Friday, October 19, 2007

It's a Pancetta!

I am delighted to announce that I am the proud father of a 1lb 12 oz pancetta. Thanks to the simple instructions in Messrs Ruhlman and Polcyn's excellent book "Charcuterie" (coupled, of course, with my own highly superior cooking skills :) the labor was easy and the results sublime.

This pancetta could not be more different from the type one is used to buying in the neighborhood deli. The mass produced stuff is much "wetter" and really only good for cooking. The pancetta that I made is chewy with an earthy aroma and can be eaten as it is, like prosciutto di Parma. It's wonderful.

Thanks again to Trent Hendricks of Hendricks Farms and Dairy for providing me with the pork belly for this, and once again, my hat's off to Ruhlman and Polcyn for an excellent book that has done so much to revitalize the ancient craft of salting, smoking and curing meat.

You can see some photos that show the pork belly as it moves through the process of becoming pancetta here.The final product is shown on the slide show below. You see it hanging in the kitchen and not in the basement because the basement proved to be too dry (40% humidity vs 60% in the upper floors of the house).

10 comments:

The Foodist said...

Did you compare it to the piece you cut off earlier?

bob said...

Awesome! That's next on my Ruhlman/Polcyn list!

Bob del Grosso said...

Foodist
I did compare the piece that was cured but not air-dried to the finished product. The differences are not surprising but remarkable. The air dried stuff is earthier, and because it takes longer to chew, much more flavorful.

ruhlman said...

bob,

i don't know that its dried enough to be good, or advisable, to eat raw, but i'll trust you. and you had a great source for the pork. but i want people to know that it's aged for flavor, not for preservation, it takes on a really cool, funky, earthy depth that you can't buy.

congrats to the happy father and thanks! you did a beautiful job tying it. but no pic of the finished product?

roast slices between silpats for perfect pancetta chips.

Bob del Grosso said...

ruhlman
I did post pics but they tanked.
They should be okay now. And you are dead on about the earthy taste. It's like eating Gaia, trees and all.

The Foodist said...

Good deal!

GG Mora said...

Oooohh...

I just got my belly into its cure today; I'm so looking forward to the end product. Thanks for the inspiration. I'll post pictures on my blog when its done.

(I used the other half of the belly for a slow braise that was so good I'd marry it if I weren't already spoken for.)

Scotty said...

Congratulations on the new arrival. My Saucisson Sec experiment beings tomorrow!

Charlotte said...

So weird that we were on identical pancetta schedules -- mine was a commercial pork belly, so it's not as meaty as your gorgeous one -- but it came out great -- and this was SO easy! cheers ...

Bob del Grosso said...

Charlotte
Do you have photos of your pancetta? I'd like to see them. For the record: mine is very good but I'd prefer just a bit more fat.
Scotty,
That's a much better photo. The tranny Julia thing was illin.