Pork is truly a blessing on the culinary world, and the availability of cured meat just adds to the value. There are different parts of pork that are cured, which might look the same, but their taste and texture are different.
In case you want to know more about cured meats, we are talking about pancetta vs. pork belly in this article!
Pancetta vs Pork Belly
Pancetta is the cured meat that’s cut out from pork belly and is seasoned with salt. It is cut from the pork belly, which is the underside of the pig. This cured meat has a light pink color with a silky and dense texture. The intriguing fact is that pancetta has a nutty flavor. It is sold in thin slices when it comes down to Italy. However, it’s available in the cubed form in the United States.
Pancetta is making by curing the pork belly with salt, pepper, fennel seeds, juniper berries, and coriander. When these seasonings and spices are added, the meat is refrigerated for around ten days and is brushed/washed to remove the seasoning. However, after cleaning and washing, it is re-seasoned with pepper. The meat is rolled into the cylinder shape, added to the casing, and is tied.
When the meat is twined, pancetta is hanged for cooling purposes. It is essential to note down that pancetta is hanged in a dry and cool space for two to three weeks. Pancetta and bacon are often confused with each other but pancetta is cured, and bacon is smoked, so they aren’t the same. There are different ways to use pancetta.
First of all, the pancetta slices can be wrapped around seafood, meat, or vegetables before cooking, and it will add the perfect crunch and savory flavor. In addition, it makes perfect topping for pizza, and some people use the rendered fats for adding rich flavor to the soups and stews. As far as cubed pancetta is concerned, it can be mixed with pecorino cheese and tomato sauce to make amatriciana.
There are different flavors of pancetta available in the market, and it depends on the seasoning. As far as the availability is concerned, slices are suitable for wrapping meat and vegetables, while cubed form can be used to paste, soup, and risotto. At this point, we would like to point out that pancetta tends to be healthier as compared to bacon, and the flavor will be saltier.
Pork belly is simply a cut from pork which is available in the unsalted and uncured form. As the name suggests, it’s cut out from a pig’s belly, and this cut is actually one of the fattest cuts available in pork. Pork belly has three layers, known as exterior skin, the lower portion with pink meat, and a fat layer. This cut is regularly used in restaurants, but it’s hard to find it in supermarkets.
In case you want to buy pork belly, it can be easily bought from the butcher shop. Generally, it is cooked at a slow and steady temperature which results in a luxurious and silky texture. As for the meat, the skin part will become crispy while the internal meat part will be chewy. When it comes down to the texture, pork belly has a silky texture, but the heat level must be watched.
This is the boneless pork cut with higher fat content. Pork belly is widely consumed in Korean, Thai, Hispanic, Danish, Chinese, Filipino, and Norwegian cuisines. Truth be told, it’s a trendy food option which higher versatility. In the whole form, it looks like a meat brick with fat marbling throughout the cut. The fat layer is used for making (or smoking) bacon.
Generally, bacon is served as a part of breakfast, while salt-cured pork belly is known as pancetta. In case you are concerned about flavor, it has a hearty and salty flavor with a meaty form. In the whole form, it has a rich flavor (thanks to the fat layer).
On the other hand, when it is smoked and cured, you will feel umami flavor. When we talk about availability, it’s available in pancetta and bacon form along with the whole form. Last but not least, you can store pork meat in an airtight container.