Pancetta
========= 2018-10-27


Comment: making your own pancetta is exciting, but the main thing is that it is much better than most commercial offering. This is excellent in all dishes calling for pancetta, and even many dishes calling for bacon. For cooking, pancetta is normally cut in "lardons" - small sticks, with the skin removed, of course.

Note: Make sure to have enough of high quantities of spices in stock.
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Préparation:
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Start with a slab of pork belly, 2 to 4 kg.
Leave the skin on. Wash it and pat it dry to remove any
sogginess.

salt . . . .  5%        
black pepper  2+%            
Juniper  . .  2+%     (crushed - use a food processor if you don't find it crushed)
Bay leaves .  2 leaves/kg finely crushed
Dry thyme  .  0.2%      or 1/2 thyme and 1/2 rosemary
Garlic . . .  3 g/kg      powdered garlic

All the spices, salts, and herbs are mixed together.

The cure is rubbed all over the pork belly and massaged into the meat.
The meat is then wrapped into cling wrap (no air) and into the fridge to cure, allowing the salts and herbs to penetrate the meat.
Turn it every 3 days, keep it a total of 12 to 15 days.

Then the meat will be carefully rinsed in cold water, patted dry, wrapped in cheesecloth (I use very thin bathroom towels), and hung in the curing chamber (pantry). I lay it flat, but turn it every day and when it gets firmer, I stand it on its end, but still turn it once a week. Record the meat weight before
wrapping it. The first few days are the most critical, the meat needs to breathe (ie. dry).
If white spots (mold) appear, wipe them with a bit of salt.

Check it after a few days. If you see some white mold, just rub a little salt over these spots. This is neither bad, nor will at affect the taste of the finished product.

When it has lost 30% of its initial weigh, it is good to go (about 4 to 6 weeks).
I cut it in pieces of width of about 5 cm, and freeze the pieces I will not use soon.

references:
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How to make pancetta

Pancetta, easiest cured meat of all