Bellies, bellies, bellies. I love pork bellies… more so than bacon i think pancetta is the most versatile salumi/ charcuterie. You can start off almost any pasta dish with it, slice it thin and cover a bird before it goes in the oven Usually I don’t roll it like this, once it is salt cured you can hang it up to dry out and it can be sliced and eaten without cooking. Over the past few years that is exactly what I’ve done but for some reason it does not brown well when you cook it. Maybe it has something to do with the lack of moisture in the meat so this year I’m gonna roll it up and air dry in the chamber for3-4 weeks assuming it will have more of a soft bacon like texture. The only issue- I wont be able to just slice and eat. The first thing I am going to do with this is a REAL Carbonara.
The cure is super simple. I want to taste the quality in the pork without the mask of spices on this one.
- 1 Pork belly trimmed and squared off 2185g 100%
- Salt 76g 3.5%
- Cure# 2 6g .25%
- Black Pepper 10g .5%
- Sugar 21g 1%
- Mix cure in a bowl and place the meat in a large container. Evenly distribute the cure mix over the meat and rub it in good.
- Transfer the belly to a bag large enough to hold it. I used a 10 gallon non-scented garbage bag but they do sell large zip locks which would be ideal. Pour the rest of the cure that fell off in the bag as well. It is important you use all of that mix
- Try and get most of the air out of the bag and seal or tie it up. Put in the fridge for 7 days if it is a thick belly. If your using a crappy commercial belly you may be able to get away with less time. However you don’t want to UNDER cure. So its better to be safe than sorry. Your looking for a firm feeling.
- After you feel its done, rinse under cold water and pat the meat dry.
- Make sure it is completely dry, then roll it as tight as possible, tie it up with heavy duty butcher twine and hang it in a cool damp place for 3-4 weeks. Ideally you want a temperature of 55 degrees F, and 65-75% RH.
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