Posted by on Jul 22, 2014 in Let's Talk About It | 0 comments

What’s up #TeamFabio! Do you smell what the chef is cooking? Today, I’m bringing home the bacon AND eating it.  Not really bacon, but Pancetta. That’s the Italian way of bringing home bacon.  And TRUST ME, you want to do as many things the Italian way as possible.  Drinking espresso and eating gelato at least once a day is something to consider as well.

 

I’m all about competition and making sure I come out victorious, but for the sake of this conversation, let’s have a healthy discussion about the Bacon vs. Pancetta topic.  Pork, in recent years, has EXPLODED into our food arena.  From butts to ribs, and hams to cheeks, Pork is in abundance and absolutely delicious.  It’s affordable meat, which means you can feed your family and friends without stretching your wallet too much.  Specifically, Americans have made Bacon the breakfast, lunch, and Dinner go-to protein.  It goes great with eggs in the morning, added to a sandwich for lunch, or tossed with some roasted vegetables for dinner.  My mouth is watering talking about this!

 

Bacon is nothing more than pork belly, the underside of a pig, that’s been cured and smoked.  I’ve also seen it being put through a brine solution before the later procedures take place.  This is usually a cold-smoking process, meaning that the bacon is not heated or cooked during smoking and remains raw. That’s why you never want to eat bacon straight from the package.  Talk about a case of the runs, and I’m not thinking a marathon!  Smoking can be done with a wide range of woods, from apple, maple, or hickory, which each give their own distinctive, delicious flavors to the meat. Here are a couple of flavorings you might not have thought about that you should give a try!

 

  • Lavender
  • Juniper
  • Jalapeno
  • Brown sugar/Apple

 

Bacon has great fat too.  When rendered properly, you can save the fat and use it like you would butter.  The difference is the amount of flavor that is now being incorporated into you food.  A slight smokiness and meat flavor takes vegetables, fish, and eggs to THE NEXT LEVEL.  And I’m a proud supporter of #nextlevelcooking!

 

But enough about bacon.  Pancetta is getting jealous and I have to make sure that I’m not told to sleep on the couch tonight ;)   Pancetta is where bacon wants to be when it dies and goes to heaven! While bacon goes on vacation 3 times a year, Pancetta is always busy with things to do.  When you’re Italian, you gotta make sure everyone is happy!  Pancetta is cured with a dry rub, containing the curing agent.  It can even be eaten uncooked if left to cure for a long period of time.  The traditional shape of Pancetta is a roll that looks like a log.  Usually laced with black pepper, it lends itself to more pork flavor since it hasn’t been smoked. Are you following me so far guys?  This is a lot of pork talk just for one blog! Wouldn’t want you to go crazy.

 

Having the right tips for the kitchen can always make of break your day.  Check this small list that I’ve put together to make your life easier and your meals tastier.  I’m all about you America and your pigs!

 

Cooking Tips:

 

  • Freeze pancetta/bacon for 2-3 minutes to make cutting effortless
  • Boil bacon for 5 minutes to get rid of some of the smoke flavor
  • Save bacon/pancetta fat for the best roasted vegetables
  • For the crispiest pork, cook it in the oven at 300 F for 10-12 minutes
  • Always start pancetta/bacon in a cold pan.  This is the best way to render the fat for later use.
  • Use for wrapping leaner cuts of meat to infuse flavor and retain moisture within the meat.

 

Is your mouth watering yet guys?  How do you enjoy this pork delight?  Are you on team pancetta or team bacon?  Remember to chose wisely and let me know!  Thanks for letting me share and give some insight on this topic this week. It’s only a matter of time before breakfast rolls around and you’ll be left thinking, “should I go America or Italian?” Send me your pictures and recipes of what you are using this week via Facebook and Instagram and stay busy in the kitchen.  Love you all to pieces! #Letstalkabout