Pancetta Tesa Iberico de Bellota 1.1 to 1.5 Ib

Price Size Sale Qty
$28.50 1.3lb (600g)

Pancetta Tesa Iberico de Bellota


Pancetta is a cured meat product produced from pork belly. There are two major different types, which are then done in different styles based on regional differences. The two major types are semi-dried and fully-dried. The semi-dried is more similar to bacon. It is cured and hung to dry for maybe a week or two. It is then stored in the fridge or freezer, sliced, and cooked before eating. The fully dried variant is cured and hung to dry until it loses approximately 30% of its starting weight, which normally takes a few months. The fully-dried doesn’t need to be cooked to be eaten, but it can be if desired. The semi-dried uses Cure #1 as bacon does, and the fully dried uses Cure #2 like other dry-cured meats.


Now, these are the two major types, but they are both done in many different styles in different regions. The most recognizable style is probably pancetta arrotolata, which is where the pork belly rolled to create a long round cured meat that is then hung to dry. When it is sliced, you get pretty circular slices. Another type that is made is pancetta tesa. This is the pork belly cured, allowed to stay flat, and hung. When it is sliced, you get long thin slices.


Production Process

Immediately after weaning, the piglets are fattened on barley and maize for several weeks. The pigs are then allowed to roam in pasture and oak groves to feed naturally on grass, herbs, acorns, chestnuts, and roots until the slaughtering time approaches. At that point, the diet may be strictly limited to olives, chestnuts or acorns for the best-quality Pancetta Tesa Iberico de Bellota, or maybe a mix of acorns and commercial feed for lesser qualities.


The pork belly skin is removed before the pork is salted and held in a tub of brine for 10–14 days at a low temperature and high humidity environment. The brine is usually composed of salt, nitrite, ascorbate, spices such as black pepper, chili, garlic, juniper, and rosemary, and sometimes nitrate.

After salting and brining, the pork is rolled, with layers of fat on the outside surrounding a meaty core. The rolled pork is then tightly packed into nettings or other fibrous casings. Rolling produces pancetta's distinctive shape, while the casing prevents case hardening in the latter stages of the production process.


Following rolling and packing, the pork undergoes enzymatic reactions facilitated by exposure to a warm environment of 22–24 °C for 24 to 36 hours. It is simultaneously exposed to cold smokes for desirable colors and flavors and to prevent molding.

Finally, the smoked pork is held at 12–14 °C and 72–75% relative humidity for 3–4 weeks for drying. The resulting pancetta retains approximately 70% of its original weight.


Preservation and Storage

Cured meats have been specifically produced to be edible for a long time. The curing process was used for generations to preserve pork before the invention of refrigeration. During the curing process the meat is dried in salt, which helps to prevent the build-up of harmful organisms, and then is hung to be exposed to the elements, producing an exterior layer of mold that helps to protect the meat inside.


They are labeled according to the pigs' diet and the percentage of the pigs' Iberian ancestry, with an acorn diet and pure-bred Iberians being most desirable. The current labeling system, based on a series of color-coded labels, was phased in starting in January 2014.

  • The finest grade is called Pancetta Tesa Iberico de Bellota (acorn). This ham is from free-range pigs that roam oak forests, called dehesas along the border between Spain and Portugal and eat only acorns during this last period. The exercise and diet have a significant effect on the flavor of the meat; the ham is cured for 36 months. This grade is divided into:

    • Black-label - 100% Pancetta Tesa Iberico de Bellota, produced from pure-bred Iberian pigs

    • Red-label - Pancetta Tesa Iberico de Bellota produced from free-range pigs that are not pure-bred. The percentage of Iberian ancestry in the animal must be specified on the label

  • The next grade is Green label - jamón ibérico cebo de campo. This ham is from pigs that are pastured and fed a combination of acorns and grain.

  • The third type is White label - jamón ibérico de cebo, or simply, jamón ibérico. This ham is from pigs that are fed only grain. The ham is cured for 24 months.

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