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Pancetta - do you have to cook it

Pancetta is sliced and sold in the Deli section but I have always considered it more like a bacon product and cooked it before eating it. Would you eat pancetta if the deli person offered you a slice?

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  1. Pancetta needs cooking. Prosciutto does not.

    1. No, but not because of any health concerns. I make my own pancetta and bacon and have tried the raw product a couple of times. Unless you like the taste of salty fat with a bit of gristle I suggest you pass next time someone offers.

      ps - Pancetta is indeed a bacon product (or bacon is a pancetta product). There are many variations, but bacon and pancetta are essentially the same thing, except that bacon is smoked and pancetta is not, and pancetta cures usually include garlic and various herbs while bacon cures might use maple syrup or molasses instead of sugar.

      1. No. And I wouldn't eat raw bacon, either.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pikawicca

          bacon and pancetta are different. fact. pancetta is edible. thats why you find it in deli section. and bacon in raw meat section!

        2. I would not eat uncooked Panchetta. It is salt "cured" but even though that preserves it, it does not eliminate bacteria that might have invaded it at some point prior to preservation. I am always amazed that some deli counters will offer uncooked Panchetta "samples". It doesn't taste the same uncooked as it does when its cooked so what could the sample possible reveal?

          4 Replies
          1. re: todao

            While it is pronounced "panchetta" it is most definitely spelled "pancetta".

            1. re: Philly Ray

              Yeah, thanks Philly.... I sometimes let my typing fingers get ahead of my spelling fingers. Probably why my college GPA was only 3.5

              1. re: Philly Ray

                In Italian, a single c before an e is pronounced "ch" - can be very confusing for those of us who don't speak fluent italian.

              2. re: todao

                salting does eliminate bacteria. bacteria likes the liquid. salt goes in, liquid comes out. perfectly edible. again, as in previous replies, if it wasnt safe then why does every single deli in the land sell pancetta alongside salami, speck, prosciuttio?

              3. As stated pancetta is essentially bacon that has not been smoked and as such I wouldn't eat it uncooked. My bacon on the other hand has been hot smoked to at least 150 degrees f which I consider safe to eat, (and often do).

                3 Replies
                1. re: csweeny

                  Boars Head Pancetta is sold in the deli case, it states on the label "ready to eat"

                  1. re: ospreycove

                    I'd imagine they do something more in the curing process than most bacons I've seen. Five days to a week in the cure, even with nitriates/nitrites, (I have such a hard time keeping them straight), it would seem to me that a major brand such as Boars Head would have something more substantial up their corporate sleeve in regards to liability from uncooked pork, etc. I suppose if it's hung long enough ala dried sausage it might fly but would that still be pancetta?

                  2. re: csweeny

                    cured pancetta is cured, therefore is edible without further cooking. facted. otherwise why would you find in in every deli in every american state and every european country alongside prosciutto, salami, speck etc...

                  3. Pork tartare? I think I'll pass.

                    1. Thanks for the responses; think I will continue to refrain from trying any samples. Am still surprised that they sell it at the deli counter, although the Boar's head brand does look a little less uncooked.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Fort Point

                        if it is in the deli counter, then it is safe. it is cured. cured is like cold smoking. it removes moisture from the curing process. it is the liquid the bacteria like. if it wasnt safe then alot of delis would be shutdown and sued for this. fact.

                      2. I don't find it odd that they sell it through the deli department; they're the only ones with slicers so they can make many even cuts. They do the same thing at mine for pancetta, though they do not give out raw samples.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: escondido123

                          escondito, It has to do with Dept of Ag. regs. no raw meat in same case as ready to eat, "cold cuts" and cheese etc. The store would have to sanitize the slicer if the product sliced was not ready to eat, before it was used for other "cold cuts".

                          1. re: ospreycove

                            I guess my market doesn't know that, they cut pancetta for me and then roasted turkey for the next guy. Should I be worried or, more to the point, should the guy who comes after me be worried?

