Dry Cured Calabrian Pork Tenderloin

I love the delicate taste of a delicious dry cured piece of pork tenderloin. Coat it with a little Calabrian pepper and you’ve got a flavor bomb that will have everyone talking. Today I’m going to show you how to make this delicious charcuterie and I think you are going to love how easy it is.

Making dry cured meat isn’t very complicated. We first cure the meat then we dry it. It’s literally those 2 steps. The first step (curing the meat) is all about 2 things: preserving/protecting the meat from harmful bacteria and infusing lots of flavor. The method we will be using to cure our meat is called the equilibrium cure. I really like this method as it’s not only incredibly easy to do but it’s also the most reliable and safest way to cure your meat. This method allows us to perfectly season/cure our meat without any concern of over/under salting. What’s also great about this technique is that you can work at your own pace (meaning if you can’t get to the meat immediately and it needs to sit in the fridge a few more days you don’t need to worry about it becoming too salty or over seasoned). This method is contrary to the alternative method called “Salt Boxing”. Salt boxing simply means you take a bunch of salt and encase your meat in it. Salt boxing is very unreliable and often produces a piece of meat that is extremely salty. We can talk about the 2 techniques in a different post. Once our meat has been cured we begin the process of drying.

I do love making charcuterie in a dedicated drying chamber but I am excited to say that for this recipe you have 2 options for drying – A drying chamber or a home refrigerator. Using a dedicated drying chamber has it’s advantages when it comes to flavor development but you just can’t beat how simple this recipe becomes when all you have to do is dry this tenderloin in a home refrigerator. There are a couple things that you need to know depending on which direction you choose to go.

Drying in your home refrigerator

Drying meats inside of your home refrigerator can be tricky because of the low humidity and high air speed. Both of these factors are almost certainly going to produce an overly dried piece of charcuterie. The trick to making this happen is having a unique wrap around our tenderloin that controls the moisture loss. I have used lots of different product over the past 10 years that claim to do this and the one I like the most is The Sausage Makers Dry Aging Wraps. These wraps were developed for dry aging beef but in my experiments I’ve found that they produce amazing charcuterie as well without the need for any special equipment.

When you use these dry aging wraps, simply (and carefully) place the wrap around the spice coated meat. As you fold the wrap around the meat you will want to press out any air pockets. Once it’s fully wrapped place the netting around the meat, weigh it, record the weight, and place it in your refrigerator till you lose the appropriate amount of weight. I like 35% for this recipe. YOU WILL NOT BE PRICKING THIS WITH A SAUSAGE PRICKER.

Drying in a dedicated drying chamber

If you plan on drying your Calabrian Pork Tenderloin in a drying chamber you will want to wrap the cured tenderloin in a collagen sheet from the Sausage Maker. These sheets are just like your sausage casings but in a sheet form. They have micro perforations that allow your meat to dry at a slower rate which will allow the meat to really develop it’s flavor while keeping a soft and tender texture. These sheets are fairly large and should be cut to size so 1 sheet will do lots of tenderloins. Alternatively you can stuff your cured tenderloin into a casing but you’ll run the risk or scraping off all of your spices and it can be very messy.

Drying chambers are not very difficult to build and once you have one you can make all sorts of neat stuff like salami, cheese, wine, and the list goes on. To see the one I built you can check out my post: Building a salami chamber/cheese cave. In this recipe I’ll be using a drying chamber with a temperature set to 55F and 80% humidity. This is going to be a great place to slowly dry our meat nice and evenly.

I hope you enjoy this week’s video and recipe. If you give this a go be sure to let me know how your came out and if you have any questions ask away in the comment section below.

Here are a few things you might find useful when making this recipe

ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4

Enjoy the video and the recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask away. If you make this at home I’d love to hear about how it came out!!

If you want to see the different things that we use in operation our be sure to check out our new Amazon Store.

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Print Recipe
4.84 from 12 votes

Calabrian Pork Tenderloin

A delicious dry cured meat with a smoky kick
Prep Time1 hr
drying/curing time35 d
Total Time35 d 1 hr
How much do you want to make? 500 grams

Ingredients

Meat

  • 500 g pork tenderloin

Materials

  • collagen sheet this is the wrap you'll be using if you have a drying chamber
  • dry aging sheet this is the wrap you'll be using if you plan on drying this in your home refrigerator

For the Cure

For the coating

Instructions

  • Trim your pork tenderloin and remove any silver skin.
  • Weigh your tenderloin and type the weight in the box above. The box reads, "How much do you want to make?"
  • Combine all of the "cure" ingredients and rub them onto your meat. Be sure to include 100% of all the cure spices. You don't want to leave any spices behind. Place the meat (and any spices that are left in the tray) in a bag and vacuum seal it (or a zip lock bag and remove as much air as possible).
  • Once your meat has been vac sealed place it in your refrigerator for 6 days. Be sure to turn and massage the meat daily.
  • After 6 days your meat has been cured and you can remove it from the fridge. Wash off any excess seasonings, liquid, and blot dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle the meat with a little white wine or sambuca then coat the tenderloin with Calabrian chili pepper powder.
  • Place the cured/Calabrian pepper coated tenderloin onto a collagen sheet and wrap. Secure with elastic netting or butchers twine. Weigh the meat and record the weight. Finally prick with a sausage pricker.
  • Hang in a drying chamber that has a controlled temperature of 55F and a humidity of 80% till 35% of the weight has been lost.

