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Home-made Pancetta


ojisan
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I just scored a 12 pound pork belly and am about to embark on a bacon making frenzy. I plan to take about half of that to make a pancetta. I found a great tutorial and recipe online today but just wanted to hear any stories, good or bad, and maybe some of your favorite recipes that you might want to share.

I plan to blog this ordeal so Ill keep you posted.

Thanks!

as an aside, You Don't really need to roll it . Just hang it for a couple weeks.

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I just scored a 12 pound pork belly and am about to embark on a bacon making frenzy. I plan to take about half of that to make a pancetta. I found a great tutorial and recipe online today but just wanted to hear any stories, good or bad, and maybe some of your favorite recipes that you might want to share.

I plan to blog this ordeal so Ill keep you posted.

Thanks!

as an aside, You Don't really need to roll it . Just hang it for a couple weeks.

That's true, I think that's called pancetta stresa. If you do roll it, though, it has to be rolled very tightly--open space in the middle could be a haven for bad mold.

I've got one right now which I hung last Sunday--one more week to go. It's just hanging in my kitchen, but so far so good.

nunc est bibendum...

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That's true, I think that's called pancetta stresa. If you do roll it, though, it has to be rolled very tightly--open space in the middle could be a haven for bad mold.

I've got one right now which I hung last Sunday--one more week to go. It's just hanging in my kitchen, but so far so good.

With the recipes Ive read it states that the room has to be 60F with about 60% humidity. The coolest area in my house (besides the fridge) is a spare bedroom and the coolest that gets is about 70F. Is the temp that important? I'd hate to waste 5 pound of pork belly, that stuff's not cheap! :)

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That's true, I think that's called pancetta stresa. If you do roll it, though, it has to be rolled very tightly--open space in the middle could be a haven for bad mold.

I've got one right now which I hung last Sunday--one more week to go. It's just hanging in my kitchen, but so far so good.

With the recipes Ive read it states that the room has to be 60F with about 60% humidity. The coolest area in my house (besides the fridge) is a spare bedroom and the coolest that gets is about 70F. Is the temp that important? I'd hate to waste 5 pound of pork belly, that stuff's not cheap! :)

50-60F with 60% humidity is the ideal. I'm not really hitting that ideal point, but I'm not worried about it because if something bad starts to happen (mold growth, rot, or too much hardening of the meat due to too low a humidity), I'll just refrigerate (after washing with a vinegar solution if it's getting white mold--green mold and its a goner).

As far as I understand it, hanging improves the texture and deepens the flavor but you don't have to go all the way so refrigerating and freezing won't hurt it. So basically, I'm taking a chance but it's a chance I'm willing to take. It still smells delicious, so unless it's moldy on the inside, I assume it will be delicious and fine. Maybe I'm wrong in this assumption, but I figure since I've used pink salt the one silent killer, botulism, won't be a problem and rot (unlikely since it's cured, unless the cure didn't properly penetrate) which would be easy to smell or mold, easy to see if I check, would be my only problems. It's only for me and I trust my senses to tell me if something's not right. If I were doing this on a grander scale, or dealing with something that had a casing on it, I wouldn't leave it out at room temp--I'd have a curing set-up just for this made.

nunc est bibendum...

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50-60F with 60% humidity is the ideal. I'm not really hitting that ideal point, but I'm not worried about it because if something bad starts to happen (mold growth, rot, or too much hardening of the meat due to too low a humidity), I'll just refrigerate (after washing with a vinegar solution if it's getting white mold--green mold and its a goner).

As far as I understand it, hanging improves the texture and deepens the flavor but you don't have to go all the way so refrigerating and freezing won't hurt it. So basically, I'm taking a chance but it's a chance I'm willing to take. It still smells delicious, so unless it's moldy on the inside, I assume it will be delicious and fine. Maybe I'm wrong in this assumption, but I figure since I've used pink salt the one silent killer, botulism, won't be a problem and rot (unlikely since it's cured, unless the cure didn't properly penetrate) which would be easy to smell or mold, easy to see if I check, would be my only problems. It's only for me and I trust my senses to tell me if something's not right. If I were doing this on a grander scale, or dealing with something that had a casing on it, I wouldn't leave it out at room temp--I'd have a curing set-up just for this made.

ok, that sounds like the deal then. I decided to go with the flat pancetta for my first try and cut the recipe in half. That way if, for some reason, it goes bad, I only lost a 2.5 pound piece instead of a 5 pounder. With that curing salt it kinda puts my mind at ease anyway.

