Saturday, August 16, 2014


Before writing this blog on my crazy version of a Kosher Vealcetta aka Pancetta (non kosher Pork version) I felt the need to answer a predictable yet old question about the Ethical Objections to Veal? If you're curious click the link. 

Why make a Pancetta from Veal Belly? Because I don't eat pork or any Treif for that matter. It's my goal to make as many pork Charcuterie replicas as possible and the caveat of course is to use Biblical Kosher animals only.

What makes this one so different?'s the meat I am using. I am using the delectable Veal Navel or belly (plate) as some call it. Note: I have used Beef Plate in the past for bacon but it is too tough to roll a beef belly into a cylinder to make Pancetta. 

You can search every book or online source and you will never find a Pancetta made from Veal belly, believe me I have tried. 

I have found some east-coast establishments that sell Kosher

Charcuterie products but I have never seen Kosher Pancetta. I have never see any Charcuterie made with Veal let alone Pancetta. Veal is very $$$. The Kosher cured meats products I have seen are priced very very high and appear to be average cured meats. Nothing special about them except for their high price. To give you an example of high priced Charcuterie I came across a Bresaola being sold for $95.00 a pound. Bresaola is made from eye of round which sells for $3.99 a pound at Costco. You can make it yourself for about $4.25 a pound. 

I have been dreaming about making this for over 2 yrs. Think about it for a moment Kosher Pancetta? To my knowledge it has never been done before. It does not get any more original than this. Of course if Deli's were to carry this it would be cost prohibitive for most.

I was able to special order this Veal Belly at Stewart's Meats in Yelm WA. It cost $140.00 bucks for this delectable piece of heaven. If you add in the Gas and toll I am sure it's closer to $160.00 bucks for this hunk of meat but it's all worth it. I will be able to make a Veal-CettaVeal Pastrami and Veal Stock/Sauce from this belly. 

Again Beef Plate is too tough but Veal on the other hand is very tender. 

Here is a picture of both sides of the Veal. It still has to be broken down. 

Some great pics of meat being broken down. 

Section of bones. 

Bones, bones and bones!!! Breaking everything down for a Veal Stock. 

Lots of scraps for my stock.

My scraps all sealed up for future use. 

This section will be used for my Pastrami.

This section will be used for the Veal-Cetta. 

 Link to instructions

The first thing you want to do is is to assemble all of your ingredients. 

I ground up the whole spices using an electric spice grinder to a medium grind.

Of course this takes some time and it's quite tedious but I enjoyed every moment of it. 

"This is why we do this..... not necessarily for the end result but the journey from meat to Charcuterie!!!"

Since this is an original recipe I had to adjust the ingredients as I measured them out. As I was weighing them and combining them with the exception of the salt I tasted everything. I had to adjust the amounts several times which was really tedious and hopefully I got it right. I had to clean my palate many times until I got it right accompanied by several bathroom breaks. Did I get it right? Won't know for many weeks. 

All the ingredients are assembled and ready for the next step. I ground up the whole spices using an electric spice grinder to a medium grind. The addition of orange zest is not traditional by no means but was inspired by Jacob Burton from Stella Culinary.

I will apply the zest to the meat prior to applying cure. 

Zest and cure applied. I like to apply cure to every nook and cranny before applying other ingredients. I know a lot of people combine Salt, cure and spices and herbs together but this is not my preference.  
May 26, 2014

All done!! Meat will be cured for 10-15 days and flipped daily. 

After the curing is complete I will do something once again that is definitely not traditional. Traditionally Pancetta is rinsed rolled and tied and hung until done. Ok mine will be done differently. I am going to use Transglutaminase Activa RM to bind the meat together. I want the Vealcetta when rolled to become one solid muscle. Yea, yea I know not traditional.  

All done curing. Exactly 15 days.

The meat is all rinsed off. Activa Applied with a dusting.

All rolled up tightly. 

Using plastic wrap I was able to make it extremely tight.
I then vacuumed sealed. It will sit like this refrigerated for 24 hours. I will than encase it in a UMAI dry bag
All cured. Note: because I used Activa I will not need to tie this like traditional Pancettas. 

Check out the lack of a seam because of the Activa.

Now for the long haul. It has to lose at least 30% of its green weight before it will be ready. On 6/12/14 the Vealcetta weighed 2008 grams and will need to lose 602.4 which is exactly 30%. Final weight will be 1404.6 grams.

 6/25 weight is 1699 grams. After 13 days the Vealcetta has lost 309 grams or 15.4% of its weight.  

7/15 weight is 1520 grams.  After 33 days the Vealcetta has lost 488 grans or 24.4% of its weight. Almost there....
8/15 weight at 1390.54 grams and we are finally done. The Vealcetta lost 30.75% of its weight. 

My Review- A Grand Slam!!! Amazing texture and flavor. The citrus flavor notes makes this hunk of meat wonderful and I will do this again.