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Is Uncured Pancetta Cooked? The Truth!

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You bought some uncured pancetta for the first time to add to your favorite carbonara. But you can’t seem to contemplate if uncured pancetta comes cooked or not? 

Is uncured pancetta cooked?

No. Uncured pancetta doesn’t come cooked, just like most other cured pancetta out there. You have the option of having it in whatever way you like. You can have it raw. You can grill it or lightly stir-fry it if you don’t like it raw. The only difference is the way uncured pancetta is processed.

I’m pretty sure this small piece of information doesn’t answer all of your questions. Well, don’t worry, I’ve got more details for you below regarding this matter. 

So, keep scrolling!

Is Uncured Pancetta Raw? 

Uncured Pancetta is packed in raw form, just like cured pancetta. But does that mean you’ll be having spoiled meat? Rest easy. Let me tell you how it works.

While cured pancetta is dried using sodium nitrate, uncured pancetta is processed using natural sea salt and celery juice. 

Natural sea salt may not be as strong as sodium nitrate, but it’s still quite efficient at removing moisture from organic substances. Besides, celery juice contains nitrites in it. So that contributes to the drying process as well.

Except for the addition of sodium nitrate, everything else is the same as the curing process. The meat slab is covered in herbs and spices and soaked in brine for flavoring. 

Then it’s left for drying and aging for a minimum of 7 months. Premium quality can be ensured by extending the aging process for up to 2 or 3 years. After that, it’s either sold in cube forms or paper-like slices.

What I’m saying here is, if uncured meat is processed with utmost caution using these elements, the end results will be about the same as cured meat. 

That’s why uncured pancetta is packed raw, just like most cured pancetta packs. And you get the option of having it in any way you want. 

If you like to wrap a raw pancetta slice around your veggies or put it in a sandwich, then you can totally do that. But if you’re someone who can’t even tolerate briskets being slightly pink in the middle, you can always grill, fry, or simmer your pancetta. 

Here are my recommendations on some of the most popular uncured pancetta brands available in the market:

Product 1
Product 2

Now you might be wondering, why exactly are there two methods of processing pancetta if the end results are the same. 

Curious to know? Then take a look below!

How Different is Uncured Pancetta from Cured Pancetta?

There’s a huge debate regarding uncured pancetta qualifying as true pancetta. 

A lot of people claim that curing is the only correct method of processing pancetta. And if it’s not cured, it’s not even pancetta. 

But we’ll just accept the fact that pancetta is processed and served in two different ways. So, how different is uncured pancetta from cured pancetta? 

Curing is the most typical method of processing pancetta. It’s done by adding sodium nitrate and other spices to the pork-belly meat slab and leaving it to age and lose moisture. 

On the other hand, uncured pancetta is processed almost in the same way. Except that here sodium nitrate isn’t added for drying the meat. Instead of that, natural sea salt or celery juice is used. 

The reason behind this difference is that sodium nitrate is considered toxic to some levels. Hence, this alternative method emerged, which is considered to be healthier by some people. 

Now, nitrite is the main element that works at removing the meat’s moisture completely.

It’s the key to preserving processed meat and you’ll notice the effect as the meat slab loses weight. These meat products like pancetta and bacon further lose weight if cooked

And while sodium nitrate is the most effective at doing so, other methods can be slightly faulty, as those involve lower levels of nitrite.

However, health concerns regarding having raw pancetta must have emerged from somewhere, right? 

So, how necessary is it to cook pancetta before consuming it?

How Safe Is it to Consume Uncured Pancetta Raw? 

It’s clear by now that uncured pancetta offers us the option of having it raw as well as cooked. But is it actually safe to consume it without cooking?

You may hear about health concerns regarding consuming raw uncured pancetta if you do a little bit of research. So what sorts of health risks are associated with having it raw?

Preservation and safe consumption are the prime concerns of every meat consumer. Starting from whether prime ribs can be frozen, to how to prevent spoilage, people search for all types of questions on the internet.

So you should do your own research as well to prevent all sorts of health risks. And I’m here to help you. 

The main issue with uncured pancetta is, unlike cured meat, if the processing is done even slightly carelessly, the meat will be highly susceptible to bacteria growth. 

Another issue with uncured pancetta is that fraud sellers can sell you an unprepared ham labeling it as uncured pancetta. 

So my personal suggestion would be to cook your pancetta. Just know how long you should cook it. Even if you love to have raw slices of it in your sandwich or carbonara. 

Not only for uncured pancetta, for the cured ones as well. Because no matter how much you’ve been assured, having something raw is always like taking chances with your health.

That’s all!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which meat products are similar to pancetta?

Pancetta is most similar to bacon. But other similar meat products are prosciutto, salted pork, smoked sausages, etc.

What is pancetta also known as?

Pancetta is also known as Italian bacon. Because it’s quite similar to bacon and has an Italian cut. 

How many types of pancetta are there?

There are three types of pancetta, mainly based on shapes. Such as, pancetta arrotolata (rolled), pancetta tesa (flat), and pancetta coppata. 

Final Thoughts

Seems like our discussion regarding “is uncured pancetta cooked” has come to an end. It’s a matter of confusion to many people. So I hope this discussion has helped you clear your doubts.

I’ve tried my best to provide detailed analysis regarding this matter for you to have a clear conception. 

Hopefully, you’ve found this article helpful. And for more content like this, stick around!