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Make Your Own Pancetta

I'm not sure, after the first two times I approximated the amount but it would have been about the same quantity. ie I dont add extra or much extra due to the lack of curing salt. I did however add more the first time and it came out rather salty.

Dec 04, 2008
jamo in Features

Make Your Own Pancetta

Sorry my bad.

for saltiness the granule size is important. The principle is that smaller grains will desolve and penetrate the meat more where as the larger crystals desolve just enough to salt the flesh but are also large enough to draw out the blood (which is the primary purpose of the proceedure when making kosher cured foods). In my early attempts I used a mixture of table salt and large sea salt and they were good but quite salty. Now i just use the large sea salt and it comes out only mildly more salty than normal bacon. I fidn the less salty meat has greater recipe potential.

After curing but before hanging you want to wash the cure off (the salt), however I find it works better if you give it a decent rinse rather than a 5 second one.

There are a variety of method for curing meats in the fridge like this one. The two primary being elevated and soaking. Soaking is what we did here, where the meat sits in its own salty juices so that they can circulate. I find that this means alot of the salt dissolves in the fluids. The other being elevated where you put the meat (commonly fish) between two oven or cooling racks and then put the whole lot in the bag. This prevents the meat from soaking. The reason I say this is more salty is it draws out the fluids but little of the salt dissolves in those fluids and so more of it stays on or in the meat.

Dec 01, 2008
jamo in Features

Make Your Own Pancetta

Your son has exellent taste :D. I love shrimp, possibly overly so. I don't even consider other options when they are available.

I'm pleased your pancetta worked out well. An amazing flavor isn't it? I'll never go back to the shop bought stuff after knowing how good it can be. I plan on starting 2 in the next couple of days, also hoping to complete them for christmas.

The unraveling when you cook it issue has kind of frustrated me a little but I think there should be a way to fuse it together better than I have in the past. I've tried using fat and hanging a little longer which helps it hold together when I cut it but not when I cook it. Oh well, no real loss anyway.

I've found that it is very easy to control how salty it is. It depends on the salt you use in the cure (ie size), how well you wash it before hanging and I think wiping it with vinegar may remove some from the surface. Well these are the factors we can control easily. Oh and whether you just toss in a bag to soak during the cure or elevate it makes a huge difference. I've found elevating it makes it saltier.

jamo

Dec 01, 2008
jamo in Features

Make Your Own Pancetta

Sorry about the late reply, I've been real busy.

How did your pancetta turn out?

Yea rissoles are good. Risoles(diff. spelling I think is like an indonesian springroll 'thing'). I've always enjoyed turkey but it's very rarely eaten here.

It is probably a bit late to comment now but the pig skin could be used as crackling, it is essentially just salted pig skin. I think it was probably a good idea to remove it otherwise it would have gone like leather. And yea dogs love it.

Nov 30, 2008
jamo in Features

Make Your Own Pancetta

Lol thanks, I remember having thanksgiving with friends in the US once. It was awesome.

I would suggest some recipes but christmas is rather a different event here. Instead of christmas hams (although not uncommon) we usually go for BBQ's and summery things.

I find the rolled pancetta often get an imperfect half inch at the bottom. Can try rolling tighter but I found it doesnt help much. Maybe a slip knot to tighten during the drying might help.

Manuka has a light taste but I'm not sure how to describe it. Sounds like your brother does hot smoking. It is purely reference to temperature. Hot smoke cooks the meat an flavors it where as cold doesn't. To do a cold smoke you just add a length of pipe from the original smoke chamber where it is hot to an additional one containing the meat. By time the smoke gets there it is cold.

Bresaola is strongly flavored of red wine and air cure is just a reference to one of the many methods of curing. If you would like to try it check theartisan.net they have lots of recipes including bresaola. I simplified their recipe a little because I wanted a milder taste.

Good luck

Nov 27, 2008
jamo in Features

Make Your Own Pancetta

Hand lense as in a magnifying glass or something of the sort. I used to to identify the crystal structure of the salt. lol That really sounds geeky. :p and yea I just chopped of a small piece and cooked it and ate to see if it tasted odd or I became sick shortly after.

Yea, fish and chips joints usually have vinegar available here, aus or the UK. although we usually have white vinegar available as the first choice and less often malt. Vinegar is great for everything. I use it for making salad dressings, dips, a dash is good in alot of cooking eg stews, marinades and it is essential for pickling. And most important pancetta :D.

Yea, same stuff as you use in key lime pie (I should have remembered that). Though the non sweetened version would be better. To one can add about a shot worth of vinegar (30ml and I'm approximating about a fluid ounce) and a little salt and pepper. From here you can add almost anything you want. Some lemon and garlic can be quite good. Chilli adds nicely too. Personally I quite like just using the base design and dipping crisps or celery in it. Crispy breads, crackers or raw veges are what goes best with it, although putting it in a sandwich with some cheese and salad makes a nice lunch too.

