Pancetta di Thurlaston

The finished pancetta

I wrote before Christmas that I was making a Pancetta and was cutting right back on the spices. I know this because I've just had to look at my previous post to see why I've not included nutmeg in the recipe! My memory's not what it was, it must be my age!

If you make it, try to get a very thick piece of belly pork from the butcher; the one I used wasn't really thick enough because the shrinkage is quite considerable. It looks thicker in the photo than it actually is. What looks like green/black mould is actually beneficial white mould on top of the powdered black pepper that I used because I was too lazy to grind the course black pepper that I included in the recipe!

Trim the belly well before curing - whether you remove the skin at this stage, or after drying, is up to you. Remove the flap where the ribs have been and any pieces of meat that are between the ribs, you'll only end up throwing them away after drying. In fact, it's best to have the bones taken out as a sheet you'll then be able to use the trim in sausage or pork pies and save wastage.

...and so to the recipe:

Pancetta di Thurlaston

Weigh the Pork Belly and mix the following percentages of its weight:

Salt 2.4%
Muscodavo Sugar 0.6%
Cure #2 0.27%
Ground Black Pepper 0.24%
White Pepper 0.07%
Crushed Juniper Berries 0.07%
Dry Thyme 0.07%
Garlic Powder 0.07%

Mix the cure ingredients together and rub it into all of the pork belly. Use about 85% on the meat side and 15% on the fat/skin. Put the meat into a food grade plastic bag and put it into the fridge to cure. Turn the meat over every couple of days and give it a rub through the bag.

After 7 days, rinse (not soak) the meat and dry it off. Mix 1 tbsp roughly ground black pepper and 3 crushed dried chilli's together and rub this onto the meat side of the pancetta.

Ideally, hang it in a temperature of 12 - 15°C with a relative humidity of about 75% for a minimum of 2 weeks, or until it's lost about 30% of its weight. If this isn't possible it will probably be OK in the fridge, but the lower humidity may cause it to dry too quickly. If this appears to be the case you may need to wrap it loosely in something like baking parchment or greaseproof paper.

There's also no reason why this cannot be used as a fresh bacon after just a few days drying. In this case use 0.26% of Cure #1 instead of Cure #2.

To make the calculations easy, you can use this online calculator:

Pancetta di Thurlaston
Weight of Meat in grams gm
Salt gm
Muscodavo Sugar gm
Cure #2 gm
Seasoning Weights:
Ground Black Pepper gm
Ground White Pepper gm
Juniper Berries gm
Dry Thyme gm
Garlic Powder gm
Total Weight of Cure gm
Instead of Cure #2 you can use Cure #1 plus Saltpetre. The amounts are:
Cure #1 gm
Saltpetre gm
If using US Cure #2 reduce the amount to:
US Cure #2 gm

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Posterous
  • Reddit
  • Technorati
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks

There are six comments


Ive ben following your recipes for some time now and wanted to ask for your advice if possibel?
When making Pancetta for an Antipasti are their other procedures required over normal cooking pancetta? I will use cure #2,. Should i just wait till i have lost around 35/40% weight, water loss??
I look forward to your reply.
Kind regards

carl, - 11-04-’12 08:00

Yes, for antipasti I’d use cure #2 and over 30% weight loss. Personally, I’d go for a rolled pancetta for eating raw – ensure that it very finely cut otherwise it’s horribly chewy. Larbo’s orange pancetta would be nice for this:

Please let me know how you get on.

Phil, (URL) - 11-04-’12 20:09

Hello Phil
I’m just about to start curing a belly joint to your recipe but, as I like my Pancetta smoked ,can you tell me if I should (cold) smoke it prior to the drying period or before?

Mel, - 04-01-’13 13:53

Hi Mel,
If you want to cold smoke it, you should cure it, rinse it, leave it to dry in an air-flow for a couple of hours, then cold smoke it, followed by air-drying it.
A dry surface will take smoke better than a wet one.
I hope that this helps and that you enjoy your Pancetta.

Phil, (URL) - 04-01-’13 22:56

can you use cure 1 if your only going to cook the pancetta

Neil, - 02-03-’13 09:44

It’s not whether you cook it, or not. More a question of time.

If the curing/drying is going to be less than (say) 20 days, then by all means, use cure #1.

I hope that this helps: please let me know how you get on.

Phil, - 03-03-’13 01:18

I'm somewhat incapacitated at present so replies may take some time. Please post urgent enquiries at the forum.

(optional field)
(optional field)

You need to enter the first 3 letters of food in lowercase type for your comment to be allowed

Comment moderation is enabled on this site. This means that your comment will not be visible until it has been approved by an editor.

Remember personal info?
Small print: All html tags except <b> and <i> will be removed from your comment. You can make links by just typing the url or mail-address.
/* */