This is a recipe I sort of fell into by accident when left with an excess of pork belly. Whilst curing bacon and pancetta had always been on my list of things to do I was taking quite some time to get round to doing it.
I had bought an excessively large piece of belly and didn’t want to use the whole thing in one dish. Pancetta is actually remarkably easy to make and actually involved less hassle than if I had decided cook up a second different dish for the freezer.
I carefully removed the skin and weighed out my cure. I added salt, rosemary, bay and juniper together and then proceeded to rub this over the meat. The meat was then put into a freezer bag with the remaining cure and left in the fridge. A couple of days later I removed the pancetta from the fridge and washed off the briny liquid after which the meat was noticeably different, having become much stiffer and firmer and taken on a different colour.
I then wrapped it in muslin and hung it up to dry for a week. I decided against rolling it as it seemed an unnecessary faff considering that I was planning on cubing the finished product.
Once chopped up I decided to just fry a bit up on its own to judge the taste. It was brilliant, slightly over salted but still delicious. Definitely worth trying again and with a bit of practice I should be able to get the salt quantities perfectly balanced.
Note: Sorry for the lack of numbers/pictures – rather a spontaneous curing session and I seem to have lost the receipt that I wrote all the salt ratios/timings etc. on. I have since smoked and cured a pork belly which is quite similar and have a few pictures from that.