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Pancetta - an experiment new to me

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  • Thunder77
    replied
    Followed!

    Leave a comment:


  • grantgallagher
    replied
    This sounds very cool. Def following this one.

    Leave a comment:


  • barelfly
    commented on 's reply
    Haha! I’ll need to make a purchase on Friday! Gotta put that on my calendar so I don’t forget!

  • klflowers
    replied
    My wife said I need to buy my own pantyhose.

    Leave a comment:


  • NapMaster
    replied
    This is the way to learn! Keep on posting about your adventure and many thanks for sharing!!

    Leave a comment:


  • ddmcwhirter
    replied
    I'll have to finally collect some juniper berries from what we call our "cedar" trees. I have the book but so far have not tried any.

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  • RonB
    replied
    Keep us posted.

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  • Troutman
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    I’m watching this one with great interest.

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  • Backroadmeats
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    Ya got me too.. watching intently!!

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  • klflowers
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    Lets go! Looking forward to this.

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  • barelfly
    started a topic Pancetta - an experiment new to me

    Pancetta - an experiment new to me

    As with most of us, experimenting and trying new things in the culinary world is what attracts us to this hobby or even profession for some. I am one of those, and have taken to enjoying the process of turning something into more than just a meal. I've experimented with the Umai Dry Bags in the past, but only with whole rib roasts. I've enjoyed the steaks and roasts each time I've gone through the process and as I've read more about the Umai Dry Bag process, have come across the Charcuterie side of Umai Dry.

    About a year ago, a friend bought me the book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking & Curing by Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn. I loved it, ear marked many recipes I wanted to try. But the issue with the arid desert climate of New Mexico is lack of humidity as well as temperature control. I don't have a basement and really no way of truly age-drying a cured meat.

    So, with a little research, the Umai site has some information about taking a recipe similar to Ruhlman & Polcyn's recipe for pancetta. Umai's process is not as clear as I think it could be, but I believe I understand the process of how it needs to go, so on March 15, I began my first take on pancetta using the combination of Ruhlman & Polcyn's Pancetta recipe that I will accompany with one of the small Umai Dry Bags i received in the sample pack I purchased last year. There has also been a great following on the various projects some have done with Umai (ribeye, strip loin, brisket) that I thought I would share the process here as well for those interested in following.

    To start - I took the exact pancetta recipe Ruhlman & Polcyn describe, which is really the same process as curing pork belly for bacon. I've done this process a few times and the bacon after being cured then smoked is outstanding! Recipe is as follows from the Ruhlman and & Polcyn's Charcuterie:

    1 5lb pork belly, skin removed

    Dry Cure:
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    2 teaspoons/14 grams pink salt (Prague Powder #1)
    1/4 cup kosher salt
    2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
    4 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper - reserve half for when rolling slab into roll of pancetta
    2 tablespoons juniper berries, crushed
    4 bay leaves, crumbled
    1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    4 or 5 sprigs freshly thyme

    I combined the dry cure ingredients then rubbed on the slab of belly so evenly distributed. Belly was then placed in a 2.5gallon zipper top bag, closed with as much air out as possible. I will let this cure for 7 days, with every day involving a rub and flip of the slab of belly (without taking the belly out of the bag) so that the contents remain evenly distributed.

    After 7 days, it is recommended to ensure that the belly is firm at the thickest point. if not, letting it go a day or two longer. In my experience with this process, 7-8 days usually does the trick.

    I will then rinse the cure thoroughly under cold water, pat it dry and then sprinkle the other 2 tablespoons of pepper on the meat side of the belly. Then I will start with the long side of the belly and roll tightly as you would towel. Then tie tightly with butcher's twine, ensuring there are no air pockets inside the roll.

    From this step on will be where I alter the process and use the Umai Dry Bag. I will use a 10"x20" roast size Umai Dry Bag, place the rolled belly inside, and go through the normal Umai Dry Bag sealing process of sealing one corner twice, then inserting a vac mouse and vacuuming the air out with assistance and ensuring there is good adhesion to the belly itself. I will double seal and then place the bag inside panty hose to ensure the bag adheres to the belly. Once complete, into the fridge on a wire rack to allow proper airflow to all sides of the belly.

    At this point, begins the waiting game. According to Ruhlman & Polcyn, "because pancetta isn't meant to be eaten raw, the drying isn't' as critical a stage as it is for items such as prosciutto or dry-cured sausages. But drying pancetta enhances it's texture, intensifies it's flavor, and helps it to last longer."

    So I will go off what Umai suggests, and let this belly dry for 4-8 weeks. The Umai site mentions a weight loss of 35-40%, but I don't know how that will work considering the temperature will be lower than what you normally dry belly for pancetta. The Umai recipe also contradicts itself in two areas, so that is why I'm using what is stated in Ruhlman & Polcyn's Charcuterie.

    I've attached a photo, although not the greatest, of the beginning of the curing stage. This photo also includes a 5lb slab of belly I'm curing to use for bacon. Pancetta slab is on the left and bacon slab is on the right. This Friday night I plan on checking for firmness and if all is well, will begin the drying process. I'll update the post with additional photos of the slab as is, washed, rolled and then in the Umay Dry Bag.

    Hopefully everyone will enjoy following the process and learn a little with me as I go along.
    Attached Files

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