Pancetta

Pancetta

By
From
A Year of Practiculture
Makes
2-3 kg
Photographer
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

This little gem is Italian bacon. I’d been buying it for years and using it in cooking, but when I moved away from pork products due to the factory-farming issue I missed it too much. So when I got my own pigs, I started making it myself. As for anything, there’s a bunch of different ways to make it, and there always seems to be someone saying their way is best, blah, blah, blah. That really puts me off being a foodie. The very thought of competition in food is a bit of a wank, really.

I don’t overdo the spice and herb mix. I’ve added fennel, dill and other dried herbs in the past, and it’s turned out well each time, but then I was limited as to how I could use it in cooking, as those herby flavours would be present. Savvy? I prefer to keep the pancetta simple, so that it’s just dry-cured belly – and that has a distinctive taste of its own anyway. I use basically the same curing process as I do for bacon, but I do add black pepper to the belly when I roll it.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2-3kg pork belly
260g salt
handful freshly cracked black pepper
butcher’s twine

Method

  1. Carefully cut the skin off the pork belly and trim off any loose bits. Coat the pork belly in the salt, rubbing it all over for an even covering.
  2. Place the salted belly in an airtight plastic container and refrigerate for 7–9 days. Each day, flip the meat over so the liquid drains from the meat.
  3. Once the meat has hardened (because the salt has drawn out the moisture), wash the salt off.
  4. At this stage, I cut off a small slice and fry it to check its salt content. If it’s way too salty, I pop the meat in a pot of cold water for a few hours, which reduces some of the saltiness. Drain and allow to dry completely before continuing.
  5. Lay the belly down on what was the skin side. Evenly sprinkle the pepper over the meat.
  6. Cut a 1 metre length of twine, then roll that belly up nice and tight. Strongly tie one end of the rolled belly with the twine, then make a loose loop in the long end of the twine, pull it down over the roll to just below the first tie and pull tight. Continue this process until you get to the end of the rolled log of meat.
  7. Take another long length of twine and thread it through those loops from one end of the log to the other. Repeat this step four or five times, making lengthways threads that will provide some support to the pancetta as it cures hanging up.
  8. Hang in a non-draughty, fly-proof meat safe for 8–10 weeks, then treat as you would a bought pancetta.
Tags:
rohan
anderson
practiculture
whole
larder
love
sustainable
sustainability
grow
harvest
forage
hunt
seasonal
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