#11  
Old 01-29-2010, 07:59 PM
heliman's Avatar
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Default Re: Pancetta

This sounds rather complicated now. What sort of safety risks are involved? Do you risk getting food poisoning ... or worse?

Rossco
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  #12  
Old 01-30-2010, 11:23 AM
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Default Re: Pancetta

I can't speak authoritatively to the safety implications (I've made plenty of bacon, including pancetta, both with and without pink salt)... but without curing salt the bacon never tastes or looks quite right.

Last edited by BrianShaw; 01-30-2010 at 11:27 AM.
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  #13  
Old 01-30-2010, 01:00 PM
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Default Re: Pancetta

Rossco, I wouldn't worry about the safety issue, just find a reliable recipe and follow the directions. Many people make American style smoked bacon without the pink salt preservative as they are cured in highly salted environments and are usually then "cooked" a bit while smoking and immediately frozen or refrigerated. The results, however, without the pink salt will turn grayish during cooking, which many of us aren't used to seeing in cooked bacon . Pink salt, BTW, is regular salt with a small percentage of sodium nitrate (5-6%) added. It is dyed pink to distinguish it from regular salt. It is easily available online or locally if you have a good butcher or game processor around. You'll typically use a small amount per recipe.

In the case of the pancetta, I decided that, since it is not cooked, and it stays in an unrefrigerated environment for such a long time, I'd go ahead with the P Salt. The recipe I posted suggests drying at 60*F, and some have reported going as high as 70*F, but that seemed like it was just asking for trouble. The temps outside here were running 30 - 40*F (very mild winter!) so I put it under cover of the grill. A frig would work as long as you kept it well aerated with good circulation. Some people go as far as using one of those small refrigerated wine cabinets the big box stores often carry. For me, the grill solution worked and was safe and sound. Well, mostly ... I did have a few sleepless nights after my niece crossed paths with a bobcat in our barn and I kept imagining it trying to get into the grill, but that's, as they say, another story .

Think about starting with some smoked bacon. It's an easy process and your family will never look at you the same after you throw an 11 lb slab of pork belly on the counter . The basic recipe I use came from here . Smokers can be dedicated units (Big, Little, and Mini Chief products are excellent), or as simple as an electric burner and some flower pots (see Alton Brown on that one).

Pork: It's great stuff!!

Pdiff

Last edited by Pdiff; 01-30-2010 at 01:05 PM.
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  #14  
Old 01-30-2010, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: Pancetta

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pdiff View Post
Smokers can be dedicated units (Big, Little, and Mini Chief products are excellent), or as simple as an electric burner and some flower pots (see Alton Brown on that one).
Although real smoke is best, I sometimes shortcut: liquid smoke and oven roast in 200 deg oven, on a rack, to 150 deg internal temp.

That's a very interesting site. Other recipe sources are Michael Ruhlman's Charcauterie book and the sausage book from Sausagemaker in Buffalo.
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  #15  
Old 01-30-2010, 04:38 PM
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Default Re: Pancetta

I've heard about the liquid smoke, but never tried it. Need to do so sometime. Do you dry the bacon some before the "smoking" and how much do you use?
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  #16  
Old 01-30-2010, 07:32 PM
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Default Re: Pancetta

I do whichever recipe as normal up through the wash and iar-dry in refrigerator. Then brush with liquid smoke when putting into oven on rack. Often I brush again when halfway to 150 deg. I never really measured but think about 1 Tbsp for a 5 lb bacon. Wrights is the best brand.
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  #17  
Old 03-08-2010, 04:59 PM
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Default Re: Pancetta

This thread got me excited about making pancetta. I ordered pork belly from Sea Breeze Farms and I asked the guy about pink salt. He said that when he makes his pancetta, he only uses sea salt. I've found it fairly difficult to find an online recipe that doesn't include pink salt. The few I've found just said something vague like "I added more salt to compensate for not using pink salt." Not very helpful. I guess I'm stuck using pink salt, huh?
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  #18  
Old 03-08-2010, 10:03 PM
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Default Re: Pancetta

Papavino,
In this case, I would recommend the pink salt. Unlike American smoked bacon, which cures in the fridge, is smoked briefly, and then immediately refrigerated again, the pancetta air dries and cures at relatively warm temps for a long time (2 weeks). Although you might be able to get away with a heavy salt, IMO, it's not worth getting it wrong :-) Besides that, you could end up with pancetta that is too salty, even after rinsing. With all the resources you have in Seattle, pink salt should be easy to come by. You only need a small amount.

Do try the pancetta. It is delicious. In fact, I have another batch halfway through the cure now. I'm trying to stock up before it gets too hot to cure it outside. Problem is, I keep using it . It's Mario Batali's fault!

Pdiff
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  #19  
Old 03-09-2010, 06:49 AM
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Default Re: Pancetta

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pdiff View Post
In this case, I would recommend the pink salt.
I concur. For a while I went through a phase of non-nitrite curing for bacon and pancetta. Bruce Aidells, I seem to recall, said that pink salt is unnecessary. I trust him but did the experiement and went both ways for comparison. I can assure you that the taste and color difference resulting from using pink salt when curing is a significant difference... and a definite improvement on the final product.

P.S. There are a number of soruces of pink salt -- google butcher supply and you'll find them. Another source (if I may be so bold as to mention a particular shop) is a place called the Savory Spice Shop in Denver. I bought a pound of pink for about $5 from them. Morton salt has pre-blended curing salts, including maple and hickory flavored but I can't source them anywhere... even in the humongous city of los Angeles.

Last edited by BrianShaw; 03-09-2010 at 06:53 AM. Reason: added p.s.
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  #20  
Old 03-09-2010, 10:11 AM
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Default Re: Pancetta

Yeah, I've seen Morton's Tender Quick in a few grocery stores, but I've been hesitant to purchase it for the pancetta. I'd like to use sea salt and brown sugar and the tender quick uses regular Morton's salt and granulated sugar. There is a place near Safeco Field that carries pink salt in 5 lb. containers, so I'll probably hit that up and see if I can convince friends to cure their own meats, also, so we can actually use it up.
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