Bresaola or beef bresaola is one of the cured meat cold cut or charcuterie. Bresaola, sometimes called brisaola is air-dried, salted and spiced beef, bison or venison deer that has been aged for several months until it becomes hard and turns a dark red. Bresaola usually made from lean and tender meat like eye round or tenderloin. Properly trimming process is essential to the rich taste. The meat of beef are thoroughly defatted and seasoned with a dry rub of coarse salt, spices, and herbs. They are then left to cure for a few days. Air drying period of beef bresaola between one and three months follows, depending on the weight of the particular bresaola. The meat loses about 30-40% of its original weight during aging.
I like home curing, smoking and preserving, eversince i’ve made my Homemade Venison Deer Bresaola Recipe, Homemade Gravlax (Salt Curing Salmon) and Homemade Duck Prosciutto (Air Dry-Cured Duck Breast), i’m obsessed with making homemade cured meat or charcuterie. I even made Homemade Smoked Salmon Recipe, Homemade Tea Smoked Duck Recipeand Homemade Smoked Beef Recipe. Homemade beef bresaola is away cheaper than the gourmet deli store price tag. Making beef bresaola is actualy effordless since you let the time doing it’s drying and aging process. Beside, you can control all ingredients and adjust the taste according to your own personal licking. For example, i add szechuan peppercorn to my homemade bresaola to satisfied my asian descent taste buds and you won’t get any of it in the store.
Beef bresaola is popular among the hunters because it was ancient old meat preserving method. Properly dry cured method of bresaola can save the good amount of hunting harvest. Than they can enjoyed it for a long day since it can last for months or even years. Some would love to inocculate a good white mould in the exposed meat to make it last longer. To mantain the red meat color and prevent spoiling and poisoning from botulist, bresaola cured with nitrites like salt peter or potassium nitrid. The nitride oxide binded and reacted with the remaining myoglobin in the flesh and make a red pigmentation. This process get even better when the water is drained out from the flesh.
Home curing beef bresaola is very savety, as long as you had the proper technique and equipments. When you dealing with uncooked meat, you need to made sure that all your equipments is clean and dry. Measure the weight of your beef then calculate the sea salt weight (2-3 %) and the pink salt weight (0,1%) needed to curing the beef . Right after you finished curing the beef with salts, sugar and spices for about 2-3 days, depend on your beef loin size. The cured beef is washed under cleaned running water, hung in a cold, good-ventilated and dark place, then left until dry and loosen 30 percent of it’s original weight. Make sure you notes the weight of the cured beef before you hung it and calculate the 30 percent loss from the original weight. In my case, the cured beef filet mignon weight is 166 grams and the 30% loss is 49,8, which means my bresaola is ready to eaten when it’s weighted 116 grams. Unfortunately, my cured beef is a little bit forgotten in the fridge and the drying goes a little bit too far until the bresaola weight reach 110 grams in 16 days (30 Mei-16 June 2014), but since my bresaola made of finest filet mignon cut, the taste is still fine and the texture is still tender.
The time for maturing or air dry aging the cured beef is depending on the temperature, humidity and the climates. The optimal air drying process made the cured beef aged to develop more umami flavour, but heat and hight humidity introduce the unwanted mold and bacteries and ruined your bresaola. If you found any greenish mold or wet and icky dripping with strange smells, discard your bresaola and made another ones because i’m sure you don’t wanna risk your health. The best enviroment for making cured meat is cold climate with low humidity. When you lived in a tropical country with high temperature and humidity, don’t worry about it, as long as you can set your refrigerator in “dry mode” you can made your own dry cured meat or bresaola. I’m using my fridge for drying and curing many things, i even using it for drying my duck skin for making Homemade Peking Duck Recipe with Crispy Skin Recipe. Never forget to cleaned out your fridge before using it to hung dry and curing meat and never put any veggies like cabbage, onions, etc unless your bresaola got a funny smells and even worst molded and ruined.
The spices and herbs used to curing and flavouring the beef bresaola is different according to the traditions and your personal preferences. For making mine, i’m using a combinations of nutmeg, szechuan pepercorn, fennel seed, cumin, cardamon, sage, tarragon, juniper berries, black pepper, bay leaf, cloves, thyme, oregano, and rosemary. For the salt, i’m using homemade wood smoked salt and also salt peter (sendawa). All of the rub then processed in a food processor until form a fine powder to made it penetrate better to the meat.
How to enjoy beef bresaola is up to your preference, bresaola usually sliced into paper thin and served at room temperature or slightly cold. It is most commonly eaten on its own, but may be drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. I love to serve beef bresaola as a salad or as an appetizer on a top of toasted whole wheat bread with blue cheese, pesto or spicy salsa dressing. Another variation is serving beef bresaola as a pasta or pizza topping. If you ask me about how does beef bressola taste like, i guess it almost the same with beef bresaola, but got a gamey deer flavour within. Beef bresaola is got more iron-like taste with metal aftertaste, just like you eat your anemia supplement.
Homemade Beef Bresaola Recipe:
- 1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin (replace with beef)
- 20 gr (about 2-3 percent from the meat) wood smoked seasalt
- 1/4 tsp of salt peter/ pottasium nitride (you can either use pink salt)
- 30 gr brown sugar (you can replace with regular sugar)
- spice : nutmeg, szechuan pepercorn, fennel seed, cumin, cardamon, juniper berries, black peppercorn, and cloves
- herbs : sage, tarragon, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, and rosemary
- Trim any silverskin and fat from the beef tenderloin, note the weigh for counting the salt weigth (2-3% sea salt and 0,1% curing salt/pink salt/salt peter)
- Process all salt, sugar, spice and herbs in the food processor until form fine powder, set aside
- Put the spiced beef loin in the non reactive airthight container (or using zip lock bag), let it refrigerate in 7-10 days until very firm depending on the size of your meat, flip it every 12 hour
- Washed the cured beef under running cold water, patted dry and set aside
- Tide the cured beef with butcher twines and secure the end, note the date and the weight of your salted and cured beef loin (count and note your 30 percent weight loss of your beef bresaola)
- Hung the beef bresaola in your clean refrigerator, set it in “dry mode”
- Watch and weight your beef bresaola until it got ideal 30 percent of weight lose target
- Thinly slice your bresaola with sharp knive and enjoy your homemade beef bresaola in fresh greens salad or with tomato pizza.