Success! I’ve made some pancetta, which is ham-smelling and sweet tasting. I was terrified I was creating a breeding ground for botulism, but not so: no sign of mould or putrid flesh. My husband even likes it.
Reading a book or blog post is no substitute for attending a tutorial and the School of Artisan Food butchery courses with Ray and Mary Smith as your tutors are an excellent introduction.
Ray’s cure uses equal quantities of sugar, salt and ground black pepper, with additional herbs and spices like nutmeg, juniper and fresh thyme. You could really taste the nutmeg in mine.
My 2 kilos of pork belly spent 6 days in the cure (refrigerated, inside a large ziploc bag, turned daily) and 2 weeks on the washing line. I think it could do with about a month drying out to make it more of a ham not a bacon. The eagle-eyed will note I cannot do butcher’s knots, but hey, it all held together. Next time I’ll try and pick a more fat piece of pork belly to help keep the meat moist