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Curing expert opinion needed on first pancetta project

alx.frh

Newbie
3
0
Joined Nov 19, 2020
Hi everyone,

I am starting my curing journey and pancetta is the first project I am working on as I heard it is easy start for noobs.
I would like to get the experts' opinion as I am worried the curing is not doing well due to the colouring difference in the meat.

Context:
I have a piece of pork belly that weighs 2000 grams.
I applied a curing mixture on the 4th of November and put it in a ziplock bag with an aim to cure it for 3 weeks before hanging it to dry for 4 weeks.
Below is the curing mixture ratios

1605817971423.png


I have been flipping the bag every 2 days.

I received my vacuum sealer 2 weeks into the curing (19th of November), so I decide to use it and check on the meat situation.
I cut a piece of 500 grams to put it in the vacuum sealer bag as the whole piece doesn't fit in it.

When I cut it, I was surprised to see that the meat has a different colour between the upper and bottom part.
The upper part has a darker colour which according to my research means that it has cured whereas the bottom part still has a soft pink colour which was the original colour of the meat.

I still have 1 week of curing to go and I would like to know if I need to make any changes now before the project fails.

I hope you can help on this one.

20201119_195448.jpg
 

thirdeye

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
1,313
1,302
Joined Dec 1, 2019
I've never interrupted a curing cycle to slice meat, and I've never used Cure #2, but it's my understanding that the nitrite component starts to work first, and the nitrate component changes into nitrite over time in sort of a time release fashion.

Different muscles have different amounts of myoglobin and will look differently after curing (or when smoking without cure), so that alone could explain the diferent color. This is the rib end of a smoked pork loin, one muscle group is always darker than the other.
9qIb4px.jpg
Here is some bacon from various belly sections cured with Cure #1, I can see less color differences in the muscle groups of the bacon in the foreground than the background, not as dramatic as your's, but mine has been smoked.
CVQxusO.jpg

What was your procedure for applying the curing mixture? For example, I like to mix my cure with the salt and sugar first, then apply 1/2 to the inside face, and 1/2 to the outside (fat) face plus the edges. Then I add the aromatics or seasonings as evenly as possible. And also, what temp is your refrigerator?
 

dernektambura

Smoking Fanatic
681
342
Joined Oct 12, 2017
you're good... top portion of the bacon slab is more worked up by salt than inner part meaning, top portion is different in colour because of less content of water... Salt didn't yet start working on inner portion... Even after you are done curing and drying, panchetta will always have more dry portion closer to surface and softer part as you go deeper in... just give it a time...
 

pc farmer

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
Administrator
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
14,830
4,007
Joined Feb 17, 2013
That looks normal. Now that you took it out of the cure and cut it, now what? You lost some of the cure and seasonings. Whats your next step?
 

alx.frh

Newbie
3
0
Joined Nov 19, 2020
Thanks everyone for your thoughts.
I applied the curing mixture (salt + cure#2) first, equally all over the belly including sides and then the seasoning (that had the sugar too).
I was worried that mixing the curing mixture and seasoning could create an imbalance during the application and that some parts might have more salt than others. That's why I decided to keep them separate.
I put it in a ziplock and off they go into the fridge.
The fridge's temp was at 7° and a humidity of 50% but it is now between 10 and 15. I'm plugging in and out manually but I'll be installing a humidity and temp controller to maintain the above range when I hang the pieces next week.
After I cut it, I vacuum sealed both pieces and added the remaining seasoning from the previous bag.
 

alx.frh

Newbie
3
0
Joined Nov 19, 2020
I've never interrupted a curing cycle to slice meat, and I've never used Cure #2, but it's my understanding that the nitrite component starts to work first, and the nitrate component changes into nitrite over time in sort of a time release fashion.

Different muscles have different amounts of myoglobin and will look differently after curing (or when smoking without cure), so that alone could explain the diferent color. This is the rib end of a smoked pork loin, one muscle group is always darker than the other.
View attachment 471603
Here is some bacon from various belly sections cured with Cure #1, I can see less color differences in the muscle groups of the bacon in the foreground than the background, not as dramatic as your's, but mine has been smoked.
View attachment 471604

What was your procedure for applying the curing mixture? For example, I like to mix my cure with the salt and sugar first, then apply 1/2 to the inside face, and 1/2 to the outside (fat) face plus the edges. Then I add the aromatics or seasonings as evenly as possible. And also, what temp is your refrigerator?
I am in less of a panic now after your explanation and sharing your pictures. I see that your bacon has between 2 to 3 colours.

The reason why I used cure #2 is because most websites, videos, recipes suggested to do so if I want to cure and dry it for more than a month with the intention to turn it into cold cuts and not cook whatsoever.

The next project on my plate will be duck breast prosciutto.
 

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