Homemade Lamb Pancetta di Agnello (Dry Cured Lamb Belly)

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Lamb Pancetta di Agnello Recipe

Homemade Lamb Pancetta di Agnello Recipe. Pancetta is Italian bacon made of belly meat (usually pork) which marinated in spiced and salt cured then hung to air dried cured for several months. Agnello is Italian word for lamb; so Pancetta di Agnello is air dried and salt cured lamb belly.

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Arrotolata Pancetta “Rolled” Dry Cured Lamb Belly

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Rolled Lamb Pancetta di Agnello

Pancetta typically salt cured and seasoned with spices such as nutmeg, fennel, peppercorns, dried ground hot peppers, garlic, rosemarry, thyme, oregano, sage, marojam and juniper berry, then dried for at least one month. There are two basic types of pancetta, the ″arrotolata” (rolled) and “stesa” (flat). The “arrotolata” is mainly used sliced as part of antipasti (cold cut appetizer), the “stesa” is often used chopped as ingredient in many recipes.  The rolled type is typical of northern Italy,while the flat is typical of the center and south.

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Pancetta of Lamb Belly

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Homemade Lamb Pancetta, Worth All The Effort!!!

Lamb belly pancetta isn’t that hard to made if you got the passion on home curing charcuterie, i mean it’s not impossible to made at any amateur kitchen, but sure it need some patients and precision steps to made the lamb pancetta edible. A litttle bit of passion can create a far better delicious pancetta than any professional deli store products ever sold. Pancetta preparation is  slighly time consuming because the belly it’s needed to salt cured , air dry cured  before it’s ready to eat. Properly dried cured lamb pancetta is  save to eaten raw as thinly sliced appetizer on charuteries platter alongside other homemade cold cut charcuterie which i’ve ever made previously; Homemade Beef Bresaola, Homemade Venison Deer Bresaola Di Cervo, Homemade DuckProsciutto, Homemade Spanish Chorizo (Dry Cured Smoked Paprika Sausage)Homemade Salmon Gravlax, Homemade Tea Smoked Salmon, Homemade Smoked Duck Breast, Homemade Smoked Beef.

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Homemade Cold Cut Lamb Pancetta as Antipasti

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Beautifull Thinly Sliced Lamb Pancetta Charcuterie

I mention before that home curing pancetta di agnello need a precision; simply because improperly curing process can lead to food bourne poisoning called Botulism and possibly causing death, no kidding!!!. Before you considering to made your homemade lamb pancetta or any other air dry cured meat, you should know about the savety about curing  first. You had to measured the proper ratio of the ingredients, especially the amount of the nitrate preservatives which is the only known additive that effective to prevent the Clostridium botulinum growing.

lamb pancetta homemade rolled dry cured lamb belly

Dark Red Color of Saltpetre Cured Lamb Belly Pancetta

Insta Cure no.1, also called pink salt, is colored pink and contains 6.25% sodium nitrite and 93.75% salt. Cure no.1 is commonly used in bacon, hotdogs and other products that need less or no drying time. Insta Cure no.2 contains both sodium nitrite (at 6.25%) and nitrate (at 1%), with the remaining 92.75% being salt. Nitrates act as a time-released nitrite. Nitrates are employed in pancetta that requires longer periods of curing and drying. The time-release of nitrite continues to protect the meat over time. If you are making lamb pancetta which will be cooked, you can use cure no.1.  If you intend to make a traditional pancetta arrotolata, which is fully dried and eaten without cooking, you must use cure no.2. Eversince i lived in Indonesia and actually i’ve been too tired pursuing the pink salt, so i used old school saltpetre for  my home curing charcuterie.

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Lamb Pancetta, Air Dried Cured Lamb Belly

recipe lamb pancetta

Saltpetre Lamb Pancetta with Beautifull Marbling Dark Red Color!!!

