Cooking Classes


The Daring Cooks - Salumi

I have had a pork belly sitting in my freezer for a few months waiting for the right opportunity. This challenge was enough for me to bring it out and work on something new to me. This challenge has been so exciting to try.

The added buzz on this challenge is that we have a chance to win a wonderful cookbook. Check out this
The wonderful people at WW Norton publishing company are sponsoring a contest for this challenge! The top 3 most delicious sausages and/or salumi will win a copy of Michael Ruhlman’s and Brian Polcyn’s book, Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing!

Pancetta was a natural for this cut. A pork belly is essentially a slab bacon that has not been cured or smoked. I am curing it to make the pancetta and then drying it. I just hope the drying time will be adequate before the reveal date. My cold room will be the perfect temperature and humidity. I can hardly wait.

Pancetta is mostly used in recipes as compared to prosciutto that I love to eat out of hand or on a crusty piece of good bread or with a perfectly poached egg in an Eggs Benedict.

For the January-February 2013 Daring Cooks’ Challenge, Carol, one of our talented non-blogging members and Jenni, one of our talented bloggers who writes The Gingered Whisk, have challenged us to make homemade sausage and/or cured, dried meats in celebration of the release of the book Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn! We were given two months for this challenge and the opportunity to make delicious Salumi in our own kitchens!


5 lb pork belly
1/4 c kosher salt
1 tsp pink salt (curing salt)
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
1/4 c juniper berries
1 tbsp dried rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 tsp thyme
1/2 c brown sugar
2 cloves garlic

Grind the salt and aromatic in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder. Add to the brown sugar. Place pork belly in a baking dish and cover with the curing mixture evenly. Cover with saran and refrigerate. Refrigerate for about 7 days and each day rotate the slab and cover with the curing mixture. The slab should lose about 30% of its original weight.

Rinse the pork belly and pat dry. Cover with cracked black peppercorns. Roll tightly and tie with string. Wrap with cheesecloth and hang for up to a month. It should be hung at 65F and 60% humidity.

Slice and use.


  1. Jacques made this too! Yours looks wonderful!

    We use the cold room too..we have prosciutto hanging from the ceiling in there now:)

  2. Wow, that is a daring challenge!!! Looks wonderful!

  3. Love the way your Pancetta looks sliced - just perfect. We don't really get the kind of temperatures here in Hawaii to do that in a home kitchen. I did try hanging guanciale in the office fridge once :)

  4. Wonderful job! Your pancetta looks perfect and delicious!

  5. Quite a challenge! I hope it comes out just as you desire!

  6. I was so pleased to read this post, Sarah. And learn. What a great idea and I love the way it looks!

  7. Great job on the pancetta - its a staple in my kitchen these days! Well done on the challenge!

  8. I have always been so afraid of curing things... something going off, crazy right? Can't wait to see how it turns out. PS I've always wanted that Ruhlman book. Hope you win.


I appreciate your comment! Please visit often.