This is the before...and this is the after.
It always seems like making pancetta should be more complicated then it is - but just like most food processing - it's just not really that difficult. There are several steps with a bunch of waiting around in between.
Wrapped in cheesecloth like a little present.
What is pancetta? It's a cured but not smoked bacon. You find it mostly in Italian cooking. I just love it. It's like bacon's spicier, more exciting, international sister.
Can you make pancetta at home? Yes you can! Here are the links to my bacon making and pancetta posts.
Unwrapped. See also that the weight decreased. This is from drying out just like it should.
The only thing I do differently is that I don't roll it up. That is the only part of the process that kind of freaks me out. Also, I do such a bad job of skinning the bellies there would be pockets of air in them if they were rolled. So hanging wrapped in cheesecloth is just fine.
But raw meat hanging in the basement... just hanging there? Yep. Can you believe it?
Look at it!!!
After I unwrap them I slice up the pancettas and put them in the freezer. It's so easy just to grab a couple slices, cut up or dice, and then fry up in a pan as the base for a terrific sauce.
If I had somewhere that stayed reasonable cool all year I'd love to do a prosciutto which is an air dried ham... but we have a mostly finished basement so that would never work. During the winter the unfinished side of our basement stays cool enough to hang the cured meat.
I had to fry up a couple of pieces. Yay!
Happy Friday everyone! Did you make pancetta? How did it turn out?