The recommendation maximum ammout of saltpetre (Potassium Nitrate, Garam Sendawa in Bahasa) for dry curing meat is 500 ppm (part per million) or 500 mg of salpetre in 1 kg of meat. The total lamb belly weight is about 400 grams. The natural sea salt ammount for dry cured pancetta  is about 3% of the weight, you gotta take a close attention on it, 3% salt means 12 grams seasalt for 400 grams meat and 500 ppm of salpetre means 0,2 grams (200 mg) of salt petre for 400 grams meat. l also added the same ammount of palm sugar with the salt. Here’s the fun part, my digital weight scale can only measure 1 gram (1000 mg), eversince i need only 200 mg of saltpetre, so i need to put the 1 gram of saltpetre in a piece of paper and divided it into five equal part with my atm card  then using one-fifth of the the devided saltpetre. It made me thinking of myself “heck what i’m doing, my mom gonna be going crazy and beat the hell of my head because i seems like a crack addict doing their things ” lol

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Marinated Fresh Lamb Belly with Curing Mixture

After measung the ammount of salt and saltpetre for curing the fresh belly, i mixed it all in and rubbed the belly with the spices to make sure all the curing mixture penetrated well into it. Nothing changes for a moment, but some liquid derived from the belly once the salt and sugar dissolved and the natural gamey aromas blend well with the spices, smells delicious already!!!

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24 Hours Marinated or Cured Lamb Belly, Note the Ammount of Liquid Derived from the Belly

After the marinated and cured lamb belly sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours and flipped over several times, you may seen the liquid in derived even more now. The color of the meat is darker, while the texture is firmer, i guess 24 hours (one day) for a small 400 grams of lamb belly is enough to curing the pancetta properly, you may need more time for larger piece of belly.

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Properly Washed, Drained and Patted Dry Cured Lamb Belly

The cured lamb belly washed gently over cold running water to discard the excess salt and curing mixtures. DO NOT OVER WASHED the lamb belly and NEVER SOAKED it in the water, unless the water penetrated into the meat and possibly spoiling your freshly cured pancetta, a little bit of remaining spices in the surface of the pancetta is just fine. The pancetta then patted dry with clean papper towel to remove the remaining liquid, this flat cured belly also called stesa pancetta di agnello.

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Rolled and Thighly Secured Lamb Pancetta Arrotolata

The freshly cured lamb belly then rolled thighly and secured with some sewing twines. Make sure there’s no air pocket beetween the rolled lamb belly. This rolled cured lamb belly also called arrotolata pancetta di agnello. This is rolled lamb pancetta usually served raw as antipasti or appetizer after air dry cure.

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Using Clean “Dry Mode” Refrigerator as Dry Curing Chamber, Pancetta Alongside Lap Cheung /Chinese Sausage

The freshly cured lamb pancetta hung to dry in a cold, good-ventilated and dark place, then left until dry and loosen 30% of it’s original weight once it freshly cured. Make sure you notes the weight of the cured pancetta before you hung it and calculate the 30 percent loss from the original freshly cured weight.  In my case, the freshly cured lamb pancetta weight is 360 grams (from 400 grams fresh lamb belly) and the 30% loss is 108 grams, which means my lamb pancetta is ready to be eaten raw when it’s weighed 252 grams.

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Nice Shaped Rolled Lamb Pancetta

The rolled lamb pancetta then hung to air dry curing in the room temperature in a subtropical or even better in a cold climates country. If you living in  a tropical country like indonesia, i guess it’s impossible to left the freshly cured pancetta hung to dry curing in room temperature because it’s too hot and too humid. Hence you must use your refrigerator to dry curing it, just made sure you cleaned out your fridge before using it as a curing chamber. Simply left the pancetta hung undisturbed in the fridge door in the ideal fridge temperature (about 1– 4°C or 33 – 39°F) and the fridge humidity in “dry mode”. Do NOT OPEN THE FRIDGE TOO OFTEN since the temperature will fluctuated and made the pancetta taste funny.

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Dry Cured Pancetta Losing 30% Weight, Note the the Loose Twines Due Curing Shringkage

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Ready to Eaten Pancetta di Agnello

This is my lamb pancetta look a like after air dry cured in the fridge after 20 days. The lamb pancetta meat had a nice dark red colour with creamy white and firm fat covering. Nice gamey aromas with distinct spices smells comes out of it and the taste just perfect for my licking; mild gamey, fatty and sweet. The lamb meat has shrunk a lot, but i guess the fat didn’t shrunk much.

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Slicing the Lamb Pancetta Thinly!

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Thinly Sliced Pancetta di Agnello

To store the homemade lamb pancetta, you can kept hung in in the fridge as long as you want before it’s turn harden,or spoiled and become inedible. If you want to store the pancetta  for longer than 2 – 3 weeks, best in freezer. I don’t really know if it will go mouldy or turn racid if you leave it in the fridge for too long, but i guaranteed that i won’t be last than longer before ended out in my tummy.

