Recipe: How to Make Pancetta Arrotolata — Our Daily Brine
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Pancetta Arrotolata (Rolled)

Pancetta Arrotolata (Rolled)
January 17, 2014 Kyle Hildebrant

Be forewarned: Pancetta is quite possibly the gateway drug. The melt-in-your-mouth quality paired with simplicity and gratification of making your own at home, will have you hooked. Before you know it you’ll be butchering a pig and building your own curing chamber for your next salumi project—or at least you’ll never buy the cheap store-bought stuff again. I’ll teach you how to make pancetta at home.

Pancetta, a Primer

Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly. But unlike it’s American counterpart, bacon, it is not smoked (aside from smoked pancetta, but that’s a different story!). Pancetta comes primarily in three forms: Arrotolata (rolled), Tesa (flat) and Steccata which can be made rolled or folded then pressed and tied between two sticks.  The rolled variety is typical of Northern Italy, while the flat variety is common to the Central and Southern regions. 

Like any salumi, the spice variations are endless. Each region, village and family has their own rich history and tradition. Black pepper, juniper, bay, garlic, thyme, oregano, and rosemary are all common.

An Introduction to Salumi

If you’re flirting with the notion of making your own salumi or salami, pancetta is an excellent introduction. It’s dead simple to make, takes the least amount of time and requires much less environmental control (more on that below).

Sodium Nitrite Prevents Botulism

In order to make rolled pancetta safely you need sodium nitrite. Sodium nitrite is used to prevent the growth of botulism-causing bacteria and decrease the growth risk of Listeria monocytogenes. It also retains the rosy-red color and enhances flavor. Botulism grows and thrives in anaerobic environments (environments without oxygen). The bacterium that cause botulism is present on the outside of meats. When you roll your pancetta, you are creating the perfect environment for botulism. Nitrite prevents this. If you are dead set on making pancetta without it, make the flat (tesa) kind. It’s much safer. The thick layer of black pepper (a natural antibiotic), rolled into the pancetta, also aids in preventing bacterial growth and rot.

Insta Cure #1, also called Pink Salt, is colored pink so as not to be confused with regular salt. Cure #1 contains 6.25% sodium nitrite and 93.75% salt. Cure #1 is commonly used in bacon, hotdogs and other products that need less or no drying time. Insta Cure #2 contains both sodium nitrite (at 6.25%) and nitrate (at 1%), with the remaining 92.75% being salt. Simply put, nitrates act as a time-released nitrite. Nitrates are employed in salumi that requires longer periods of curing and drying. The time-release of nitrite continues to protect the meat over time. If you are making pancetta which will be cooked, you can use cure #1. If you intend to make a traditional pancetta arrotolata, which is fully dried and eaten without cooking, you should use cure #2.

Nitrites/Nitrates: A World of Misinformation

There’s been a whole world of misinformation around nitrates and nitrites and how they may “increase risks of cancer”. While I won’t delve into this topic here, it’s simply not true. Dr. Terry Simpson has an excellent article, backed by a multitude of studies and references debunking the myth. I’d encourage you to read it if you’re of the “nitrates/nitrites are bad” camp. 

“Where you receive it (nitrite) actually makes no difference because nitrite is nitrite. In other words, the nitrite derived from celery or other vegetables is exactly same as the nitrite found in cured meats.” — Jeff Sindelar, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin

Nitrates are commonly found in leafy greens and root vegetables like spinach, beets, celery and lettuce. The nitrate in these foods are converted to nitrite when it comes into contact with human saliva. Then, when it is swallowed, the nitrite becomes nitric oxide—an essential and critical compound used by the body to maintain normal blood pressure levels, fight infection and support the nervous system.

Here’s the kicker: Those “naturally cured” and “nitrate-free” marketed products available at your local “health food” store contain nitrite, because they use ingredients like celery juice/powder, rich in nitrite, as a “natural” curing ingredient. Moreover, the amounts of nitrite in these products is typically much higher than that of the conventional method. It’s just marketing, friends.

A Word of Caution:

On its own, pure sodium nitrite/nitrate is dangerous. This is why cure #1/#2 is dyed pink. A single teaspoon of pure sodium nitrite/nitrate ingested is enough to kill a grown man. It’s important to pay close attention to amount added to the cure. In almost all salumi this amounts to 0.25% of the total meat weight. In the example below our pork belly weighed 2,855 grams. 0.25% of that weight is 7.25 grams. That’s not a lot, and emphasizes the importance of weighing our ingredients. The reality is this: Anything used inappropriately can be dangerous. 2-4 pills of acetaminophen can be used to cure the effects of a long night of drinking, while a fist-full could cause your liver to fail, and you to die. In the same, nitrates and nitrites are only dangerous if used improperly.

Sliced Pancetta Arrotolata

Always Source Natural, Good Quality Meats

As with all salumi, quality and freshness of meat is of paramount importance. Find a good local butcher or source directly from a farm. Let them know what you are doing with the meat, try to get the freshest available and use it as soon as possible. For this pancetta I sourced my pork belly from Carlton Farms, one of the larger suppliers (read: competitive prices) here in Oregon that still practices ethical, natural farming. Freshness is important because bacteria multiplies over time. In fact, every 20 minutes the bacteria present on the outside of meat doubles. Reduce the possibility of bad bacteria by using fresh meat.

Special Ingredients & Tools Needed:

  1. A precision scale for spice measurement (Reference: Kitchen Essentials: Scales)
  2. A general, high-capacity scale for weighing meat (Reference: Kitchen Essentials: Scales)
  3. Butcher’s twine
  4. For Semi-dried pancetta (must be cooked): Insta Cure #1 (also called Prague Powder #1, DQ Curing Salt #1, or Pink Salt)
  5. For Fully-dried pancetta (can be eaten without cooking): Insta Cure #2 (also called Prague Powder #2, or DQ Curing Salt #2)

Making Pancetta is Simple:

  1. Grind and apply all cure to pork belly
  2. Wrap tightly with cling wrap (or vacuum seal) and store in refrigerator
  3. Cure for two weeks or more, flipping every couple days
  4. Remove from cure, rinse and dry
  5. Coat meat side thoroughly in cracked black pepper
  6. Roll, tie ends with butcher’s knot and truss tightly (this demo video is helpful)
  7. Tag with date hung and weight of meat
  8. For Semi-dried pancetta (must be cooked): Use cure #1 and Hang to dry for 3 weeks to 1 month
  9. For Fully-dried pancetta (can be eaten without cooking): Use cure #2 and Hang until enough water weight has been lost — 15-20% weight loss for a fattier pork belly — OR — 20-25% weight loss for a leaner, meatier pork belly. It should feel firm when squeezed. Starting weight should be calculated at a point after curing and when you hang the pancetta to dry.

Learn to weigh your ingredients:
The only way to accurately measure your dry ingredients is by weighing them. For instance, a tablespoon of Diamond kosher salt is much different in weight than a tablespoon of Morton’s kosher salt. If you are going to make salumi you cannot do so without an accurate scale. Weigh your ingredients.

Finished Pancetta Arrotolata

Pancetta Arrotolata, fully-dried 3 months at 57ºF and 77%RH; eaten without cooking

The environment for hanging:
The ideal environment for drying is 50-70ºF (10-21ºC) with 60-70% relative humidity. Pancetta can be hung to dry about anywhere: in your kitchen, basement, garage, closet, etc. It’s best, however, in an environment that get’s a bit of humidity, like above a kitchen sink. You can dry pancetta in your refrigerator, though frost-free refrigerators maintain a low humidity. If you decide to dry in a refrigerator, position a tray filled with salt water, below the pancetta. This will create a micro-climate with increased humidity.

As light makes fat go rancid, direct sunlight should be avoided. If you’ve found the perfect environment, but light is an issue, you can thoroughly wrap the pancetta in cheesecloth to keep out the light. 

The Cure:

I’ve shown my own weights here for reference. The easiest way to approach salumi is to use percentages of total meat weight. So, if your pork belly weighs 2.88 kilos (2,885 grams), your curing mixture would contain 2.75% (80.5 grams) of the meat weight in salt.

