Hartley Farm Pancetta

Kindly donated to me by Will, the butcher from Hartley Farm, Bath.
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This is my pancetta hanging in my lean-to area on the side of my house (in winter)

Ingredients

  1. 3kg pork belly – as meaty as you can find, skin/rind removed
  2. 50g soft brown sugar
  3. 10g crushed juniper berries
  4. 4g ground nutmeg
  5. 50g all purpose curing salts (This is from sausagemaking.co.uk and takes the place of salt and cure, use ~15g per kilo of meat)
  6. 40g cracked pepper
  7. 4 sprigs of thyme
  8. 4 bay leaves
  9. half a head of crushed garlic

Remove the rind/skin and some of the external fat under the rind.

Weight the meat and record the weight.

Crush up the garlic and rub it all over the meat.

Then sprinkle and massage the cure all over the meat; make sure it contacts all areas.

Then grind up the rest of the spices into a powder and sprinkle and rub into the meat.

Place in a large ziplock bag (or vacuum pack) and place in fridge, massage and flip every day for 7 days.

Remove, wash, dry, tie up with string (sterilise the string by microwaving in water for a five minutes) and hang in a cold (but not too low or too high humidity) place for two weeks. A fridge is not perfect as it is low humidity but it will do if you don’t have a cold room or area in your house – make sure air can circulate to keep a mixture of healthy microorganisms around, this way you are likely to let harmless ones exclude the harmful ones (the niche exclusion principle).

Inspect it every day and if you see any signs of mould wipe down with a clean cloth and 1:1 red wine vinegar:water mix. This should help keep anything nasty from growing to excess and also add an extra element of taste (Tip from ComradeQ on sausaugemaking.com).

Weigh the meat again and make sure you have lost at least 30% of the original weight.

It should not smell bad. If it does trust your nose and bin it. If it smells bad it is likely to be Pseudomonas; a food spoilage bacteria. If you get green mould but it smells ok it is likely to be Penicillium, this is actually mostly ok and you can just cut or wash it off (apparently this is what all butchers do they just don’t tell us that bit!)


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