Monday, October 29, 2012


Who doesn't love bacon?  Well, this was a pancetta class at the Sacramento Food Co-op.  It was a hands on class, meaning we got to get in there and get our hands dirty.
The instructor for this class was Jamie Buffington who was fun and informative.
As you may or may not know, pancetta is known as Italian bacon.  Unlike our bacon it is not smoked but cured with salt and seasonings and hung to dry in a cold place.

removing the skin from a slab of pork belly with a sharp flexible boning knife

after the skin is removed the slab is trimmed so it has an even thickness
the salt and spice rub

after the slab has had the rub applied liberally it is put into a  zip lock bag and and weight it down, turning daily for 5-7 days

after the curing rinse off the rub and dry thoroughly

place fat side down, rub meat with cracked pepper, roll tightly
tie off each end to secure the roll

tie all (4) sides with a butchers tie so that it is netted and holds the roll tight
hang the tied and rolled pancetta in a cold place for 2-3 weeks

 After the pancetta is dried and cured you can cut the roll into manageable sized portions and freeze.
Use as you would bacon.
Mine should be ready in another week and a half or so.
I was thinking we would get a small piece of this pork belly to cure at home, never did I think we'd get a half a pork belly.   I can't wait until mine is ready.
If you see this class being given at the Co-op again I urge you to take it.

Here is the rub mix we used:

3Tbs Dan Barber's pork belly cure (recipe to follow)
1/2 C kosher salt
1/2C brown sugar
4 bay leaves torn into small pieces
1 Tbs juniper berries
3 Tbs chopped rosemary leaves
1 Tbs chopped fresh sage
7 cloves garlic chopped
1 Tbsp fennel or coriander seed crushed
Mix all ingredients together.  Rub all sides of the pork belly liberally with the rub.  Store pork belly in a zip lock bag to cure. 5-7 days turning daily

Dan Barber's cure mix

1/4 C fennel seeds
1/4 C cumin seeds
8 tsp black peppercorns
4 pieces star anise
4 pieces cinnamon stick
2 tsp whole cloves
4 Tbsp ground coriander
1 C salt
2/3 C sugar
In coffee grinder or food processor grind everything but the salt and sugar.  Transfer the ground spices into a bowl and stir in the sugar and salt.  Store left overs in an airtight container.

after hanging in the fridge for two weeks my pancetta is done.
I have to say it looks pretty darned good.  I sliced off a slice and fried it up and it is delicious!  Well worth the time and refridgerator space.


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