Pancetta - Delays and Drying

The Pancetta that I put into cure on 14th December 2010 got forgotten over the Christmas period. Under normal circumstances I'd have cured it for 7 - 10 days, but this one didn't come out of the cure until 30th December, some 16 days later.

However, this serves as a good illustration of one of the finer points of the method of curing that I use; a method whereby you only put enough cure and salt on the meat to achieve what you want. This means that the extra time has no detrimental effect. Using what some people would class as more traditional methods this wouldn't have been the case, the meat would now be over-cured, too salty and probably containing excessive levels of nitrites or nitrates.

I've rinsed the meat, dried it off and also cut the meat off that would have been between the ribs before they were removed as it would dry too hard; boy-oh-boy does this meat smell good, I'm thinking that a minor adaption of this recipe will make a superb normal bacon. Anyway, the rest of the meat's had 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper and three crushed dried chillies rubbed onto it (although most of the chilli fell straight off!) and is now hanging in my drying fridge at a temperature of 13 - 14°C with a humidity of 70%.

The Pancetta drying

It should have lost around 25 - 30% of its weight in another 3 weeks or so.

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