% of Meat Weight
Quantity (grams)
Pork Belly N/A 2,885 grams
Salt 2.75% 80.5 grams
Insta Cure #1 OR #2 0.25% 7.25 grams
Brown Sugar 1.75% 50.5 grams
Black Pepper 1.8% 52 grams
Red Pepper Flakes 0.5% 14.5 grams
Juniper Berries 0.5% 14.5 grams
Garlic Powder 0.25% 7.25 grams
Thyme, Dried 0.25% 7.25 grams
Bay Leaf, Dried 0.15% 4.3 grams 

Download a Printable Worksheet

Pancetta Arrotolata WorksheetThis handy worksheet specifies percentages of ingredients for the Pancetta Recipe, with a space to record your weights. There is also space to record your Cure Start Date, Hang Date, Hang Weight and Target Weight.

Download: Pancetta Worksheet

Frequently Asked Questions:



“My pork belly has been curing for a while now, but there is not much water loss and it doesn’t feel a lot firmer. Did something go wrong?” It’s not uncommon to have little to no visible loss of water. There are a few reasons for this: First, pork belly is often comprised of more fat than muscle, and fat contains little water, while muscle contains a lot of water. Second, if curing in a tightly wrapped plastic or a vacuum bag, the salt will pull out what little water is present, it will mix with the dry cure ingredients, form a brine, and then be pulled back into the meat. This is what’s referred to as equilibrium curing. Sometimes you will have visible water, sometimes you will not. Either is fine, given you give your pork belly enough time to come to equilibrium, which should be two weeks or more.
“I’ve got mold growing on my pancetta, should I be worried?” As a general rule of thumb: White, non-furry mold is desirable. Blue and green molds are acceptable, but do not taste particularly great. Mold can be washed off while drying, or before eating. Use a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water, dab on a lint-free cloth, and wipe the area to remove. Orange and red molds are often considered dangerous. If you believe you have red or orange mold, you should considering tossing everything and disinfecting your curing environment. Molds spread very quickly. If you are getting a lot of mold, your humidity may be too high.
“Should I buy pork belly with the skin on, or off?” On. You will also never find a traditionally made pancetta arrotolata without skin on; if it has been removed, then it is cased in a natural casing. The skin or casing promote a longer drying period, which allows the more subtle and nuanced flavors to develop. If you have the option, leave the skin on. You can always remove it later.
“I cannot find pork belly with the skin left on, and I do not have a casing. Can I make pancetta without skin or casing?” Absolutely. The photos on this page are of a pancetta made without skin or casing, because the pork belly was not available with skin, and I did not have a suitable casing at the time. The results will still be excellent.
“Can I let the pancetta dry in the refrigerator?  You could, but it would be better in a place with more humidity. Refrigerators typically hover around 30-40%RH (relative humidity). Your pancetta will age better and avoid hardening of the outside if you dry in an environment closer to 60-80%RH as possible. You can place a tray with salt water under your pancetta in the refrigerator and this will raise the RH around it. The salt prevents mold growth and helps regulate the RH at around 60-70%.
“Can I make pancetta without nitrate or nitrite?” You can, but I would suggest you do not. Those that do are often using some sort of curing agent like a specially made celery powder to impart the nitrates/nitrites. It’s also hard to control just how much nitrite you are getting from the celery powder. What’s more, there is no difference to your body. This is not a “healthy alternative”, it’s just marketing. Use the nitrate/nitrite.
“How do I tie/truss the pancetta?” There’s a great instructional video here: How to Tie Pancetta
“How do I store it after it’s done drying?” Wrap tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. It should keep for around 3 months, if not longer.
“I’ve had my pancetta in the refrigerator for a long time. How can I tell if it’s bad?” It is cured, it’s designed to last. If it smells bad, it’s probably bad. If it’s gross and sticky, it’s likely bad. Use common sense. And for god’s sake, don’t throw away pancetta unless you really have to. There are starving children in Africa.
“What scale do you recommend for precision measurements?” I’ve documented the case for using weight measurement vs. volume measurement, and provided details on the scales that I use. That can be found here: Kitchen Essentials: Scales
“Can I use a less fattier cut than pork belly?” No. Make a salad.

Homemade Pancetta Arrotolata (Rolled)

  • Servings: 24+
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly. But unlike it’s American counterpart, bacon, it is not smoked. Like any salumi, the spice variations are endless. Each region, village and family has their own rich history and tradition. Black pepper, juniper, bay, garlic, thyme, oregano, and rosemary are all common.

The Meat

  • Pork belly, skin on preferable, removed fine

The Cure

  • 2.75% kosher salt
  • 0.25% cure #1 — or — cure #2 (see directions)
  • 1.75% brown sugar
  • 1.8% whole black peppercorns
  • 0.5% red pepper flakes
  • 0.5% juniper berries
  • 0.25% garlic powder
  • 0.25% thyme, dried
  • 0.15% bay leaf, dried


  1. Wash the pork belly with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. This reduces the amount of bacteria present on the pork.
  2. For semi-dried pancetta (must be cooked), use cure #1 in your curing mixture. For traditional, fully-dried pancetta (can be eaten without cooking), use cure #2 in your curing mixture.
  3. Combine all of the cure and spice ingredients in a spice grinder and pulse until ground finely.
  4. Coat the belly very well on all sides, rubbing the cure into the meat. Use all of the cure. Any which doesn’t stick to the meat should be including when wrapped.
  5. Wrap belly tightly, several times, in cling wrap, or vacuum seal in a bag. Place the curing meat into the refrigerator. The meat will expel water as it cures. If using plastic wrap, something to catch drippings will come in handy. Allow the meat to cure in the fridge for two weeks, flipping every couple days.
  6. After meat has cured, remove from wrapping and rinse. Dry well.
  7. Toast peppercorns in a pan until fragrant, but not burnt. Thoroughly coat the meaty side of the belly with cracked peppercorns. Use more than you think you should.
  8. Role the meaty side with peppercorns toward the middle. The fatty skin side should face out. It’s important to roll and tie the pancetta as tightly as possible. If there are air gaps inside it will rot.
  9. Tie each end with a butcher’s knot, then truss the entire belly tightly.
  10. Weight the trussed belly and record the date and weight on an attached tag.
  11. Hang in an area with higher humidity, like over a kitchen sink, or in a basement. Temperature is ideally under 70F. Keep out of direct sunlight, as light makes fat go rancid. You can wrap pancetta in cheesecloth.
  12. Allow to hang for at least a month for semi-dried pancetta, which should be cooked before eaten. For pancetta that is fully cured and dried, hang until 20% of the weight is lost; after which it will be safe to eat without cooking.


Traditional pancetta arrotolata is always fully dried and eaten raw, sliced very thinly like a prosciutto. It is worth the additional drying time. You will also never find a traditional arrotolata that does not have the skin left on the belly, or is not cased in some natural casing like a bung. Skin and casing promote a longer drying period, which allows the more subtle and nuanced flavors to develop. If you’re patient, it’s worth it. If not, pancetta without the protective skin or casings is just as worth pursuing.

By Kyle Hildebrant, Our Daily Brine
Our Daily Brine is my personal journal of food exploration and experimentation; covering topics of fermentation, preservation, salumi and all things charcuterie. I appreciate your part in this journey. Please comment, ask questions, offer criticism, or simply say hello.


  1. johnahibblebble 9 years ago

    Hey great post Kyle! Really comprehensive overview of what pancetta is and the truth about nitrates which I fully agree with. This blog has great potential (: cant wait to read more!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 9 years ago

      Thanks, John. I appreciate that. I still have a bit I want to add to this post so it’s clear. Question: I was considering putting together recipe “work sheets” that you could print out. This would have the ingredient, the percentage, and a blank to record your own measurement based on meat weight. Essentially like the table above, but without the weights. Would that be something you would find helpful? If not you, maybe others with less salumi experience?