                            1. re: escondido123

                              If you've ever had soppressata or any other dry cured sausage -- or real prosciutto -- you've had uncooked pork, sliced on the same machine as the roast beef for the guy after you. Pancetta is just another uncooked cured pork product and is as safe as anything else in the deli case (and probably a lot safer than roast beef or poultry).

                              1. re: rjbh20

                                I was kind of joking. i've had all the products you've mentioned and can't really say that I'm a big worrier about these things.

                              2. re: escondido123

                                boarshead is fully cured/cooked and is o.k. to slice w/cold cuts, other brands????

                          2. Not sure of this but I believe all commercial US-made pancetta is fully cooked and ready to eat (because of FDA regs, as mentioned upthread) while the imported Italian version is not.

                            But I also think the flavor benefits from a bit of browning, as with many foods. Much of the mass market bacon is labeled "fully cooked" also, but I always cook it. Ditto for kielbasa and smoked sausage.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: eclecticsynergy

                              kielbasa does not need to be cooked. it is ready to eat. i go to poland once a month. i eat it often. even bring some back. yes it is good cooked to as is tasty hot. but no need to really

                            2. I've had plenty of salumi plates that included slices of uncooked pancetta.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: ESNY

                                esny, and do not forget the Lardo from Piemonte, not a chewy as Pancetta melts in your mouth, cooked or not!!!!!

                              2. It is fine to eat pancetta that is not cooked. The curing process is the same as prosciutto so feel free to take the sample from the deli person. Pancetta, lardo, prosciutto and salami are common items found on charcuterie plates.

                                1. to all that think pancetta needs to be cooked, no, it does not. it is a cured meat. salt goes in, liquid comes out. it is the liquid that the bacteria like. in all delis, pancetta is in the cold meat section with hams and beefs and salamis and prosciutio. if it was raw, and needed to be cooked, it would be in the raw meat section. if someone at a deli offers some pancetta to try, it is because it is ok to try, and eat, and you wont get ill. if this was the case, then there would be lots of delis being closed down and prosecuted. pancetta is ok to eat. i have eaten it. i have not died. no food poisoning. no worms coming out of backside. this is all true. if a deli person or packet says it needs to be cooked, it is probably health and safety gone mad. where there's a blame, there's a claim culture! fact.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: davidwaggott

                                    In southern Italy, I have seen many, many mixed antipasti plates containing uncooked pancetta, to be eaten alone or draped over bread. Most recently I had two types of uncooked pancetta served as part of a salumi tasting, in Matera. (southern Italy)

                                    From my notes:

                                    Along with the cheeses: A salumi plate featuring two types of pancetta—one plain and one speckled with black peppercorns ( in Italy, pancetta is often sliced thin and served uncooked and unadorned, while back home I am used to using it only as an ingredient in a pasta or cooked vegetable recipe); capocollo; salami picante; and peppercorn-studded salami.

                                  2. I know, old discussion, but I've been looking for an answer and here's my $0.02.

                                    I've been eating prosciutto as a treat for years, and salami, straight out of the deli case and I'm good.

                                    Last year in London I enjoyed a salumi plate with cheese and wine for brunch, with a side of lardo. I lived. Same trip I had a full order of steak tartare in Paris...I lived.

                                    The deli I buy prosciutto and salami from keep pancetta in the same fridge and slice them all with the same slicer (after a minimal wipe down between products) and I'm still here.

                                    So I just tried pancetta straight from the shop with no cooking. I'm sure I'll wake up tomorrow. It wasn't bad, not as good as prosciutto, not as rich as lardo.

                                    If I were to eat pancetta uncooked again, and now I'm really curious, I'd try it on a toasted crust of buttered bread with an IPA to cut the richness. With a small slice of room temp parmeggianno reggiano...yeah, that sounds good!

                                    1. Agreed with the others...completely safe.

                                      Bacon is safe too...as long as it's cured.