We can buy venison but you would be insane to pay neigh on 30 dollers a kilo when you can kill many kilos worth for a few cents. There is a much more liberal hunting culture over here. Though if you shoot deer you would be nuts not to eat it. My close friend shoots deer regularly and two years ago he got a whole one turned into 40 large sticks of salami. They were superb. Making sausages is quite different but also very very easy. If you want to try that there are thousands of recipes available and just designate an afternoon to do it. They will be ready to use almost straight away.

To get more obscure cuts of meat for curing eg buffalo belly you would probably need to request it at the root lvl. eg go to the abattoir or find a friendly butcher who deals in buffalo. Would Buffalo not be a bit too lean for pancetta? I would have gone for cures like Bresaola, which is a red wine air cure. Bresaola is great with poached eggs rocket or water cres.

I had some smoked pancetta today. It remains my favorite. Maybe you should try it next. You want to do a cold smoke so as to not cook it and I do it just before I hang it. I've chosen to do it then because the pancetta wouldbe too dry after and I figured it is safer after cured. I use Manuka wood which wont be available to you, so you might want to research what one would suit your needs.

Nov 25, 2008
jamo in Features

Make Your Own Pancetta

Allergys suck. My mum is allergic to neigh on everything.

Sounds like the right color and progress. When you take your torch/flashlight out to have a look check the meat surfaces, thats where you will like the salt and/or mold if there is any. You will usually only get salt if the meat absorbed too much. When I first made one I wasnt sure what I had until I got out a hand lense and then did a taste test.

Don't be concerned about a little light - mine got reasonable dosages of halogen bulb - obviously though, its best to keep it to a minimum as it encourages nastys.

I know the feeling about sniffing it. I love sniffing mine, they smell soo good. Sadly some of my flatmates disagreed and said it smelt rancid. Their problem though, not mine. They just don't appreciate the better things in life.

I love my malt vinegar, couldn't live without it. Mix a little with condensed milk (like reduced cream if you don't have it there) and season it however you like. Note that the base taste is rather sweet. Makes for a nice spread or dip. My family has been doing various versions of it for generations.

Do you get venison around your area? I'm keen to try curing some venison or something. They make very nice salami.

Nov 24, 2008
jamo in Features

Make Your Own Pancetta

lol, You lost me on that vinegar bit. If you're asking why you purchased it for the pancetta, the answer is for mold treatment. Incase your pancetta grows little white furries (either mold or salt). The mold itself from everything I've read is harmless but I remove it anyway. Watch for colored mold though (including pale green), these kinds are bad.

The high humidity should be fine, I've read reports that the humidity can be good for taste but does as pose additional risk. Taste for risk seems to be story of everything with pancetta. I wouldn't be too concerned though. Just follow its progress and I'm sure you will notice anything if it does go wrong. I always do a little tester piece afte complete so if something is wrong I'll get it in a small dose.

The firmness is good. Has it dried around the edges and darkened in color much? This isn't anything important, I'm just curious about how fast it is drying.

I would recommend not touching it directly or if you need to cover your hand in plastic wrap. Nor should you let them touch each other if you are making multiples. This applies to all salumi.

Nov 24, 2008
jamo in Features

Make Your Own Pancetta

"Sweet" bacon is probably kind of similar to what you know normal bacon as. Maybe with just a little more sweetness. This discription is more of a comparison to the distinct savory flavor of this recipe.

Il'd say stick to the 15 for now unless you feel some urgent need to take it down. If you run into any problems just remember the vinegar wipe. The malt vinegar adds a nice taste anyway.

As for spoiling I think that is said for two reasons; the first is that pancetta has a relatively short curing time and secondly, often once taken down it is sliced and therefore has new exposed surfaces. It is the same reason you shouldnt hang it for too long.

jamo

Nov 23, 2008
jamo in Features

Make Your Own Pancetta

Hey,

The shortest one I did was about eight days and I had to take it down due to house work. And the longest about three weeks. These times I think are about the reasonable limits of what should be done. Any less and although I suspect it would be safe, there would be no benefit to the hanging and any longer and the bacon will be too dry and may carry health risks. At 8 days the pancetta is still quite moist and soft and the fat will soften during cooking and it will release a fair bit of moisture too. The taste already has all the flavors of the 'cure' but not much of the unique savory flavor of aged meat. Whilst still good I definately recommend longer. 2-3 weeks I found to be the most ideal range for time vs flavor and enough moisture that it hasn't turned into a brick. At this point it should be quite firm (like softish salami) and the flavor imparted should be one of the three most noticeable flavors. After three weeks it becomes more like a hard salami, especially around the edges. However it has a wonderful taste.

