Pancetta in the Pantry

Pancetta in the Pantry

pancetta in the pantry
This isn’t the greatest photo in the world, but here’s the 2008 pancetta in progress. This year I used the gorgeous pork I bought from my Milk Lady — it was significantly meatier than the commercial pork belly I bought last year. This proved something of a challenge when it came time to roll this puppy — it was more like wrestling than rolling, but I did finally get a nice, tight cylinder.

I started out with the pancetta in the basement, because it’s cooler than upstairs, but it’s so dry down there (this is the west, after all). I couldn’t get more than about 20% humidity down there, and it’s between 30-40% upstairs thanks to the winter humidifier. The pancetta seems much happier upstairs. It’s not drying out too fast, or getting that hard skin on it that Ruhlman’s book tells you to avoid. And it’s sort of cheery in there with all my home-canned goods from this summer. My inner old-immigrant-woman is very happy every time I look in there. I’m set for winter: pasta, tomatoes, pancetta, jam, a big basket of onions from my garden.

5 thoughts on “Pancetta in the Pantry

  1. Mmm. . . looks good.

    I never thought about the fact that the West is very dry and how that might affect food preservation and/or storage. Does it make it very difficult to store things properly, in a root cellar, for instance?

    Hope the pancetta tastes as good as it looks!

  2. I don’t know how root cellaring would be different — I haven’t got one, although they’re not uncommon in town (there’s also a plethora of bomb shelters thanks to those years when the Church Universal and Triumphant [CUT] sort of took over the place). The nice thing is you don’t have to worry about crackers or chips going stale — but it can be a challenge when hanging meat. I’m going to try sausages as well, I’m curious to see how they work out … but our humidity levels are rarely more than 40-50%, sometimes it’ll spike before a summer thunderstorm, but it’s dry dry dry here. Our average precipitation is something like 16 inches a year.

  3. I can’t believe I haven’t thought of making my own pancetta. I want to try making everything else, I don’t know why I wouldn’t have thought of this one. *laugh* Mostly I’d just written off all of the yummy recipes I’d like to try with this ingredient because I figured it would be too hard/expensive to obtain pancetta here in MT.

    Which book are you using?

  4. The indispensible Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn — it’s fabulous. And go for it — pancetta is easy — and so cost-effective to do a whole one!

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