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50-60F with 60% humidity is the ideal. I'm not really hitting that ideal point, but I'm not worried about it because if something bad starts to happen (mold growth, rot, or too much hardening of the meat due to too low a humidity), I'll just refrigerate (after washing with a vinegar solution if it's getting white mold--green mold and its a goner).

As far as I understand it, hanging improves the texture and deepens the flavor but you don't have to go all the way so refrigerating and freezing won't hurt it. So basically, I'm taking a chance but it's a chance I'm willing to take. It still smells delicious, so unless it's moldy on the inside, I assume it will be delicious and fine. Maybe I'm wrong in this assumption, but I figure since I've used pink salt the one silent killer, botulism, won't be a problem and rot (unlikely since it's cured, unless the cure didn't properly penetrate) which would be easy to smell or mold, easy to see if I check, would be my only problems. It's only for me and I trust my senses to tell me if something's not right. If I were doing this on a grander scale, or dealing with something that had a casing on it, I wouldn't leave it out at room temp--I'd have a curing set-up just for this made.

ok, that sounds like the deal then. I decided to go with the flat pancetta for my first try and cut the recipe in half. That way if, for some reason, it goes bad, I only lost a 2.5 pound piece instead of a 5 pounder. With that curing salt it kinda puts my mind at ease anyway.

Plus, if you're worried about hanging it, I've heard you could keep it on a flat rack in the refrigerator. The problem with that might be that it might dry out a bit, but I think this will work too. I've never tried this though. Does anybody else have experience with drying flat pancetta in the refrigerator?

Good luck with your belly.

nunc est bibendum...

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There are several discussions of pancetta in the Ruhlman/Polcyn Charcuterie topics, initiated by Ron Kaplan here, and most recently with yours truly here. I'm a convert to stresa, and can't see any reason to go back to the roll. I also think that the tips in Paul Bertolli's Cooking by Hand are work checking out, particularly concerning the curing spices.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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There are several discussions of pancetta in the Ruhlman/Polcyn Charcuterie topics, initiated by Ron Kaplan here, and most recently with yours truly here. I'm a convert to stresa, and can't see any reason to go back to the roll. I also think that the tips in Paul Bertolli's Cooking by Hand are work checking out, particularly concerning the curing spices.

Thanks for the references.

You say you're a convert to stresa. I've thought the purpose behind the roll was it's compact shape (which I need--space is a premium). Are there any other advantages to rolling beyond that? On the other hand, are there any advantages to stresa beside the fact that it's easier?

nunc est bibendum...

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My problem was mold. I suppose someone with a more Popeye-like physique could get the belly rolled tightly enough for my basement and its lil bugs, but I couldn't. Along with less stress, making stresa allows me to hang the bellies for a lot longer, which gives a more pronounced cured flavor.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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50-60F with 60% humidity is the ideal. I'm not really hitting that ideal point, but I'm not worried about it because if something bad starts to happen (mold growth, rot, or too much hardening of the meat due to too low a humidity), I'll just refrigerate (after washing with a vinegar solution if it's getting white mold--green mold and its a goner).

As far as I understand it, hanging improves the texture and deepens the flavor but you don't have to go all the way so refrigerating and freezing won't hurt it. So basically, I'm taking a chance but it's a chance I'm willing to take. It still smells delicious, so unless it's moldy on the inside, I assume it will be delicious and fine. Maybe I'm wrong in this assumption, but I figure since I've used pink salt the one silent killer, botulism, won't be a problem and rot (unlikely since it's cured, unless the cure didn't properly penetrate) which would be easy to smell or mold, easy to see if I check, would be my only problems. It's only for me and I trust my senses to tell me if something's not right. If I were doing this on a grander scale, or dealing with something that had a casing on it, I wouldn't leave it out at room temp--I'd have a curing set-up just for this made.

ok, that sounds like the deal then. I decided to go with the flat pancetta for my first try and cut the recipe in half. That way if, for some reason, it goes bad, I only lost a 2.5 pound piece instead of a 5 pounder. With that curing salt it kinda puts my mind at ease anyway.

