• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Pancetta stopped dehydrating..

bernieross

Fire Starter
33
11
Joined Jul 30, 2017
Hi folks. I'm air drying some flat (not rolled) pancetta. This is from a magnificent 30 month old mangalitsa pig, so has a high fat content. It's now been drying for four months. I keep it in a humidity controlled fridge, where it has hung at about 75%, and 14 degrees C (57 F). Recently drying has been slow, despite me taking the down to 71%. The pancetta is at 78% of its original weight. The last few days it has actually gone backwards, and increased in weight by about half a gram per day. This is a very traditional pancetta, with the skin on. I know it can be difficult to get guanciale down to a 70% target because of the skin and high fat content and suspect this might be the same. Should I crank the humidity down further and persist, or is it probably safe to eat? I was intending to eat some of it raw, like prosciutto. The cure was a No. 2 (nitrite and nitrate), plus salt of course.

On a related note, should I calculate from the original weight of the meat, or the meat plus the cure? I know it usually doesn't make much difference, but as I may be on the margins of safety here, it's suddenly an issue. Any opinions?
 

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
25,356
2,977
Joined Nov 12, 2010
Bernie, morning.... I'm not too sure but..... I don't think fat dehydrates too well.....
Fat doesn't hold much moisture so there's no weight to lose....
Slice it in half and check the meat... You can always rub the cut surface with lard and hang to dry again....
Reducing the humidity will only create case hardening... Not too good....
 

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
25,356
2,977
Joined Nov 12, 2010
What was the meat weight... and the additives weights.....
 

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
18,727
3,120
Joined May 12, 2011
I'm going to say, It's done. Weight reduction in Pancetta is about the keeping quality. Drier meat keeps longer. But stored in the Curing Chamber it will keep a Long time. As Dave pointed out, Fat does not contain water. You are only concerned with the lean meat. It should have a texture similar to Prosciutto or Coppa.
From a eating raw Safety concern, there is none, I'm assuming the Hog ate no raw garbage containing meat scraps or Rodents that could pass on Trichinella. In any event, like any Intact Meat, Bacteria is only on the surface. Between the Salt and Cure #2, there should be no active pathogens. Eating it raw should pose no issues...JJ
 

bernieross

Fire Starter
33
11
Joined Jul 30, 2017
Thanks Dave! Starting weight was 1.541 kilos. 46 grams total weight of cure. I use a ready mix containing 99% sea salt, potassium nitrate (0.4%) and sodium nitrite (0.6%). Excess was rinsed off after a good long cure (maybe too long?) of 16 days, in a vacuum sealed bag. Add to that about 50 gm of pepper, fennel seed, sage and garlic which I applied after the cure. Weight is now 1.255. Very little liquid came out during the cure. I have a large coppa from the same pig, which has reached its target weight, and although there's no case hardening I've wrapped it and am letting it equalize for a few days before cutting.
 

bernieross

Fire Starter
33
11
Joined Jul 30, 2017
Thanks Jimmy and Dave. I think I'll do as you suggest - cut it and see how it looks. From the outside it looks very authentically Italian. With a nice coat of pearly-white mould.
 

Attachments

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
18,727
3,120
Joined May 12, 2011
Nice. White mold has anti-microbial properties...JJ
 

bernieross

Fire Starter
33
11
Joined Jul 30, 2017
Wow! One end has such a high fat content it's almost like a lardo. But cutting it in half exposes the lean - which itself is marbled with fat. No surprise that it wouldn't lose more weight. The fat is so soft, it begins to melt and go transparent when I touch it. The lean is gloriously dark, as I was told to expect from a 30 month old.

Please forgive me for not saying more at this stage - I've just tasted it, and I'm currently having a deeply moving religious experience…
 

Attachments

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
25,356
2,977
Joined Nov 12, 2010
Sounds as if you are enjoying the moment, anyway.. Must be darn good... Pass me a slice please...
 

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
18,727
3,120
Joined May 12, 2011
That description says it all. Congratulations...JJ
 

Hot Threads

Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.