The pancetta represents a cut of pork located in correspondence of the belly formed by a thick layer of fat and a part of the abdominal muscles. The fat that continues in the upper part of the animal, at the back, is no longer defined as pancetta, but as we have just seen it is called lard.
The pancetta can be thinly sliced and cooked on the grill or, after salting, it can be rolled up, stuffed and sold as a cured meat meat cure.
When the appropriately treated capocollo is placed before being rolled onto the layer of pancetta, we speak of “pancetta coppata”. If, on the other hand, it is left stretched out, cut into strips, salted and smoked, it becomes what in English is called bacon .
The choice of the type of bacon to be used in the different preparations varies according to the type of recipe you want to make, making sure to choose the cuts with the right ratio between fat and lean parts.
As the word itself suggests, this cut is obtained from the pig’s cheek . It is a rather fatty part, albeit of a higher quality than lard or pancetta. In the kitchen it is the key ingredient for making excellent spaghetti all’amatriciana and is often used as a fatty component for salami.
The pork leg is obtained from the hind leg of the pig and represents a very valuable cut of meat. It is from here, in fact, that prosciutto, raw or cooked, and culatello are obtained . The thigh can also be further divided into breech and bow.
Generally this cut is dissected to prepare steaks, to be grilled or pan-fried, or roasted since the muscle is quite lean and poor in connective tissue.
The thigh of the pig has the same muscles and is divided into the same cuts as the thigh of the bovine, namely: rump, sirloin, walnut, round, bell and rump which is recognized as the most tender part.
Main cuts of pork: the fifth quarter
Among the main cuts of pork, a special mention goes to the fifth quarter, that is to all those parts considered less noble of the animal such as: the head, tripe, ears and so on.