Pigs and Pancetta

Many local farm suppliers are only too happy to sell you half a pig, usually rare breed; Gloucester Old Spot and the like. They generally weigh around 55-60lbs for the whole side before boning and making into whatever pieces you require.

For curing, I want a side off a much larger pig, a 'baconer'; a side of this will weigh between 80-100lbs. The one I picked up last week from Don Hutton at Warwick Bridge Farm, Littlethorpe weighed 93lbs and has given me 75lbs of usable meat (60lbs excluding hocks, trotters, liver, heart and cheek). By the time it's converted into ham, bacon, sausage, faggots etc I'll have about 70lbs of edible products, with a value had I bought them, of £200-£300. This photo of a piece of loin being dry cured for back bacon shows the size of this 'beggar'.

Loin of Pork

Don also sells 'normal sized' pigs in ¼ pig packs ready butchered for the freezer!


I've made all the usual things like , and and decided that my first venture into air drying meat would be pancetta. This Italian streaky bacon is made by dry curing bacon with a load of spices added to the cure, and then hanging it up to dry for a month or so - apart from the spices, that's how we made bacon a few years ago! Supermarket price is between £7.50/lb and £13.50/lb - mine about £1.50!

Firstly, take a nice chunk of belly pork:

Belly Pork

Make up the following cure:

Weigh the meat and mix the following percentages of its weight.
Salt 2.4%
Black Pepper 1.9%
Brown Sugar 1.1%
Cure #2 0.26%
Juniper 0.43%
Bay Leaves 0.07%
Nutmeg 0.19%
Dry Thyme 0.12%
Garlic 2 cloves per kg

You can buy cure #2 from www.sausagemaking.org. You will need scales accurate to at least a tenth of a gram to weigh it: these can be bought cheaply on ebay for about £10.

To make the calculations easy, you can use this online calculator:

Spicy Pancetta Cure Calculator
Weight of Meat in grams gm
Sea Salt gm
Brown Sugar gm
UK Cure #2 gm
Total Amount gm
If using US Cure #2 use:
US Cure #2 gm
Ground Black Pepper gm
Crushed Juniper Berries gm
Bay Leaves Crushed gm
Ground Nutmeg gm
Ground Thyme gm
Garlic Cloves Crushed cloves

Rub about 10% of the mix onto the skin side of the meat...

Rub mix into the skin

and the rest into the flesh...

Rub cure into the flesh

Rub it into all the 'nooks and crannies' (that's 'nooks and crannies' Not 'crooks and nannies'!) and then stuff the lot into a plastic food grade bag and put it into the fridge for a week or so. Turn it over every day or two.

It'll be interesting to see how this comes out as this cure recipe from the Cured Meats blog has one of the highest levels of spices and herbs that I have seen in a pancetta cure.

Now, it's just a case of waiting until the cure has worked its magic...

Other posts about this pancetta:
For the drying instructions please see - Pancetta Part 2
For the finished product please see - Pancetta Part 3 - ready to use

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There are three comments


good post

Peter, - 15-03-’12 06:50

can you supply the conversion as an excell spredsheet?

Peter, - 15-03-’12 06:52

To create a spreadsheet, just use the percentages from the recipe above. The % for US cure is 2.4%.
I hope this helps.

Phil, (URL) - 15-03-’12 19:19

I'm somewhat incapacitated at present so replies may take some time. Please post urgent enquiries at the www.sausagemaking.org forum.

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