Plus, if you're worried about hanging it, I've heard you could keep it on a flat rack in the refrigerator. The problem with that might be that it might dry out a bit, but I think this will work too. I've never tried this though. Does anybody else have experience with drying flat pancetta in the refrigerator?

Good luck with your belly.

It works fine in a regular fridge. I've commented on this before. Leave it in there 20-30 days on a rack.

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50-60F with 60% humidity is the ideal. I'm not really hitting that ideal point, but I'm not worried about it because if something bad starts to happen (mold growth, rot, or too much hardening of the meat due to too low a humidity), I'll just refrigerate (after washing with a vinegar solution if it's getting white mold--green mold and its a goner).

As far as I understand it, hanging improves the texture and deepens the flavor but you don't have to go all the way so refrigerating and freezing won't hurt it. So basically, I'm taking a chance but it's a chance I'm willing to take. It still smells delicious, so unless it's moldy on the inside, I assume it will be delicious and fine. Maybe I'm wrong in this assumption, but I figure since I've used pink salt the one silent killer, botulism, won't be a problem and rot (unlikely since it's cured, unless the cure didn't properly penetrate) which would be easy to smell or mold, easy to see if I check, would be my only problems. It's only for me and I trust my senses to tell me if something's not right. If I were doing this on a grander scale, or dealing with something that had a casing on it, I wouldn't leave it out at room temp--I'd have a curing set-up just for this made.

ok, that sounds like the deal then. I decided to go with the flat pancetta for my first try and cut the recipe in half. That way if, for some reason, it goes bad, I only lost a 2.5 pound piece instead of a 5 pounder. With that curing salt it kinda puts my mind at ease anyway.

Plus, if you're worried about hanging it, I've heard you could keep it on a flat rack in the refrigerator. The problem with that might be that it might dry out a bit, but I think this will work too. I've never tried this though. Does anybody else have experience with drying flat pancetta in the refrigerator?

Good luck with your belly.

It works fine in a regular fridge. I've commented on this before. Leave it in there 20-30 days on a rack.

That's a long time--it doesn't dry out to much with all that surface area and such a long amount of time?

nunc est bibendum...

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50-60F with 60% humidity is the ideal. I'm not really hitting that ideal point, but I'm not worried about it because if something bad starts to happen (mold growth, rot, or too much hardening of the meat due to too low a humidity), I'll just refrigerate (after washing with a vinegar solution if it's getting white mold--green mold and its a goner).

As far as I understand it, hanging improves the texture and deepens the flavor but you don't have to go all the way so refrigerating and freezing won't hurt it. So basically, I'm taking a chance but it's a chance I'm willing to take. It still smells delicious, so unless it's moldy on the inside, I assume it will be delicious and fine. Maybe I'm wrong in this assumption, but I figure since I've used pink salt the one silent killer, botulism, won't be a problem and rot (unlikely since it's cured, unless the cure didn't properly penetrate) which would be easy to smell or mold, easy to see if I check, would be my only problems. It's only for me and I trust my senses to tell me if something's not right. If I were doing this on a grander scale, or dealing with something that had a casing on it, I wouldn't leave it out at room temp--I'd have a curing set-up just for this made.

ok, that sounds like the deal then. I decided to go with the flat pancetta for my first try and cut the recipe in half. That way if, for some reason, it goes bad, I only lost a 2.5 pound piece instead of a 5 pounder. With that curing salt it kinda puts my mind at ease anyway.

Plus, if you're worried about hanging it, I've heard you could keep it on a flat rack in the refrigerator. The problem with that might be that it might dry out a bit, but I think this will work too. I've never tried this though. Does anybody else have experience with drying flat pancetta in the refrigerator?

Good luck with your belly.

It works fine in a regular fridge. I've commented on this before. Leave it in there 20-30 days on a rack.

That's a long time--it doesn't dry out to much with all that surface area and such a long amount of time?

It would be quite dry, but not over dry because of the high % of fat in it. Once the time is up, wrap it in a moist paper towel and put it in a zip bag for about 3-4 days to soften the exterior a bit.