      • John Hibble 9 years ago

        That’s a great idea Kyle. When I first started curing meats I used to do just that. I’d diligently record starting weights and salt and then track weight loss as the meat dehydrated. I created a blank chart where I’d plot the weight loss against time. This was great learning. Now I still measure but I tend to just write it on a kitchen calendar or even on the plastic when I vac-pack meats during curing.

        • Author
          Kyle Hildebrant 9 years ago

          I’ve made a chart. I’ll post in the next day or two. You’ll have to let me know what you think.

      • paulomarin 8 years ago

        Hey Kyle… Just a note to say I loved your post.. Will buy the pork belly tomorrow and do it your way.
        I also thought it would be great if you could do a post on Porchetta and in the future, a curing chamber. I am curious to know your thoughts.. thanks… Paulo Marin… Thousand Oaks, CA

        • Author
          Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

          Paulo — Thank you kindly. I’ve been considering a porchetta post. I’ll put that on my (long) list of things I need to complete and post. And the curing chamber, I’ve been meaning to do that as well. That’s actually toward the top of my list. In the meantime, my fellow salumi maker Jason has a post on the topic. It’s from a while back, but has all the information necessary.

          • paulomarin 8 years ago

            SATURDAY IS THE DAY :)
            Kyle… I am all set to make my Pancetta this weekend “A LA KYLE”
            Bought all the ingredients and will try to keep a “step-by-step” record with pictures to share with you.. Also, on November 4th, I fly to Applegate, Oregon for a 2 day class with the good people from Farmstead Meatsmith on how to process a pig for Charcuterie. You ought to check them out ( ).
            Once again….Thanks!. I could not have started if it was not for your inspirational instructions my friend.

          • Author
            Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

            Paulo — So glad to hear it. Just returning from China. How was the butchery course? The Portland Meat Collective also offers a lot of great workshops on the topic. Be sure to let us know how the pancetta turns out. You can post photos on the ODB Facebook page, if interested.

          • paulomarin 8 years ago

            It was an amazing thing… I got a lot of pictures an videos. I will go to Facebook. However, I have the video of the slaughter which I tell you, was the most humane thing I have ever seen. Brandon is a master. People need to see this.
            I can’t wait to show you some stuff..



  2. jean hildebrant 9 years ago

    Looks beautiful and very thorough. It’s full of great information and easy to follow. Makes me think even I could do this ;-)
    Love seeing you fulfill one of your dreams!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 9 years ago

      Thanks, Mom. You’re more than capable. You should give it a try sometime.

  3. stephanie 9 years ago

    What!?! Homemade pancetta!? Seriously amazing. And how cute is that comment from your mom?


    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 9 years ago


      You have to try it! It’s easy, but rewarding. Do it.

  4. Tra 9 years ago

    Great post! I’m so tempted now. The only issue is I don’t know how my roommates will deal with raw meat hanging out in our shoebox kitchen for a while. Any odor/sanitary precaution?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 9 years ago

      Thanks, Tra. If you hang in kitchen, and are concerned about flies or something “getting on it”, you can simply wrap it in a bit of cheesecloth. Because it’s mostly fat, and most of that fat is wrapped toward the outside, there’s very little odor of any kind. You’d have to get your nose right up to it to smell it. Even then it’s not a bad smell. I’d say give it a go. You can also dry it in your fridge if you have space for it to hang in there. It’s less ideal and will dry quicker than you want it to, but many people do so.

      • Tra 9 years ago

        Just got the porkbelly slab during my lunch break and super excited to work with it tonight. I was timid tho so I got a baby piece (a little over 2 pounds). Does that affect the curing and drying time at all?

        • Author
          Kyle Hildebrant 9 years ago

          Congrats! It wont affect the curing time (as long as you use the method here and weigh your salt; using the exact amount). I’ve actually got one in the cure right now that’s been there for three weeks because I have not had time to tie and hang it. Just leave it in for two weeks. It should dry quicker though. You can eat it raw when it’s lost about 15-20% of it’s weight (which really all depends upon how fatty it is—super fatty maybe 10%). It should feel pretty firm when you touch/squish it. If it feels “squishy” let it dry longer. That Work Sheet should be helpful if you print it out. Good luck.

  5. innersyncstudio 9 years ago

    I’m lovin’ it Kyle. Could be doing the pancetta this week already. My belly has been frozen so I plan to thaw it out thoroughly and get started. I’d like to get your thoughts on something. Whether I’m doing a whole muscle coppa, a pancetta, or anything else that requires a curing/brining stage before drying (I too have been vacuum-sealing) I have seen so many variations… i.e. seal first with only the kosher salt and cure for X days… then take out and wash off, then add your spice mix… and then seal back up for X days. Then, I see where you mix the spices and the cure and everything all at once and leave until you remove and hang to dry (flipping of course). I’m trying to get my head around the washing off part. Seems if you mixed all your spices in early, you’d be washing them off too. I know those flavors should be inside the meat by that time, but, still, I’d like to have that layer of spices on the outside remain. I haven’t seen this discussed much anywhere. The pancetta is handled quite differently than how I handled my coppa. Thanks!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 9 years ago

      A few of us were having a conversation about this the other day. The same sort of question was raised: “If salt is pulling water out of meat, wouldn’t it make sense to season after this, so the seasoning stays in contact with meat?” Something like that.

      Here’s the reasoning to do both at the same time: Seasoning penetrates deepest through osmosis. When using the equilibrium curing method we are using an exact amount of salt, and we are either vacuum sealing, or wrapping tightly with cling wrap. When salt draws the water out from the meat it mixes with the spices creating a spiced brine. This salt/spice/water mixture (brine) is then eventually pulled back into the meat—that’s the equilibrium part. The brine mixture seasons the meat better (deeper) than a post-salted, dry-rub method would.

      A far as washing off goes: You can always apply a dry rub of spices before hanging. This will have little affect on the taste of the meat inside, but will be present when slicing and tasting that outer portion of the cut. In the instance of the pancetta recipe here, we are doing that with the black pepper. It serves as seasoning and an antiseptic. It was traditionally used purely as an antiseptic to prevent botulism and rot when rolling. Because we have cure #1 present here, it’s mostly for flavor.

      Does that make sense? Did I answer your question? If you want that dry-spice rub on the outside, I’d just reapply some fresh spice afterward.

    • Mike 10 months ago

      If you had to use a casing, what type and size would you recommend?

  6. Jason Morgan 9 years ago

    Kyle, I did it just as you suggested and also appreciated the little note sheet to figure out my weights. This is the first time I’ve used things like brown sugar, thyme and bay leaves in a project. It smelled great and I hope I can bring it to fruition to enjoy it! It’s in the fridge and I’ll flip it a few times before putting it in the chamber. Here are pics: – Inspiring post. I’ll be watching for more!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 9 years ago

      Jason — It makes me very happy to hear that this has inspired your first pancetta. I’ll say sorry now. It’s a slippery slope… and as I’m sure you’re starting to find with your other salumi projects, a rewarding one as well. Keep us posted. (p.s. Your link didn’t work for me).

  7. Keith B. 9 years ago

    First off, I want to thank you for taking the time to post such interesting recipes for people new to charcuterie, like myself. I was inspired by your recipe for pancetta, in fact, that is what I am writing in regards.

    I’m ten days into the cure, and it doesn’t seem to be working the way I would expect it to. I say this for a couple of reasons. I am not seeing any sort of buildup of water or liquid. There are a few drops of water on the inside of the bag, but not a significant amount. Even the thinnest portions of the belly are not firming up like they should.

    I should probably mention that up until now, all of the bacon I have made has been brined, rather than made with a dry cure, so I may be expecting something other than what I will get.

    I took the liberty of creating a Excel spreadsheet, based on your worksheet. I double checked it by inputting the values that you gave in your example. The start weight (trimmed) of my belly was 2380 g. I then added 66g of (Kosher) salt, and 6 gram Sodium Nitrate.

    My questions, then, are my results typical? Does this sound like it will all work? Or should I add some extra salt to give it a boost… or extra time? Can you even make an assessment based on the information I have given you?

    My experience is fairly limited thus far. I have done a number of batches of ‘American’ style bacon, some peameal, some smoked pork hocks and loins and a batch of smoked andouille. Any suggestions or input would be greatly appreciated.

