab. I will put the two small “sample sized” pieces in one small dry bag. I may pull these out when they feel fairly solid to see how I am doing.

The first picture shows the pork belly pieces still in the dry cure.

The second picture shows the rinsed and dried pieces.

The third picture shows the one arrotolata and the three stesas.

The final picture show them dry bagged and ready to go into the refrigerator for about 30 days.

The final product will be posted separately.



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Pancetta Time In NC, Part 2

I have been checking how “solid” the pancetta has been since I cured it and used the Umai dry cure bags. The two smaller pieces were pulled several weeks ago and thinly sliced and added to some green beans. Basically, I wasn’t impressed. Then again, there wasn’t much fat in those two small pieces. The real test would be when I sliced the slab and rolled pieces.

The slab (stesa) Pancetta in the slicer.

Here is some of the sliced slab Pancetta. Looks just like bacon!!

The rolled (arrotolata) Pancetta before I removed the twine. Looks good and feels good. Kind of firm, but not a brick, either.

Here is the rolled Pancetta on the slicer and a few early slices.

I must say that the Pancetta came out much better than I would have expected after tasting the sample pieces. My wife gave it her “Seal of Approval”. It must be good!

I will have to finish vacuum packaging the sliced Pancetta later. It appears that sealing element burned out. I'll have to order another one. Off to borrow someone else's vacuum sealer.

Since this was successful, I am going to try to dry cure some bresaola next. I'll post those results when it is finished.



Incredible Art!

Perfect timing too; I've been looking at pancetta recipes and wondering about the dry age bags for stuff like this. The dry age bags look like a great way to dry-cure stuff without a dry-cure cabinet.

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