Bresaola is a salted, air-dried meat. It is typically made with lean red meat (usually beef), but game meat also works really well. Several cuts of meat can be used; most commonly made with topside (or eye of a round/girello depending on where you live), loin or backstrap; a good piece of top rump also works just as well. Bresaola is aged for two or three months until it becomes hard/firm. For the best result try to use a solid muscle piece with no connective tissue. The quality of meat is vital, so use the best meat you can afford.
1kg Girello, excess fat trimmed (100%)
30g Course salt (3%)
2.5-3g Instacure #2 (0.25%)
25g Raw sugar (2.5%)
5g Cracked black pepper/course pepper (0.5%)
4g Freshly ground rosemary (0.4%)
4g Dried thyme (0.4%)
3-5 Juniper berries, coarsely crushed
(makes approx. 700g finished product)
The ingredients used are shown as a percentage of the starting weight of the meat. I’ve noted the percentage next to each, so you can adjust what you will need based on the weight of your meat.
Pat dry the meat and tidy it up by removing all of the fat and silverskin/sinew. I chose to use girello because its a very nice and clean cut of meat which is a great shape and size.
Weigh out the ingredients then combine and grind them in a mortar and pestle or spice mill.
Rub the cure and seasonings into the meat; massage in the seasoning mix, making sure you don’t miss any cuts or folds. Ensure that the cure is evenly distributed. I usually spend about a minute or two on this.
Place the meat and seasoning mix (including anything that may have fallen off after massaging) into a large zip-lock bag. Make sure to squeeze all of the air out and then seal the bag. Refrigerate for 8-15 days (depending on size/weight of meat) flipping every 2-3 days and evenly redistributing the cure.
The meat is ready when it feels firm. Remove the meat from the zip-lock bag and gently rinse under cold water to remove any excess seasoning mix – you may still have some herbs left stuck to the meat which is fine. Pat dry with paper towel and leave uncovered for 2-3 hours to rest on a baking rack on a counter at room temperature. Then lightly apply some ground pepper, paprika and more rosemary and thyme (if desired).
Weigh your meat and record the weight. Wrap the meat in muslin/cheese cloth and hang it for around 6-8 weeks, or until you have reached at least 30% weight loss. Check the meat every week to monitor weight loss and wipe of any mold that is not white using paper towel dipped in red wine vinegar or brandy.
Once fully cured, the bresaola should feel firm to touch with a slight give in the middle.
The bresola will be an amazing red colour on the inside. It looks beautiful and smells delicious. The herbs and spices are quiet delicate and nicely balanced.
Thinly slice – a meat slicer definitely makes this easier if you have access to one (this was sliced on a home deli slicer) and enjoy as is or drizzle with some olive oil and lemon juice, finish with cracked pepper.