    I look forward to you reply.

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 9 years ago

      Keith —

      Thanks for reaching out. It’s really not that uncommon to not see a lot of water loss. There’s a few reasons for that:
      The first being that it’s likely that the majority of this belly is fat. Fat contains very little water, while meat contains a lot of water. Second, if brining in tightly wrapped plastic or a vac bag, the salt will pull out what water is there, it will mix with the dry rub, form a brine, and then be pulled back into the meat. This is what we refer to as equilibrium curing. We use an exact amount of salt and that eventually reaches an equilibrium where the water is pulled out, salinated, and then pulled back in.

      So, long story short, it’s pretty normal. Sometimes I get some water floating around in the bag, sometimes I do not. Most all the time it eventually gets soaked back into the meat (given enough time), which is good.

      I’d give your belly a bit longer. Let it go for 2 weeks, just to make sure all is well. It’s never going to get hard, but it should a little firmer to the touch. It will never be as firm as meat will be, because not much cellular change is happening with the fat portion. Other whole-muscle salumi will get a lot firmer that pancetta. it’s simply a question of how much meat vs. fat.

      I wouldn’t add more salt. 3% (2.75% salt and the ,.25% curing salt) is about the top end. You can go as low as 2-2.5% total. But above 3% is going to give you some really salty product.

      Good luck! Hope that’s helpful.

      • Keith B. 9 years ago

        Thank you for your response. It’s good to know that things are more or less on track. As things stand now, It will finish it’s two weeks of curing this coming Saturday. I’ll let you know how it works out, if you like. I’m pretty sure I took some early pics, so will take a bit more up to the hanging stage.

        I really appreciate, both your original post, but also your willingness to help out and answer my questions. And as a bonus, I learned a few new things, too!

  8. One note about the above. While one teaspoon of -only- nitrates has the potential to kill you, curing salt is only 6.25% nitrite in cure #1 and 6.25% nitrite/ 1% nitrate in cure #2. You should obviously be careful and understand the dangers, it’s important to note that the nitrate/trite level is a small percentage of the overall cure.

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 9 years ago

      Christian — You are correct. I had intended to relate that via “…On its own, sodium nitrite/nitrate is dangerous…”, but I see how that could be interpreted as cure #1/#2. I will revise for clarity. But as you mentioned, regardless, it should be handled with care.

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 9 years ago

      I updated this language now and included “pure” before. Hopefully this is a bit more clear.

  9. Ciao Kyle- Great post, thought you would enjoy my short vid on making rolled pancetta at our friends pig farm in Italy. We offer knife in hand whole hog butchery courses at our farm, inn & cooking school La Tavola Marche, hope you can make it out one day you would dig it!

  10. dong-ha kwak 8 years ago

    This really helped me a lot! I just followed your recipe and had great result out of it. Too bad I can’t post the pictures here. Thanks again!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

      Excellent. Happy to hear it. It would be nice if there was an easy way to share images… but I guess that’s a good task for social media.

  11. Jan Heijstek 8 years ago

    Exellent presentation/explanation! Thank you Kyle

  12. donario2012 8 years ago

    I know this is late in the game considering you posted this almost a year ago, but I have a question regarding the percentages. I too created a spreadsheet in Excel so that I could easily equate weights based on how much meat I am using. I used your percentages as a reference but am receiving slightly varying results. For example,

    What is 0.25% of 2885
    = 0.25% * 2885
    = 0.0025 * 2885
    = 7.2125

    I realize this seems nominal, but your example calls out 7.25

    I ask this only because I have cured bacon a few times and my first time was by volume and was a disaster. The second round was closer, but still was off. I’d hate to put the effort into a pancetta and patiently wait a few months only to find out it didn’t work out.


    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

      Donario, It’s never too late in the game. To your question: It’s simply rounded. (1) Very few people have scales that have a resolution greater than 0.01g / 0.00035oz. There are scientific scales with that resolution, but they are astronomically expensive; (2) calculating anything to a degree smaller than 1/100th of a gram is pretty ridiculous and unnecessary—and trust me, I’m all about precision and ridiculousness. Moreover, you’re talking a few grains that would make absolutely zero difference in the outcome. In short: 7.25 is close enough.

      As for your failures with volumes, unfortunately, that’s all to common—and it seems even more so with bacon, as that’s one of the first “curing” recipes that people typically take on. I’ve written on the topic of volume vs. weight measurements.

  13. Roy 8 years ago

    Great recipe Kyle!
    Here is my rolled belly, pre-aging!

    Can’t wait until I can try it!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

      That’s awesome, Roy. I love seeing these photos. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Roy 8 years ago

    Thank you for the recipe!

    Small question, it’s been 2 weeks since I hung the pancetta. It’s sitting at ~60% humidity but the skin feels really dry and hard while just underneath the meat feels quite soft (lost about 10% weight). Is that okay or will I get case hardening?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

      Forgive the delay. The skin on a pancetta will get hard. That’s just fine. I’ve begun pricking the skin before hanging to facilitate drying, though I’m not yet certain this has any real affect. If you can get the humidity higher, that would be good. Either way, you should be fine. Remember it’s not going to loose a lot of weight if it’s a high percentage of fat.

  15. aaron 8 years ago

    Great article. Very well designed recipe. I have been doing a lot of charcuterie lately and really like the way your recipe was laid out. Are you able to email that template that can be edited? I would like to consolidate my recipes in the same format. Thanks for a great blog!!!!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

      Aaron, Thanks I appreciate it. As for the layout, are you referring to the Worksheet I assembled? If yes, it was created in InDesign. If you have that (most non-design professionals do not), I’d be happy to send.

  16. joris dubuc 8 years ago

    If i rolled m’y panchetta ans vacum bedore putting in thé refrigetor ???

  17. Steve 8 years ago

    Hello. Great and helpful site. When you say to add the cure/rub the cure into the meat and wrap in cling wrap, does this include the spices? Or do I add the spices after I wash the pancetta?
    Thanks in advance

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

      Sorry for the late reply. Yes, they cure and spices are all applied at the same time.

  18. Lew K. 8 years ago

    Kyle, I hope your still tracking this post. First off i have successfully done this following your instruction using cure # 1 and it turned out awesome! So thank you for the in depth tutorial. Now i want to try it using the the cure #2, I am confused on one part, you mention to dry it to 20% using cure #2, is that weight after cure (after salts) or before cure (before salts)? Thanks man!

  19. Author
    Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

    Lew ‚ First, that’s great to hear. Thank you for sharing. Happy to hear it turned out well. Second, I am referencing the weight of the pancetta after it has dried. You should take three weights: (1) First is the weight of the raw meat before curing and in order to calculate the amount of cure needed; (2) The second is the weight of the meat after curing, and in order to set a “before” weight to determine weight loss in drying. We often refer to this as the green weight; (3) The last weight is your target weight. When we refer to “XX% weight loss”, this is the weight measurement we are referring to. Weight loss is factored by subtracting the amount lost from the green weight. The difference between (1) and (2) is usually pretty minimal (especially in pancetta, as belly is a fatty cut and you’re not extracting much water from fat.

    • Lew K. 8 years ago

      Awesome! Thanks for the fast response, keep up the good work!

  20. Frank 8 years ago

    Hi, this is by far the best guide to pancetta on the internet! However, I’m concerned by the fact you recommend curing the belly for ‘2 weeks or more’. Most recipes I have found for streaky bacon suggest that belly cures in 5 days – is there a reason you suggest 14? Mine has been in 8 days and I’m getting concerned it might end up a bit salty.

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

      Thanks, Frank. As for time in cure, you first need to understand that there are two general approaches to curing: The first, we will call the “salt box” method. This means that you place your whole muscle in a “box” (or whatever) of salt and gauge the amount of curing based on time in said box. This type of method is somewhat necessitated by very large scale producers (which you are not, I assume?).

      The second method is what we refer to as “EQ” curing, or “EQuilibrium” curing. Equilibrium curing uses a precise, exact amount of salt/curing and spicing ingredients. Because the amount is precisely what we intend to be imparted, there is no chance of over curing the meat.

