Food & Drink

Anyone make their own pancetta?

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  • Feb 16th, 2020 12:48 pm
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[OP]
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Jul 7, 2017
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Anyone make their own pancetta?

Very hard to find where I am (very Anglo area), and expensive if you do.

Anyway, got talking to someone who told me about his Italian father teaching (and tasking) his brother and he to make proscuitto. Met the father at one of their family dinners a few months ago and got talking about meat curing which got me inspired.

Came across pork side belly a few weeks ago at RCSS (Free From stuff, still has the skin one), so I buy a piece, salt it (have some preserving salt from France, and one - rather surprisingly - only needs 3% by meat weight to salt), but rather unfortunately removed the skin to deep fry.

So had the meat sitting in a bag in the fridge for over 2 weeks (much longer than recommended). Took it out last week and found, surprisingly, that it smelled quite pleasant. So rinsed, dried and peppered it in preparation for drying. Borrowed a Little Chief smoker from a neighbour, who ground for me a stainless steel meat hook from SS welding rods, put some fly screen and attached a computer fan to the base to provide some air circulation and it's been in my basement (60%+ RH and 14-15C - ideal curing condition) for a week, with a faint but pleasant odour. Sometime tomorrow is the one week mark so I shall pull it out to take a look.
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Jan 27, 2004
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T.O. Lotto Captain
I make my old bacon. which does involve curing.
I personally would use nitrate. It helps prevent botulism and harmful bacteria from forming.

Sure you can get away without it most of the time... But that one time you get severe food poisoning and you're screwed!
[OP]
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UrbanPoet wrote: I personally would use nitrate. It helps prevent botulism and harmful bacteria from forming.
I would except, that I have had 2 2nd degree relatives die from colon cancer at a relatively-young age (around the age I am now). In fact, I had a pre-cancer diagnosis and treatment a few years ago otherwise I would probably have joined younger of the two relatives in an early grave.

I will try a very small piece first... (that can be the epitaph on my gravestone).
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[OP]
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Have had my 3rd helping of the pancetta with no ill effects. I thought I was feeling queasy the first evening but think that was psychosomatic. Gave a chunk to neighbours who lent me the smoker. They were gong to have it for their Valentine's day dinner. Haven't heard from them since though.
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