Pancetta question

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Gray Goat
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Pancetta question

Post by Gray Goat » Sat Oct 04, 2014 00:05

I have some fresh pork belly (never frozen) and was thinking about making some Pancetta.
The recipes that I have looked at require cooking after curing and drying. Can I turn this in to
a ready to eat product by extending the drying time ? If so, what percentage of weight loss would I need to achieve ?

If I can make this as ready to eat, should I freeze the belly first to guard against trichinae since it won't be cooked ?

I love Pancetta as an ingredient in many dishes but would like something that I could slice thin and enjoy as is.

Thanks,
Wayne
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redzed
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Post by redzed » Sat Oct 04, 2014 06:50

There is absolutely no reason why you can't make a pancetta that you can enjoy without cooking. Use cure 2, leave the skin on and dry in a temp 12-15 and around 70% humidity. You should have a weight loss of around 20%.

As long as it's certified pork you probably do not need to freeze it. Just give it a bath in a mild salt water or vinegar solution allow it to drain off and dry and apply the seasonings. How big is the belly?

Good luck and please post pics and progress reports.
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Post by Gray Goat » Sat Oct 04, 2014 13:25

redzed wrote: How big is the belly?
I have two 5lb slabs

Thanks for the help Red :smile:
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Re: Pancetta question

Post by Aaron » Mon Oct 20, 2014 14:59

Gray Goat wrote:I have some fresh pork belly (never frozen) and was thinking about making some Pancetta.
The recipes that I have looked at require cooking after curing and drying. Can I turn this in to
a ready to eat product by extending the drying time ? If so, what percentage of weight loss would I need to achieve ?

If I can make this as ready to eat, should I freeze the belly first to guard against trichinae since it won't be cooked ?

I love Pancetta as an ingredient in many dishes but would like something that I could slice thin and enjoy as is.

Thanks,
Wayne
Thanks for that question Grey goat..i wanted to know if I could do the same....thanks Redzed for the response!
Aaron
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Post by ronbo » Wed Jul 25, 2018 23:56

Hi Everyone. I know this is an old thread but I was making my first pancetta from a butterflied butt but using the Marianski recipe from this site. Three rolls of green weight 763g, 1138g, and 708g, respectively. I cured them as slabs with seasonings and cure #1 in the fridge for 14 days in 3 individual ziplock bags. Then washed off cure#1 and seasonings and wiped off any moisture. At this point I was a bit unsure how to proceed with additional cure (#1 or #2) since I was going to use Umai bags since I don't have a place to hang them. So I decided to rub the slabs with a bit more seasoning and Morton Tender Quick since it has both #1 and #2 in it. I used an amount MTQ that was just one quarter of the recommended amount by Morton for standard curing since they already had a pre-cure with #1. I then rolled and tied each one and vac sealed each in an Umai bag. Ive let them age/dry in the fridge in Umai for 6 1/2 weeks. This got the loss to 21%, 20%, and 27% respectively. Im concerned about the safety of these since they took a fairly long time in the fridge to reach target weight and I don't really know if the amount of #2 I used via the Tender Quick was sufficient to keep the product safe. Any thoughts about whether or not you think these are safe or any ways to check for safety? Im aware that the big "Botulism" has no odor or taste. Id prefer not to find our the hard way. Any help from you Masters? Thanks Ronbo
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Post by Butterbean » Thu Jul 26, 2018 04:10

I don't think you have to worry about botulism but do think you'll have a very salty product.

In my view there are two ways to make pancetta. One is a semi-dry product where you use Cure 1 and when it firms up you slice and cook it. The other is a dry product where you use Cure 2 and allow it to dry for an extended period until it becomes shelf stable and it can be eaten either uncooked or cooked.

It sounds like you are mixing these two processes up but since you are keeping the meat under refrigeration and it is not in the danger zone I think you'll be fine apart from it being saltier than it needs to be.

Next time, if you are going to hang and dry it over a long period you'd be better served using Cure 2 or Morton's Tenderquick.
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Post by redzed » Thu Jul 26, 2018 16:36

As BB wrote, there are no concerns as far as as safety here. The #1 and salt should take care of it. Marianski's amount of 3.2 grams of Cure #1 is 200ppm so that is more than enough. I would have used 2.5g/kg. Cure #2 may improve the flavour, improve colour and act as an anti oxidant for an extended amount of time. But it is not essential in curing dry cured meats. (In fact, many traditional dry cured meats, such as the Parma hams and culatello, are cure with salt only). The essential ingredient is nitrite and the nitrate which is also in Cure 2, needs to be converted to nitrite before it can start it's transformation to nitric oxide, otherwise it's useless. And there is also the reaction during the initial cure process, where a portion of the nitrite is first converted to nitrate and then back to nitrite, so you get the benefits that I mentioned above without adding the nitrate.

Further to this, I doubt that Cure 2 does anything when using the Umai casings. Nitrate needs warmer temps, like 8C, to transform to nitrite and have an effect on the enzymatic activity in the meat. But keeping the meat in an Umai bag in the fridge the whole time does not optimize this. The underlying processes that cure whole muscle meats are proteolysis, but it works best at warmer temps. The Italians never cured their meat in temps of 2-4C. So what you get when you use Umai is simply a slow dried product that relies primarily on the seasonings you add. You don't get products that are truly cured which occur over a period of time in a warmer environment.

The reason for the slowness in your drying is that if you used the butt portion of the shoulder, there is a weaving pattern, (resembling a honey comb) of fatty connective tissue throughout this cut, especially the collar section (coppa) that inhibits drying from the inside out. But if you cured the meat properly it should be of no concern. It will be ready when it's ready.

And finally, pancetta is made from the side pork cut (pork belly) and not from the pork shoulder. So what you are making may be a coppa or a cured pork shoulder but not pancetta.
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