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Pancetta troubles


yoboseyo
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Novice at meat-curer looking for advice. I'm making 2 pancettas this season.

 

The first one I used the over-salting technique. What I didn't expect was that the salt would all turn into brine in a day, and I expected that I could scrape away the excess salt at the end. Instead, I left it on the brine for too long, and the result was too salty. The meat firmed up in 2 days so I should've taken it out then.

 

For my second one, which is currently in the fridge, I used the equilibrium salting technique. I added about 100g salt for 3.5kg meat. The problem now is that it's not firming up seemingly at all! It has been 9 days in the fridge, and flipping it every day or 2. After 6 days, however, there was no pool of brine left. I put the meat in a folded over but unsealed bag. Did the brine evaporate or resoak into the meat?

 

Any advice on how to continue would be appreciated.

Edited by Smithy
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Yea, 10g was cure #2 (6.25% nitrite, ~3% nitrate)

 

Just wondering whether sealing the bag would've made a difference, holding the brine in.

 

Also I added ~60g sugar. I heard things about sugar making it soft, but I'm not sure.

 

If all else fails I'm going to just go with what the recipe says and leave it in the fridge for 2 weeks total and then hang it up. I wonder what the consequences of hanging it up soft are.

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Give it time.

Holding the exuded liquid in and leaving it in contact with the meat can be a bad thing.

Said liquid can contain high concentrations nitrite/nitrate which can cause nitrite burn...a greenish/greyish discoloration of the meat and other issues.

It's best to let that liquid drain away.

If there's a problem with salt/cure not clinging well to the meat, divide it and apply it in separate applications a day or two apart.

Grinding the salt/cure into a fine powder in a mortar and pestle will also help it cling well to the meat.

 

Some pieces of meat exude noticeable amounts of liquid, some don't.

Some pieces of meat firm up noticeable, some not so much.

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~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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3 hours ago, DiggingDogFarm said:

Give it time.

Holding the exuded liquid in and leaving it in contact with the meat can be a bad thing.

Said liquid can contain high concentrations nitrite/nitrate which can cause nitrite burn...a greenish/greyish discoloration of the meat and other issues.

It's best to let that liquid drain away.

If there's a problem with salt/cure not clinging well to the meat, divide it and apply it in separate applications a day or two apart.

Grinding the salt/cure into a fine powder in a mortar and pestle will also help it cling well to the meat.

 

Some pieces of meat exude noticeable amounts of liquid, some don't.

Some pieces of meat firm up noticeable, some not so much.

The problem is, the I didn't drain the liquid away. The liquid just left the bag like it dried up or something. It's very odd...

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It's not uncommon for the liquid to be fully or partially reabsorbed.

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~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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On 6/27/2016 at 2:39 AM, DiggingDogFarm said:

It's not uncommon for the liquid to be fully or partially reabsorbed.

that kinda defeats the purpose of letting it sit in the fridge, no? the excess salt won't get drained and it's going to take that much longer to dry. 

 

I'll leave it in for a few more days and hopefully I get a palatable result. I'm not sure how to go about my next one so that this doesn't happen again, though

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Yeah, that's another reason why I wouldn't leave it (something I wanted to dry down) in the liquid.

 

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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4 hours ago, yoboseyo said:

that kinda defeats the purpose of letting it sit in the fridge, no? the excess salt won't get drained and it's going to take that much longer to dry. 

 

I'll leave it in for a few more days and hopefully I get a palatable result. I'm not sure how to go about my next one so that this doesn't happen again, though

 

The whole point of an equilibrium cure is that there isn't any excess salt.  Nor is it unusual for there to be no water in the bag.  They're doing the process in two steps because diffusion needs water to work; you'll pull out water in step two.  What you're describing is fairly similar to how Batali does his guanciale, except he uses only a week for the first stage (which, in turn, is as much as I'd think it needs based on curing other things), then he hangs for three.

 

BTW, it would be easier to discuss this if you'd either link or post the recipe you're using.

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Yes, you're fine.  And looks like a good recipe.  Notice you judge when done in stage two by weight and feel.  The time frame is just for reference.  BTW, the reason lean takes longer is that muscle has more water than does fat tissue.

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