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curing meat [moved from Manhattan board]

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i would like to make some pancetta and possible duck ham using the breast of the duck. i have everything i need but was curious about the drying part once done with the actual dry rub cure part.

i've seen a few recipes where they say you can use your home refrig, plugged in. i've also seen some where they tell you to use the basement etc. i doubt my landlord will allow me to turn his basement into a hanging room, so i am a bit hesitant to start the process.

any suggestions or thoughts

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  1. I have used my main fridge to dry guanciale, with ok results, but I picked up a small wine cooler at target not long ago, and that is what I use now.

    It is one of the electrostatic ones, and the temperature range on these is perfect for drying cured meat. There is a fan that runs frequently, if not constantly, which is nice. Beware though, that it may not hold temperature properly in warmer weather. I was pretty miffed, but the thing was cheap so...

    I have noticed that sometimes condensation collects in the bottom, and in that case I just wipe everything down. The bottom rack is elevated enough to avoid any moisture, but you probably don't want to put anything directly on the bottom of the fridge for the condensation factor.

    good luck!

    1. Pancetta is pretty tolerant of non-ideal temperatures. We have made it quite successfully at room temperature in Southern California in the summer time.

      We also tried making duck prosciutto, with less success. The fat went a bit rancid on us. We plan to try again now that it is cooler.

      If you'd like to see pictures of our pancetta, you can find them here:

      http://menuinprogress.blogspot.com/20...

      Also, chow.com has an article on making pancetta:

      http://www.chow.com/stories/10131