      So, let’s compare the two: With both, our desire is to impart a certain amount of salt/cure into the meat. With the saltbox method we use time to do this. So many recipes will say “5-7 days in this large amount of salt will impart the amount of salt you need…” The problem with this approach? There are too many variables at play for a “recipe” to consider the correct amount of time. For example, take the amount of fat in the meat and the size of the meat. These are huge factors in the amount of time necessary to absorb the desired amount of salt. Most people start by approaching whole muscles in this fashion, because it is “easier” than calculating the exact amount; or because the idea of using a scale (rather than a teaspoon, cup, etc.) is a scary one.

      The problem? More often than not people end up with overcured/salted meat. I cannot count how many times I’ve seen “This came out way too salty!!”. Is that a fault of the recipe? Not necessarily—it’s a fault of the method. It’s simply too hard to predict the different variables and provide a recipe that can account for these variances.

      The answer? EQ curing. We say say: “I’d like this to have 2.75% salt”… we weigh our meat, calculate how much salt is 2.75% of that meat weight, and then use that to cure. And the benefit? It can never over cure. Why? Because we have used the precise amount of salt/cure in our recipe—rather than trying to use “time” as a method of imparting the desired amount of salt/cure.

      Which brings us full circle to your question… “is there a reason you suggest 14?” Yes! Because on average it takes that much time for the whole muscle to reach equilibrium with the cure that we add. In the case of EQ cure, it’s only a factor of giving it enough time. For example, I recently went on vacation and forgot 4 various coppa that I had curing. They got lost in the back of my curing fridge in their individual vacuum packs. I found them 4 months later. Were they over cured? Nope. Why? Because I used EQ curing to impart the exact amount of salt. I simply removed them from the bag and hung them in the chamber.

      The moral of the story? Use EQ curing. Unless you are producing large quantities of salumi, where individually weighing and curing muscles is time/cost prohibitive, it’s the fool-proof way to ensure perfect, exacting results every time. No more over-salted, failed salumi projects. So, if you followed the method here, and used the exact amount, there’s no concern with over-curing the pancetta. Cool?

      • Frank 8 years ago

        Wow, this is a very informative reply, thanks Kyle!

        I’m using a premixed organic cure from, which is recommended at 5% of meat weight. I’ve yet to try it for longer than 5 days, so it will be interesting to see if that recommendation is the right amount for an EQ cure.

        • Author
          Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

          Frank — It’s difficult to speak to something other than the recipe here. I looked but they don’t even disclose what is in the “organic curing salts”. Maybe it’s a celery powder and salt mixture. You’re on your own with that one.

  21. Kyle 8 years ago

    Hi Kyle,

    Firstly congrats on your site, can’t believe I havn’t seen it before! Great work!

    My question is to do with Cure #2, would you use the same amount as cure#1. There are some books that recommend a total amount of 5g/kg of meat in their cure. In the recipe above you have only put 2.5g. The reasoning in the book was that dry cured pancetta would hang for 1-2 months or longer and the nitrates would turn to nitrites and then dissipate.

    Could you give me any more info on this or any resources on the net you could point me to?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

      Kyle — Congrats on a proper name… and thanks for the kind words. Yes, you use the same amount of Cure #2 that you would Cure #1. 0.25%. If you read back in the post, I covered this. Cure #2 contains nitrATEs as well as nitrITEs. Nitrates convert to nitrites over time. Think of them as time-release nitrites. Same reason I suggest using Cure #2 for pancetta you are aging longer, and drying out. Or Cure #1 for pancetta that will be eaten cooked, and note aged significantly. I cannot speak to books you mention (unless you note them specifically). Does that answer your question?

  22. Dirk 7 years ago

    Would it be possible to cure the pork belly in the fridge without the Cure #2 and then add it before hanging? I only ask because I haven’t got any at the moment, but I will have some in a couple of weeks. Thanks!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

      Dirk, No. That’s an essential part of the cure. Sorry. Not a corner you can cut.

  23. Jeff Nichols 7 years ago

    Thanks for this great article and the info..I just finished my first two rolled pancetta and I have a capicola hanging at the moment. Also my first! This is by far the best online instructional tool I have found. The photos are great and really add to the written instructions. Again, Thank you!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

      Thanks for the feedback, Jeff. Happy to hear it. Looking forward to hearing how everything turns out.

  24. Marthinus 7 years ago

    Great website Kyle. Thank you.

    My question is about making fully dried pancetta. I have made the semi dried pancetta with great success following your recipe.

    The problem is that I cannot find cure #2 in South Africa. Can I use cure #1 for fully dried pancetta?

  25. Marthinus 7 years ago

    Marthinus 1 min ago Reply
    Great website Kyle. Thank you.

    My question is about making fully dried pancetta. I have made the semi dried pancetta with great success following your recipe.

    The problem is that I cannot find cure #2 in South Africa. Can I use cure #1 for fully dried pancetta?

    (I posted this comment twice because I forgot to check the notification checkbox at the bottom and want to see if you reply. Please ignore the previous comment)

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago


    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

      Thanks! You should be fine to let it go fully dried with #1. If you have access to salt No3 and some cultures, you could go that route as well (not as straight forward to explain in a comment). Give it a go. It will eventually convert and little will be left, but the beginning portion of drying is the most vital anyway.

  26. Truman 7 years ago

    How do you deal with the skin if you leave it on and either fully dry or semi dry? Do you unroll after drying and remove it or do you just slice it and eat the skin also?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

      You trim it off in small portions, enough to reveal the part you’d like to slice. Then slice. A lot like you would trim a prosciutto.

  27. Maurizio Rossi 7 years ago

    Hello, I am an Italian national living in China and I write because I saw in one of your answers that you visited China. I have been making pancetta since arriving here in 2014 (in Italy I just went to buy it) and unfortunately I’ve had to make it without the use of nitrites because they are simply not available here. I am sure though, that they can be found in China. Do you have any pointer you can give me in that direction? Thank you and keep up the good work on your great post.

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

      Maurizio, you can do it with only salt as well. The product will be more gray, as the nitrite slows the oxidation. The end product tastes a little different, but certainly not bad. Many folks only use salt with whole muscle salumi.

  28. It sounds really great however I am afraid that this is too complicate as for beginner. I loved the way your Pancetta looks like and it sound delicious. I will try too prepare it and will share my experience. Thanks!

  29. Guy Martin 7 years ago

    Hi Kyle,

    Love your site man…sensational! Detail and photos are second to none.
    I am slowly sliding into the abyss of charcuterie and can’t stop myself nor do I really want to.
    I have been stuffing fresh and smoked sausage for awhile now, smoking salmon and making jerky but feel the irresistible pull to go further into this artistic craft.
    I am going to be curing some bacon and will follow your recipe this weekend for your pancetta as my first “cured meats”. I have done quite a bit of research on salumi and charcuterie in general and have Rhulman & Polcyn’s book as well as “In the Charcuterie” by Boetticher and Miller, both of which have been great reads.
    I am going to construct a curing chamber but want to start with the two aforementioned items first as I await for a kitchen reno to free up my chamber fridge.
    Temps for my drying of the pancetta will be between 64-70. Outside humidity is around 95% right now and less in the house, so hopefully I should be fine.

    I guess the question I have (more about a chamber than anything) is that I live in the Fraser Valley of the BC mainland (similar to the Portland area) and am curious about humidity levels of which are quite high year round and especially at this time of year. Most of the chambers that I have seen constructed ADD humidity rather than REMOVE humidity as I am assuming I may have to do, but we all know what assumptions generally get you…
    Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated…

    And once again, stellar stuff you are putting out on your site, really enjoy your reads.


    • Guy Martin 7 years ago

      I have to backtrack on my question, having given some thought to it… humidity inside a home can be fairly low (due to heating of the home) even with the outside relative humidity being high, so in theory it might be too low for my pancetta. A curing chamber may experience the same environmental conditions again necessitating a humidifier even in regions of high relative humidity??