I find I do shorter times for sweeter bacons and longer times for savory ones, especially those for salads.

On a side note the flavor is produced in cured meats from 3 sources. denaturing of the meat, bacteria and mold. Although this sounds bad this is the source of the taste and isn't harmful if the right ones are cultured. So obviously with more time comes more flavor and more risk.

I think you must have read 3 weeks to make it as I couldn't find anything sayig otherwise. I often give it a little more cure time and hang time then stated but I do find it hard to be patient when I usually want to eat it as soon as I begin to make it. Another factor to note is how you slice it. A softer bacon will be difficult thinly slice with a knife (a trick here is to partially freeze or at least refridgerate to make thin slicing easier - this applies to all meat). If you have a food slicer though, there no issues anyhow.

I recommend 15 days or just over for your first one before you become too playful.

Nov 23, 2008
jamo in Features

Make Your Own Pancetta

The problem involved with making a leg of proscuitto is it takes a minimum of 6 months and up to 2 and a half years for a better quality one. There are a few basic recipes floating around on the internet and in books but the better recipes are kind of family secrets I think.

As for the tying I didn't have any trouble following the instructions but I can see how you might. The changes I made are; a second line to hang with, making it tyed on four sides. And instead of just looping it around the pancetta, I tied each one off so that when cutting it into smaller chunks for storage each loop will act to hold one piece together by itself.

I just try to roll as tight as I can and that all that can be done. Should be fine though. I haven't had any issues yet.

Mmm paprika would be nice. I tried rosemary in one and that worked alright. Not perfected but it does create a different flavor to the pancetta.

jamo

Nov 22, 2008
jamo in Features

Make Your Own Pancetta

Storing a few bits of data and ideas will be great for future ref. Both for yourself and others.

Yea, the dripping is a bit of an issue but it only occurs for the first few days. After then it evaporates faster than it seeps. I always put a bowl or tray of some form under where I hang it. As it drys you may begin to notice white growth - which as posted elsewhere on this site will either be salt or mold, both easily dealt with. How you tie the pancetta is important as basic design taught allows it to droop and deform. I developed my own methods off the same basis but I figure everybody will have their own needs or desires to achieve here. Avoid air pockets - they scare me a little as one of my flatmates is doing food science and explained some of the unfriendly things I could encounter.

When I started producing them and I went hunting for the componants I got some wierd looks from people wondering if I was nuts. Their problem though - Im the one that gets the end result :D

It is expensive here as well. I would pay $60 NZ a kilo minimum and much more for better quality. Im working towards making prosciutto which I pay $160 NZ a kilo for.

As for modifications, the only essential bit is the curing (salting and refridgeration), elsewise you can substitute anything. Do note however that the impression I have been given is that other ingredients add to its survivability. Ie nutmeg, garlic, sugar and many of the herbs help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria (Many cures for other meats can consist of a coating of straight sugar).That being said, I've already gone so far as to swap out up to 50% of the listed ingredients. Chili would work great! do tell me how that goes as I am keen to try it aswel. Chili may even help the cure. But yea, just be mindful of the possible benefits of some ingredients before removal and if unsure just try some google research.

Flavor wise you will probably notice the primary tastes that come through with the current recipe are the juniper berries (slight gin taste) and the peppercorns. Thyme is definately an important flavor but not dominant. So if you want to make other flavors the first thing to do is cut back on berries. I don't ever remove the pepper because I love it. I'm sure pepper must make up a large portion of my diet. Simply increase the amount of sugar to make it sweet. My friend wanted to to try citrus but I opted not to as I concluded the citric acid would cause the meat to break down and could have drastic health and taste results. I imagine most herbs/roots and spices would work fine elsewise. I had good results from the addition of sauces and pastes, most of which in my case were asian or italian themed. My next step to consider is the addition of large amounts of plant material. eg solid pieces.

Your welcome for the help. I love sharing my interest in the topic.

Jamo

Nov 21, 2008
jamo in Features

Make Your Own Pancetta

Born in Australia but I live in New Zealand now. Lived in the states for two years though.

I think removing the cheese cloth is fine. Though if issues do arise and you use it next time maybe you would need to hang it for longer for drying purposes. I used varying hang times for mine and the results are quite different but none negative. Shorter times made it more like normal streaky bacon but with cure flavors. Longer times resulted in it being alot firmer than average bacon and the fat took on slightly different cooking properties. And obviously the pork flavor itself was more aged. I like the more aged herby flavors while my girlfriend is fonder of the sweeter less aged pancetta.