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Nice Fatty Lamb Belly Pancetta

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Thinly Sliced Saltpetre Cured Lamb Pancetta, Ready to Eaten Raw

fried lamb pancetta crispy lamb belly fat renderred


Maybe you heard that nitrate are toxic, infact nitrosamines did but the nitrate all blamed for that. Nitrosamine formed when nitrate transform into nitrite then react with amino acids or very high heat. Nitrosamines are known to be powerful DNA damaging chemicals and resulting cell mutation and cancer. But don’t really bother about it, infact a single portion of spinach or celery contain more nitrosamines than you can imagine. So don’t be affraid to use salpetre once you follow the recomendation ammount consentration in your homemade pancetta because you don’t want to risk your life, but i suggest if you want to FRIYING the SALTPETRE (nitrate) CURED PANCETTA, please USE THE LOWEST GENTLE HEAT as possible to prevent the nitrosamine formation, so  NEVER  CHARRED the SALTPETRE (nitrate) CURED PANCETTA.

lamb belly pancetta rolled dry cured lamb

Recipe Homemade Lamb Pancetta di Agnello Arrotolata

Recipe Homemade Lamb Pancetta di Agnello Arrotolata

Ingredients: (Measured the ingredients according your lamb belly weight)

  • 1 kg lamb belly (1.000 grams)
  • 3 % salt (15 grams) 
  • 3% palm sugar (15 grams)
  • 500 ppm (part per million) Saltpetre  {(500:1.000.000) x 1.000 grams} = 0,5 grams (500 mg)
  • 4 tablespoons Homemade Garam Marsala Powder
  • 2 tablespoons    mix Italian herbs powder ( Rosemarry, Thyme, Oregano, Sage, Bayleaves and Marojam)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 juniper berries, crushed
how to make pancetta rolled lamb belly salt cured recipe pink salt

How To Make Lamb Pancetta

How To Make Pancetta of Lamb Belly

  • Measure the weight of each pancetta ingredients properly
  • Clean out and sterilize all of the utensils
  • Mix and rub the curing salt and spices mixture to lamb belly, let is marinated about 24 hours in the fridge
  • washed it gently under running water
  •  drain in properly, patted dry with paper towel, set aside
  • Roll the lamb belly pancetta, make sure there’s no air pocked inside, secure with butcher twines
  • Note the date and measure the weight of freshly cured pancetta arrotolata
  • Hang the pancetta to dry in a well ventilated place until dehyrated and losen it’s 30 percent of it’s original weight (i’m using clean, “dry mode” refrigerator)
  • Thinly sliced the Lamb Belly Pancetta di Agnello and served it as charcuterie appetizer

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50 thoughts on “Homemade Lamb Pancetta di Agnello (Dry Cured Lamb Belly)

  1. Dedy, I feel like I’m reading an article by one of my Italian relatives! Wow, what an undertaking on not only prepping the meat, but then preparing it to dry. I only wish I had a few slices of the finished pancetta to enjoy with some Parmagiano Reggiano cheese and a glass of wine.

  2. Looks beautiful and something I would have to pay top dollar here at one of those fancy markets here in Asia. I bet the flavours were amazing and making it yourself you knew exactly what went into the pancetta. You are always taking on these difficult challenges. Good for you!

  3. I have eaten in Italy but never ever made before. I still don’t think I will make because its a once a while affair for us. Nonetheless, it was great to find out on how to make – indeed knowledgeable.

  4. You always amaze me everytime I see you make something like this. Maybe because I live in a country where ham is everywhere, I don’t think to make it myself. Maybe because I never think to make it myself I think its hard work and magic. And then you make it… and it looks great!

  5. It really has been too long since my last visit. You have been cooking up some amazing dishes. I love the look of this pancetta – no doubt the passion tastes through in every slice!

  6. I’ve got some regular pancetta in the fridge to make carbonara and I’m now totally intrigued by this lamb one! Homemade is insane! What a sense of satisfaction you must have to be able to make these amazing things to eat!

  7. You always make great cured meats. We love having cured meats and baguettes as snack on weekends between video shooting. I’d be so happy having your homemade one and I don’t normally pick lamb but I’d definitely love to try yours. You’re such a PRO!!!

  8. You really need to start selling your charcuterie. It’s freakin awesome!! Being a lover of lamb, I know that I would fall in love with this pancetta on the first slice. Thank you for a lovely and educational post!

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