Somehow I got onto charcuterie. I ate some in Sacramento on a recent trip at The Grange. It was “house made”. I wanted to make my own. Next I came across a web site to teach me and inspire me. The site is Mrs. Wheelbarrow. That site started something called “Charcutepalooza”. Each month they put out a challenge. In January it was to make duck breast prosciutto. I ordered a duck breast, followed directions and it is now hanging my garage. Should be ready to eat any day now.
That’s it, wrapped in cheesecloth and hanging from a string. Being a male I had to assemble a few pieces of equipment and tools. I found the refrigerator at the Ventura Swap Meet for $20. I got the meat slicer at Goodwill for $12.99. The thing hanging on the side is a temperature regulator. The sensor is inside and I can set the temperature of the box to 60 degrees if I want. Usually refrigerators won’t go that high. Drying and curing the meat needs a temperature between 50 and 60 degrees. I also will hook up a humidifier and gauge to keep the humidity about 60% by a similar system. I’ll be able to control those two variables all year round.
The February challenge from Charcutepalooza is to make bacon and/or pancetta.
As luck would have it I went to a vintage photo show in the Helms Bakery and had some time to kill so I shopped at Surfas just down the block. They had a frozen pork belly and the pink salt I also needed. I got 6 pounds. That was more than I needed but it was the same price as 3 pounds shipped UPS in those cold cartons.
I sliced the thawed belly into three portions. The ends will be come bacon and the square middle will become pancetta.
I dredged the slab in the dry cure of Kosher salt, sugar and pink salt.
I put each slab into a 2.5 gal. freezer bag and into the refrigerator for a week. I’ll turn it daily.
What will happen next?