      Perhaps confused or on the right track…probably wont know until I measure indoor humidity as well as set up my chamber…

  30. Nick V. 7 years ago

    Hi Kyle,
    These are great instructions and it sounds very doable. But I am worried about the hanging and drying part here in Southern California. We have very low RH of 5-10% most of the time and warmer temperatures of 70-80 deg most of the time. I don’t have a cool basement or place to hang it.

    Any suggestions on how to approach this in our warmer climate ??

    Thx. Nick V, San Diego, CA

    • Tom Arbuckle 7 years ago

      Nick, I too live in SoCal. I have a small portable wine cooler that hangs about 55F and about 45% RH. I am about a week into the hanging and it looks good so far. I also read that if it starts to get hard on the outside, with the lower RH, to pull it and finish in the refrigerator.

      Tom A.

      • Author
        Kyle Hildebrant 6 years ago

        Your refrigerator probably has a 40%ish RH. You could put in the vegetable drawer which has higher RH.

  31. Skip Tamm 7 years ago

    I want to make panchetta, but want it leaner than regular. Can I use thinly butterflied pork roas, wrapped into the pork belly tommakeit leaner? I will brine both the pork belly and the pork roast thinly filetted) then rolled and tied normally. Do you think this can be done safetly?
    Skip Tamm

    BTW, i make my own sausage, pastrami and pigstrami (using boston butt)

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

      Skip, why not just use a leaner belly? Or take a belly and trim some of the fat? Seems like you are over-thinking it. You can use two cuts. If you do, you should rough up the facing surfaces of those cuts with a fork to release the enzymes that will help to bind the two together. It;s very important to use Cure #1 between the pieces of meat, as you are creating a perfect environment for botulism growth. As for brine, I would suggest a standard dry-brine/cure on the pieces individually, then rough, roll, hang and dry. But the bigger question here is: Why? Pancetta is about the fat. If you want something lean, just do a whole muscle cure like a filetto or something of the like. Or a loin with a small fat cap. In my opinion, the filetto is tasteless. You have to load it with spices to bring out any flavor. Either way, your call.

  32. Skip Tamm 7 years ago

    We cant get real lean belly here in FL. Will try you idea of slimming down the fat and see how that goes.

  33. ummagumma 7 years ago

    Hey, thanks for a great and thorough recipe. My first pancetta is hanging in a pantry just now. Hopefully it will turn out fine.

    I’ve just got one question. Are you sure it is not safe to eat the pancetta (cured with the cure #1) raw? Or in other words why shouldn’t I eat it raw? I’d say that the amount of sodium nitrite wouldn’t be too high and I can’t think of any other reason for it.


    • ummagumma 7 years ago

      Or is it just a matter of a thorough drying? So if I leave the pancetta (cured with the cure #1) drying longer than the three weeks until about 20% of the weight has been lost, then it should be fine to eat raw?

      • Author
        Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

        Have you ever seen that disclaimer at the bottom of restaurant menus that reads: “Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.” ? There’s no black and white answer. There are simply too man factors that contribute to making something “safe” or not. You may consider steak tartare to be “unsafe”. You may eat it and be fine; or you may get sick. Drying reduces the ability for bacteria to multiply/grow/thrive. It’s a step in achieve a product that is more safe to eat. Nitrate/nitrite does the same. So does salt. I cover the cure #1 vs. #2 and why you should use one over the other. You have to make that call wether not it is “safe” or not to eat “raw”. The drier it is, the less chance of bad pathogens surviving.

  34. Jorge 7 years ago

    i cant find insta cure 2.
    Will ready cure work?

    i have about 10pound of pork belly. what would be the % of salt and readycure? or would it just be readycure?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

      I’m not familiar with that. You will have to do some digging.

  35. Patrick 6 years ago

    I am following your recipe and my pancetta is delicious. It is a little on the salty side. Is it safe to reduce the Salt?
    Thank you

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 6 years ago

      Happy to hear it. It’s pancetta. It’s suppose to be salty. The salt is the safety barrier. I wouldn’t reduce salt. You can soak it for a few hours in ice water in fridge to draw out a bit of salt after making it, if there’s a way you want to use it that necessitates less salt.

      • Patrick 6 years ago

        Thanks for the tip. Is there another type of cured meat you can suggest for my next project?

        • Author
          Kyle Hildebrant 6 years ago

          I like to suggest coppa as a next step. It’s much more flavorful than some of the other usual whole-muscle cures like bresaola or filetto/limo. You may need to ask around to get a. It her that can cut the coppa muscle out of the shoulder. Or go to Costco and get a whole should then google “cured meats blog cut coppa” to find my pal Jason’s guide to separating the coppa muscle. I suggest Costco as the meat is cheaper to learn on. And by all other mass-market accounts, they have decent meat there. Good luck.

  36. mark 6 years ago

    Hello! i just started the curing process yesterday . i am going to leave it flat and wrap it in cheese cloth. i did that a couple years ago , and it worked great, and went over huge. even though i feel that I understand the whole process ? its still good to read up and learn more. thanks I cant wait for this batch to get drying! tjank you.

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  38. Coorrral 6 years ago

    Just pulled mine off the hanger today. This stuff is amazing! Thank you for publishing such a thorough guide.

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 6 years ago

      That’s excellent. Happy to hear it and thanks for sharing.

  39. John 6 years ago

    I have Panchetta #2 curing in the fridge, but have not had time to wash, roll and tie for drying for about 2 months! Any thoughts on whether to keep it or just scrap it and start over?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 6 years ago

      If you’ve used the EQ cure method–as prescribed–times won’t matter. Just take out of cure and rinse when you’re ready. I’ve left items in cure for more than 6 months without any perceptible change.

  40. Dede H. 6 years ago

    Hi Kyle, I’ve made pancetta for several years, using Michael Ruhlman’s recipe in “Charcuterie.” I have a big belly this year, so thought I’d do two for a side by side comparison, using your worksheet for one and Ruhlman’s for the other. Here’s my question: in your recipe do the 1.8% peppercorns all go in the cure and then you toast and crack more to apply before hanging? Ruhlman uses a similar amount of peppercorns and reserves half to apply before hanging. I’m looking forward to this experiment. Thanks!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 6 years ago

      Dede, Yes. Those are all in the cure. The post cure, pre rolling amount is whatever you’d like. Just crack a bunch and get. A good layer on the inside prior to rolling. And you can even omit that altogether, if desired.

  41. William H Barnett 6 years ago

    I did it, but I am afraid to eat it.
    It hung in my basement for 6 months.
    The weight changed from 5.0lbs to 3.6lbs.
    The ends looked sketchy AF, but it looks good once I cut them down.

    What do you think?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 6 years ago

      Man, that looks great. I wouldn’t be afraid to eat it. if it doesn’t smell bad, it’s more than likely just fine.

  42. Jonathan 6 years ago

    Hello Kyle,

    Amazing recipe. I’ve always loved homemade cured (and other kinds of) products and am going to give a try to your EQ recipe coming from the “salt box” recipe. Sounds less salt-wasting and more precise this way!

    I was wondering, would you happen to have your coppa recipe on hands too? I’ve been looking for it on your website and I’d love to know how you do it (cure content, etc…).

    Best regards!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 6 years ago


      Here’s the coppa cure I use (I cannot recall if this is my recipe, an adaptation, or someone else’s’):

      Sea salt: 2.5%
      Insta Cure #2: 0.25%
      Demerara Sugar: 2.0%
      White Pepper: 0.5%
      Garlic, Powder: 0.25%
      Fennel Seeds, toasted and ground fine: 0.2%
      Juniper berries, toasted and ground fine: 0.2%
      Cloves, toasted and ground fine: 0.1%
      Allspice, toasted and ground fine: 0.1%
      Nutmeg, ground fine: 0.1%
      Cinnamon, ground fine: 0.1%

  43. John Hansen 6 years ago

    Hello Kyle
    first time trying this pancetta and was really happy about how it’s been looking until today. Been hanging for three weeks now and just noticed this white mold growing on the very bottom of the roll. It’s been in the dark pantry with average humidity of 53% and temps about 60. Followed everything on the page. Do I dump it or ?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 6 years ago

      White mold is fine. I wouldn’t let it bother you. Please reference the second question down in the FAQs at the bottom of recipe (above).