Feel free to ask for my modifications any time you want. Also after they are made and sliced thinly with a food slicer (or knife) you can add more flavors and store it ^_^. I encourage other people to make some too and post them.

One thing I have heard is very important is humidity control. My grandfather made bacons and salamis and said he lost one or two batches by doing them during the monsoon(wet) season. Your garage and the weather I checked for your local area seem reasonable.

Yea I can imagine pets would find pancetta appealing, I know I do. Sounds like your pancetta should turn out good. Feel free to post your results and thoughts.

You're welcome for the advice.

Jamo

Nov 19, 2008
jamo in Features

Make Your Own Pancetta

Hey jcristi,

I've made just under a dozen thus far without any failures and I've been a bit playful with some of them so I'll try and offer some advice.

I recommend a thermometer even just for use in the future but in the short term I believe the weather where you are at this time of year is about 10-20 C which is roughly around the ideal range. With the ones I made I didn't panic about the temperature unless it was over 20 C. Note that I was using large sea salt crystals as I couldn't procure the right salts. So you have an advantage there. If you are concerned about it being too salty just remember a few things; Larger salt grains will permeate less but still do the job i.e. table salt would make it so salty it would probably be painful to eat, don't add extra salt as a precaution when u go to hang it after the wash because it really wont help much and it'll be real salty and finally it's common practice with homemade bacons to wash/soak them a little right before cooking (Im not a fan as although it does eliminate alot of salt it also loses alot of flavor).

By the sounds of what you said it should work fine. just remember a sweet to savory herb/meaty smell (even though it may seem mildly pungent is good). You will know if it rots as it will smell rancid.

I haven't had any issues with critters but in saying that there aren't too many flying pests I had to deal with. I've hung then in the kitchen, lounge, bedroom basement and all have been fine. The garage may experience greater temp fluctuations and more insects but If you lack anywhere better (or the people you are living with are disgusted by the prospect) I see no reason why it shouldn't work.

Again, I don't think the cheese cloth will have a negative effect but personally I wouldn't bother unless there are lots of bugs and you are very concerned about them. Southern Hams I believe are made in your part of the world and they are wrapped in cheese cloth and are in principle the same concept. The same applies to Prosciutto. Assuming you keep the cloth on maybe you should do a precautionary wipe with vinegar and then just inspect it carefully when you take it down. DW it doesn't harm the taste.

They seem fairly hardy and just take a little TLC and attention.

Any other questions or concerns? Best of luck

Jam0

P.S If people feel like being creative try smoking or use of raw sugar in the recipe - I got good results from both.

Nov 18, 2008
jamo in Features

Easy Pancetta

I've made a few now and all have been great.

As for the nitrites they are somewhat important for curing from what I have read. But here in New Zealand I find curing salts very hard to procure so I have been using large grained sea salt. From what i understand curing salts are essentially kosher salts and the purpose of kosher is to remove the blood. The larger grains draw out the blood rather than just disolving into the meat and making it too salty. So if you cannot have too many nitrites sea salt has worked fine for me. Just be cautious, as I have, because the nitrites were originally used for a reason.

Jul 19, 2008
jamo in Recipes

Easy Pancetta

Thank you.
I sat down with my father who is a geochemist and confirmed that it was in this case fine salt crystals from evaporation. That also explains, as you said, the formation on the meat surfaces. However I decided to follow to instructions of wiping with vinegar and it seems fine now. after a little additional research I've found this is a common approach and adds a savory flavor.
Thanks for your advice.

Jan 04, 2008
jamo in Recipes

Make Your Own Pancetta

I posted elsewhere but there seems to be people with a similar issue here.

The pancetta I produced has developed white patches, primarily on meat surfaces, on the 4th day of hanging. I the conditions are right but air circulation might be a bit low. I didn't use sodium nitrate salt as I am allergic to it. Instead I used extra salt and was very careful and generous with the whole procedure. The smell is sweet and similar to the ingredients used in curing. The patches seem firm, taste salty and are pure white in colour.

I have no qualms about eating mold but I would rather not get food poisoning or something.

Cheers,
Jade

Dec 31, 2007
jamo in Features

Easy Pancetta

Similar as to what occurred for Rilletes I noticed my Pancetta on the 4th day of hanging has formed white patches (especially on exposed meat surfaces) which I first thought may have been mold but when I went to pry some off with a knife I noticed it was firm and tasted salty. The conditions are perfect except air circulation might be low. It may be due to the fact I used more salt as I am allergic to sodium nitrite and therefore substituted with more of the other.

I would greatly appreciate any advice. I can provide more info if needed. Maybe I'll just try it and find out if its ok the hard way :p

Dec 31, 2007
jamo in Recipes