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Forgot to mention. I've done a head to head taste test of pancetta cured in the fridge, and one in the curing chamber. they were equivalent. That's why pancetta stesa is a great beginner product. It doesn't require any special hardware.

I think I will go with drying my stresa in the fridge. I wonder, however, if I will get any off flavors from my fridge? Has this been a problem for anyone?

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I agree that I can't find any reason to roll the pancetta, unless you specifically desire that shape. We've got one (a stressa) here at the restaurant that is litterally 5 or 6 inches thick at it's thickest, and probably 24" wide (not long). This thing is incredible, there is a peice of meat running through it that is at least the size of a normal pork tenderloin. The flavor is absolutely incredible.

Jason, I still haven't gotten to butcher those pigs yet. I'll let you know when we do. I think it's kinda the European way for schedules to be a little vague (no offense intended).

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  • 8 months later...

I have this year's batch hanging in the basement now and thought I'd share a few tweaks. (The cure followed the Bertolli ingredients I mentioned above.)

The first involves the bellies I'm using. I have been buying bellies from a nearby Chinese market for years now; they get their outsanding pork from a farm in New Hampshire, and, after lots of frustration trying to order Niman bellies through Whole Foods, I've switched whole hog, so to speak. Thing is, the skin-on bellies are in thick strips:

4088047852_6b92533dc9.jpg

After a little agita about this, I realized that these slabs are actually a very good size for the uses I have for this product. I can slice it lengthwise on the Hobart for wrapping; I can cut it into lardons, dice, you name it along the short side. It's also easier to hang evenly than the big slabs, and I came up with a neat technique using two holes through the skin:

4087290253_21a443ac93.jpg

4088048022_5771ef120f.jpg

Hung it this weekend and I'm hellbent on at least 20 days aging, so in 3-4 weeks I can report back.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Chris, looks beautiful!

I've been hankering to do this ever since I read 'The Unprejudiced Palate.' His recipe is quite a lot simpler than the ones I've seen here, has anyone tried it?

PastaMeshugana

"The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd."

"What's hunger got to do with anything?" - My Father

My eG Food Blog (2011)

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  • 1 year later...

This week starts my first foray into making pancetta and guanciale. I'm torn between hanging in my basement vs hanging in my garage. This month and next month should be ideal temperature and humidity in the garage but not sure if the daylight will be a problem. There are no windows except in the top of the garage doors and where I'm planning to hang the meat.

I've read that you can cure it in the fridge and that there's hardly any difference in the final product but I want to stay as close to the original methods as possible, aside from digging a cave in my backyard anyway ;)


I have simple tastes. I am always satisfied with the best - Oscar Wilde

The Easy Bohemian

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I seem to recall Ruhlman mentioning, either in Charcuterie or on his blog, that he hangs his pancetta in the kitchen. Presumably, he has windows there. If you're really concerned about light, you can always wrap it in cheesecloth or muslin.

 

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I remember Ruhlman saying that in Charcuterie. I hang my pancetta and guanciale in my walk in cupboard in the kitchen at room temp. I'm just over 2 weeks into a guanciale, and its almost firm enough to take down. Maybe tonight.

nunc est bibendum...

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I have made pancetta several times at home and work i always hang mine the fridge or walk in. Some I know disagree and say that there is not enough humidity or too much, but I have had outstanding results. Also I did make a batch of Micheal Ruhlman's guinciale and cured it the same way i did one thyme and black pepper and one mesquite and red pepper both came out fantastic. Both of which i cured in a reach in cooler at work granted this method may require a few more days of hanging but it has worked well for me. Another thing is if I am hanging multiple meats i like to make a cheese cloth tent around the meats just to insure low light exposure and any risk of cross contamination.

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I've made it twice, both very successfully using the essential ingredients of the Ruhlman and Polcyn recipe (meaning I typically won't follow a recipe exactly but used the recommended proportion of pink salt to meat). Both times I wrapped the brined meat in cheesecloth for maturation.

The first time I made it, I matured it in my bar fridge. The second time it was in my wine storage fridge. Being in a humid location, both these options seemed successful in maintaining a (relatively) stable environment. The pancetta in the wine storage fridge developed a covering mould but as recommended on threads here I simply wiped that off with a mild vinegar solution. While the taste of both was superb, I preferred the one matured at a warmer temperature in the wine fridge.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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