  44. Epic Centre 5 years ago

    Awesome post! I’m so enticed now. The main issue is I don’t know how my flatmates will manage crude meat hanging out in our shoebox kitchen for some time. Any scent/clean insurance?

  45. Elena 5 years ago


    It’s such a nice thing that you did this post so detailed through the whole process. The thing is I’m from Croatia, and we cure pork meat every winter, but this year I convinced my old school dad to try something new, and suprisingly he liked the idea of pancetta arrotolata. But since we do it a bit differently (salting for 7 to 10 days, then hanging it on ‘bura’ days (cold and dry wind), and smoking when there’s no ‘bura’, and than hanging more in the wind) and the whole process goes on for about 6 months, my father is worried if spices are going to go bad in that amount of time. Do you have maybe more experince and tell us if it’s safe to take this much time, and since I would like to use more spices (nutmeg, bay leaf powder etc) do you have experince with that stuff?

    Thans a lot for your post and future answer!!!


    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 5 years ago

      Spices will not “go bad”. That shouldn’t be a concern. If it’s cold and dry, you should be fine. Pancetta is very forgiving. The smoke also inhibits spoilage bacteria and the like. If rolling it, tightly is most important part.

  46. John G 5 years ago

    Hello Kyle,

    I will be giving Pancetta arrotolata a try next week. Thank you for posting this… Just a quick question for you.

    I’m in a dry climate, do you think if I can the ends with lard/flour after achieving a 20% weight loss I could continue with the aging process?

    John G

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 5 years ago

      I think that’d be a fine approach, John. As I noted in article, you may not get to 20%. It’s highly dependent on how much fat the piece has. Fat has little water to lose. I’d look for when it’s been a week or so and it’s no longer losing weight. Then lard the ends.

  47. Thea 5 years ago

    Hi Kyle, I am so happy to have found your forum today. I have my first ever Pancetta curing in the fridge.
    As I was unable to find the Pink Salt in small quantities here in NZ, so after much Googling I used a whole fresh liquefied celery, 2Tb sea salt, 1/4 C gin and 1/2 C brown sugar for a wet cure. This was left for 4 days, turning every day.
    Once rinsed and patted dry, I used a recipe similar to your dry cure recipe (except no curing salt, but adding 4 crushed garlic cloves) to cure the meat.
    It is day 4 with the dry cure, and it looks and smells AMAZING!
    I am impatiently looking forward to the next step in the process, and with what I have learned on your forum I am confident that I can dry the pancetta in the vegetable drawer of the spare fridge.
    Thank you!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 5 years ago

      Happy to hear it. Next time don’t use the gin. The alcohol will kill the beneficial bacteria that allow for Fermentation early on. And if you don’t have pink salt, I would just cure it flat and not rolled. The concern is that botulism grows when there is no air. When you roll the meat you create that environment. Garlic also happens to be one of the biggest carries of botulism causing spores. So, no nitrite and garlic is a bad combination.

      So, do not roll it. It will be fine. Just don’t roll it, please. Botulism has no taste or oder.

  48. Thea 5 years ago

    Thanks so much for the further information.
    I used gin as per the recipe I found, thinking it would kill bacteria…. not realizing that good bacteria needs to remain.
    I added garlic for the same reason.
    No, I won’t roll it! The bacon has firmed up well in the dry cure, and still smells and looks great.
    Will it be safer to smoke this bacon, or can I try to dry it?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 5 years ago

      No need to smoke. Just dry it flat and you’re golden. (P.S. there’s a lot of bad information out there. I can count how many times I’ve seen “Fermentation recipes” that have a method that inhibits fermentation.)

  49. John G 5 years ago

    Hello Kyle,

    I’m doing two rolled and halfway on the brine time. Was thinking about cold smoke one of them (could keep smoke temp at 60-70f). Do you see any issues with doing this, any adverse effects with cure#2?

    Thank you for all the time you spent supporting us on this page!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 5 years ago

      John, no issues. That’s basically the same idea as bacon. But bacon uses cure #1. Allowing it to age will allow the nitrate in cure #2 to convert to nitrite (like in cure #1).

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 5 years ago

      PS. I’d smoke before rolling, so you have the benefit of more smoke coverage.

  50. John G 5 years ago

    Will do and thanks again.

  51. Skip Tamm 5 years ago


  52. Chris 5 years ago

    Great post. Do you have any suggestions on how much cure #2 to use for a wet immersion cure? I’d like to utilize soy sauce as the only source of salt with the addition of prague powder #2. I’m primarily using Marianski’s book for reference but cant seem to find the info I need. Thanks in advance.

  53. Christian 5 years ago

    Hi, great page!
    I’ve only made flat pancetta until now but I want to try a rolled one with the next batch.

    You have answered a similar question before but it is still not clear to me.
    If you roll the belly with the skin on, there will be some skin wrapped up within the roll, right? So even if you trim the skin off on the outside, there will be some skin left on the inside of the role. Does that matter?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 5 years ago

      The Italians will trim away a bit of the skin where it’s going to roll inside. You can also trim the meat to a bit of a wedge (picture a door stopper) so the thin part easily rolls up and by the time you’re nearing the end of rolling, the skin is them present and you only have a little bit of overlap. You can roll it with skin on, mark where you think you need to trim it, trim away skin and then roll and tie.

  54. Kelly 5 years ago

    I’ve recently joined a meat csa and looking for ideas for my goods. I have made a couple batches of pancetta and have been very happy with the results. Im curious if i can use the technique with pork trotters? I also received skin. Can you cure and age just the skin? Or would it dry too fast to really get extra flavor? I loved the flavor of the skin from my pancetta.

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 5 years ago

      What you can do with pork Trotters (ideally more of the leg so they are bigger) is make zampone (google it). It’s a trotter, deboned, filled with sausage and roasted. It’s a traditional Italian Christmas/New Year dish. For the less squeamish, it’s an epic presentation. Skin dries out and becomes pretty damned hard to eat. If I had a lot of skin I’d make chicharrones (dehydrated and fried pig skin). Or use it to flavor broths?

  55. Marcel 5 years ago

    Fantastic recipe! The most authentic AND well written I could find in English. Amazing how many non-sensicle “pancetta” recipes are out there.

    I do want to learn more about doing this safely without nitrates, not because I think they are bad, but because the Italians do not find them necessary. I grew up in Rome and cured prosciutto, pancetta or other whole muscle meats do not use added nitrates, except for what occurs naturally in sea salt. I also watched 4 Italian YouTube guides for pancetta arrotolata (including one on the official DOC pancetta), and none of them use nitrates. They do however specify more tightly controlled environments. I have read in other books that as long as the salt content is high enough, and the moisture loss low enough in the first weeks of refrigerated curing (15% min), that the danger of botulism is low to non-existent at least for
    things that are left flat and not
    rolled. We need more accessible scientific research on these topics.

    Curious for your thoughts.

  56. Vanessa 4 years ago

    It’s not safe to take acetaminophen after drinking!

    • Marcel 4 years ago

      The day after is fine as long as you don’t drink every night.

  57. Marcel 4 years ago

    Not sure if this post is still alive. I started 4 pancette arrotolate that have been hanging for 4 weeks now. I also am hanging bacon to age with nitrates, salt at 2.75% and sugar. The bacon has a highly funky, yeasty smell to it, similar to salami smell but more yeasty and dank. Is that normal? The one thing that is rarely talked about is the smell profile that we are looking for.

    I am adding bactoferm mold 600 to the bacon and the pancetta as my one problem has been molds in the basement where its hanging. I know I could use vinegar, but apparently the mold helps with case hardening!

    • MARCEL A REID-JAQUES 4 years ago

      Any thoughts Kyle? Since then I threw out the bacon as flies found it, but I’m still wondering on opinions on good vs bad smell profiles. Right now my 4 pancette are still hanging. The one in my house has no mold, the ones in a basement got very humid and are covered in different molds but according to people in the Salt Cured Pig group on FB they should be fine if the inside is fine after trimming!

