I have a question on making pancetta

  • Hello.


    I have a question on making pancetta.


    I had been curing 500 grms of pork belly to make pancetta for a couple of weeks.


    Now, I have been drying the cured

    pork belly in the fridge for several weeks.


    It is 385grms now.


    Do you think it is dry enough to eat it raw or do you think I still have to keep drying it?


    I heard you have to reduce the moist from the cured pork belly for 40 %.


    Am I right?


    Thank you in advance.

  • Yukkie1 I am no expert but everything I have read and tried recommends at least 35 % overall weight loss. Which on a 500g pork belly would be 175gm. Finished weight 325g,

    I woulD be leaving it for another week or two.

    Never enough BBQ


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  • What is in the cure? Any nitrates or nitrites?



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  • It's something I have only used a couple of times and not for years, so again no expert. But this is one of those times I would follow the instructions exactly. From memory there is both a time and moisture loss component, so I'd be doing what the instructions say.


    Cured raw meat is not something you want to get wrong.



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  • I used instacure #2.

    Interesting. I cure pancetta the same as guanciale. I only use salt to cure it. Does the instacure have any advantages?

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  • Narm Naleg there a few reasons to use instacure: the main one being it kills bacteria

    • Prevent the possibility of botulism in the meat.
    • Aid in preservation.
    • Improve the flavor of the finished product.
    • Render the finished cooked product pink in color (if you don’t use a cure, your bacon will be grey).

    Never enough BBQ


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  • Thanks Bushy.

    I must admit that I still can't see the advantage. The first two are already done by salt. With the other two, pancetta isn't bacon and shouldn't taste or look like it.

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  • pancetta isn't bacon

    Traditionally, Pancetta, Guanciale, Prosciutto etc is made using salt and air drying, you can use nitrate curing salts but really, there is no need to. Bacon was also traditionally just salted then air dried.


    The use of curing salts is relatively new to meat preservation and was driven by the need to considerably reduce production time and increase shelf life. The cure sets the Myoglibin in the meat and stops it from turning grey when cooked. This is why ham is now pink instead of the grey it was a century ago.


    Nitrate is also where the "Smoke Ring" comes from, it is not smoke it is the nitrates in the vapour from burning wood that mixes with the salts in the rub and moisture and "Cures" the outer edge of the meat. You can get a Smoke Ring in a normal oven so long as there is some nitrate in the rub you put on the meat.


    Heatbeads use Nitrate salt as an "oxidising agent" which means it helps the Heatbead ignite, it also has the added benefit in that the nitrate given off will promote a smoke ring.

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