      • Author
        Kyle Hildebrant 4 years ago

        It’s such a hard thing to answer. Too many variables. If it smells bad, toss it. Molds are less of a concern, to me.

  58. Genie 4 years ago

    Amazing! Its truly amazing piece of writing, I have got much clear
    idea regarding from this piece of writing.

  59. Joe 4 years ago

    Hey Kyle, I’m going to full cure pancetta with #2 salt but my question is should I use Collagen Sheets or cheesecloth to wrap it? I can’t get the pork belly with skin on, but I should wrap it to help with the longer drying process correct?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 4 years ago

      Joe, a Beef bung would be ideal, if you can get ahold of that. Otherwise, you’re totally fine not having skin, too. Roll fat side out. The fat is very good at insulating the meat from uneven drying, and because it has little water, it too drys evenly. Cheesecloth does nothing but make it hard to see what’s happening with your meat.

    • MARCEL A REID-JAQUES 4 years ago

      I hung one with no skin and found that coating in pepper + rolling in cheesecloth also helps keep bugs away and protect from too much light!

  60. Brendan 4 years ago

    Hi Kyle
    Is it possible to use this recipe, but not roll it, rather hang and dry it flat?

  61. Greg 4 years ago

    Hi Kyle. Is the black pepper in the ingredients list just for the initial cure or is it for the roll n dry step?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 4 years ago

      Yes. The pepper rolled inside later is as much or as little as you’d like.

  62. brian 4 years ago

    Can fully dried panchetta (insta cure #2) be cubed and cooked like bacon for a pasta dish?

  63. Leo 3 years ago

    Great site. Amazing original work, made 100% better by questions, comments, and Kyle’s very prompt informative responses over time!!!! So very cool!!!!!

  64. Joe Hell 3 years ago

    I am less than 2 weeks out (hopefully) for my Pancetta. It’s been hanging since May 19. The suspense is killing me!

  65. Costas 3 years ago

    Hi Kyle,
    I’m about to attempt your pancetta recipe for the first time this weekend and I have a question for you. Can this recipe also apply to unrolled pancetta when using cure#2? All pancetta pieces I buy from Italy are usually unrolled, and I was wondering if this would be an issue with your recipe. Are there any risks I should be aware of if it’s hung unrolled?
    Thank you

  66. Ambra 3 years ago

    Hello again. Sorry for bothering you with yet another question. I am considering the purchase of a wine/beverage cooler unit to store charcuterie products and cheeses. I don’t know if the humidity will be sufficient. Have you ever considered such an item?
    Your advise is most appreciated.

  67. Mark 3 years ago

    By accident, I used 10X the amount of Prague #2 on my pancetta. Luckily, after I figured out what I did, about 4 hours into the cure, I washed off the cure completely and redid it.

    That should not be long enough for the excess #2 to be absorbed since it gets absorbed only a 1/4″ per day. Your opinion?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 3 years ago

      I cannot advise you on issues of safety like this. If it were I, I would toss it. I know that’s hard to hear, but if in doubt throw it out.

  68. Mark LaPolla 3 years ago

    I figured that was the right way to go.

  69. Nick 3 years ago

    Love the blog! I’m keen to try making pancetta #2, but am concerned about the low relative humidity in my area. I have a space where I could cure, where the temperature is steady at around 15 degrees celsius, with a RH of about 20%. My other option is in a walk-in fridge with temperature of about 2 degrees celsius I haven’t checked the RH value of the fridge, but I assume that it is higher than 20%. How would you suggest that I go about curing my pork belly given these circumstances? I’d appreciate any input, thanks in advance.

  70. Bill 3 years ago

    Thanks for posting such a delicious recipe. I made a flat Pancetta. My spouse told me she would not eat it if I dried it at room temperature. So I wrapped it in multiple layers of cheesecloth and dried in the refrigerator for 17 days. Fried some up and it had an amazing depth of flavor. I do have one question, the meat fibers in my Pancetta were darker in color than the rolled Pancetta you have pictured. I assume do to oxidation. Should I be worried about this? It tastes wonderful.

  71. Lourens 2 years ago

    Hi Kyle,
    Thanks for the interesting and informative blog, I read all the question to see if any would answer mine, but alas, I could not find one. My first panchetta has been hanging out for 11days now, there is a slight soury aroma to it, is this good? It is not a foul repulsive smell. Thanks Kyle.

  72. Tom 2 years ago

    Thanks for sharing the article I always appreciate your topic
    I am a food blog

  73. Tom 2 years ago

    Thanks for sharing the article I always appreciate your topic
    Food Net

  74. Vietnamese food 2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this great post

    food near me

  75. Glen Brown 2 years ago

    I CAN’t get the “work sheets” to work can you help

  76. Robert 2 years ago

    Can you cook pancetta made with cure #2 after hanging for one month?

    • Tom 2 years ago

      YES! Many folks in Italy fry up prosciutto as if it were bacon so definitely! Try both sometime!

  77. Robert 2 years ago

    2nd post. I am making 2 4lb pieces of flat pancetta using your instructions and cure #2. One piece is to be fully dried and the 2nd piece used for cooking after hanging for 1 month. Is it ok to cook meat preserved with cure #2?

  78. anthucvn2 2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing
    Hello I have many recipes of delicious food hope you will visit

    Tối nay ăn gì
    Ăn gì hôm nay
    Hôm nay ăn gì

    • Tina 2 years ago

      Hello Kyle, I have never tried to do my own pancetta yet but I would really like to, but I have a question if it is possible to make smoked one because I could not find any recipe and if it’s even good to do this with pancetta when considering that it’s traditionally eaten raw. Thanks for your answer. 😊

  79. Per Ivar Hansen 2 years ago

    I’m making pancetta Arrotolata. Is it ok to leave the skin on if I’m going to use an aging bag, Umai?

  80. Tom 2 years ago

    If I have 1.5 lbs. of pork belly sitting in the fridge with the spice blend and #1 pink curing salt can I take it out earlier since it is a smaller chunk of meat? I assume the longer 2 week period is for larger cuts (5lbs), so that the cure works its way into all of the meat before the drying process. The meat feels firm at this point and has been sitting for 5 days. Thanks!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 2 years ago

      You’re probably fine. But if you’ve got more time, it wouldn’t hurt to leave it longer. There’s a lot of variables at play that will dictate how long it take to reach equilibrium, so it’s hard to say foe certain.

  81. It’s a great source of knowledge; I think it will be helpful for lot of people who are looking for learning more about the how to make rolled pancetta recipe . Thank you very much for sharing this article was really looking forward for something like this.

  82. Russell 1 year ago

    I normally don’t comment on these sites, but I simply had to! (of course…if took a while for my tears of laughter to dissipate enough to see the keyboard)
    Frequently Asked Questions:
    “Can I use a less fattier cut than pork belly?” No. Make a salad.
    😂 LMAO! 🤣
    Thank you! This old man doesn’t get NEARLY enough laughter these days, and you’ve given me enough for months!
    BTW? If you want a calculator for many types of cures? Check out ‘Local Food Heroes’.
    Thanks for this site. Big help.

  83. Bill 11 months ago

    Thanks so much for this recipe and great instructions. I’ve made this at least half a dozen times successfully in the past few years. I use a whole pork belly from Costco with the skin on, cut it in half, and make it in two rolls. It’s too much for me to use up before it starts to dry out or go bad after the hanging period, so I remove the string, use a meat slicer, and cut it into about 1/4″ slices. Then I put three or four slices into a ziploc bag and put them in the freezer. They make great gifts for foodie friends and thaw out really quickly for my own use.

  84. Wes Coxe 8 months ago


    I noticed in your worksheet there is a box for target weight. What should be my expected loss be ? If any at all ? Or is this in reference to total ideal weight with curing ingredients applied ?
    Finally, I noted there is two rows, one for cure and one for salt…. So add 2.75 % Salt and 0.25% Pink salt? or am I misunderstanding?

    Thanks in Advance !!!! Cant wait to start this!!!


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