If you plan on drying this in your home refrigerator

  • Follow the recipe above BUT DON'T USE A COLLAGEN SHEET TO WRAP YOUR TENDERLOIN. You will be using a DRY AGING SHEET to wrap your tenderloin. The dry aging sheets are more suited for making charcuterie in the refrigerator.
    Once you wrap your tenderloin in the dry aging sheets (try to get as much air out as possible when wrapping the tenderloin), place the net around it, weigh the muscle, record the weight, and place it to dry in your refrigerator. Make sure that it is on a grating or hanging so that there's air flow on all sides.
    With the refrigerator method you will not be pricking your tenderloin.
  • Once you lose 35% weight your dry cured tenderloin is finished. Slice thinly and enjoy.

Storage instructions

  • Take your tenderloin and give it a vinegar or wine wash. If there is any mold on the surface you'll need to remove the mold. Once all the mold is gone and you've washed it well, place the tenderloin in a vac sealed bag in your refrigerator. It will be good for up to a year.

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45 thoughts on “Dry Cured Calabrian Pork Tenderloin

  1. Viet
    Viet

    Eric,

    Thanks for all the tips/recipes.

    For your dry cured pork tenderloin, Is insta cure #2 absolutely necessary? I noticed that in your recipe for the Capocollo, the insta cure # 2 was optional.

    Thanks.

      1. ALBrewer
        ALBrewer

        If opting out, should the salt then be increased by the amount of cure #2 not added?

        1. Eric
          Eric

          This advice applies to only whole muscles. If you chose not to use cure simply increase the salt amount to 3%. The spices are up to you

          1. Tim L
            Tim L

            Can I ask why prick the collagen if its already perforated? And the video moved on after a short demo, but did you prickle the whole loin area? I am using a non-inoculated controlled curing chamber.

          2. Eric
            Eric

            Pricking allows any air spaces to get pressed out and gives you a tighter bond between the paper and the meat. I did prick the entire loin

  2. Timothy John
    Timothy John

    I watched your video on curing salts and have two questions: is celery powder a good alternative/is it better or worse for controlling the nitrate addition and what about mesophilic culture for cured sausages?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      I’m not a fan of celery juice powder for sausages that would normally require cure #2. It’s really only supposed to be a replacement for cure #1. But even then it contains some unconverted nitrates which means by the time you cook your sausage you might be eating nitrates/nitrites in their unconverted form. Using a mesophilic culture would work in a salami. Just make sure there’s dextrose in the recipe for the bacteria to eat. It should ferment properly and deliver an interesting flavor..

  3. todd doty
    todd doty

    4 stars
    Hi! Curious about a few things. I did the refrigerator method and mine got a hard ring around it. And had a slow and then sudden weight loss. Dark color did not permeate the entire tenderloin. Is this a bust? Is it safe to eat? Did the proper brining prior to drying

    1. Eric
      Eric

      It should be ok. If you want to smooth out the darker ring, place the tenderloin in a vac sealed bag and leave it in the fridge for a couple weeks. The remaining moisture will equalize and everything should look uniform..

      1. todd doty
        todd doty

        Thanks, will do the vac seal idea.

  4. Robert Rapolas
    Robert Rapolas

    Maybe a dumb question. Is this made with a pork tenderloin or regular loin? Seemed really big for a tenderloin. What I have access to is kinda thin and packaged two to a pack. Thanks.

    Bob

    1. Eric
      Eric

      This is made with the tenderloin. 😀

  5. Jay
    Jay

    I made this recipe and really enjoyed it! However, I would like a little bit more of a salty bite. Can I just increase the amount of salt used in the cure (like 10% or something), or do I need to increase the curing salt too? Would it be better to add some salt to the drying stage?

    Thanks for the great website and YouTube channel!!

    1. Eric
      Eric

      10% would be way too much. It would be inedible. Try 3% along with the cure and see where that gets you..

  6. Sheila
    Sheila

    Hi Eric
    Thank you for your super videos.
    I live in the UK and have difficulty getting collagen sheets and dry aging sheets.
    Is it ok to wrap the meat in muslin and secure it with string instead?
    Thank you

    1. Eric
      Eric

      You could. Personally I’ve had better luck with Vietnamese rice paper (the white kind). Just wet the rice paper and wrap it round your tenderloin. Make sure you have 2 layers…

  7. Jessie
    Jessie

    Just wondering what the difference in formula would be using regular salt instead of cure #2. Thanks!

    1. Eric
      Eric

      For this recipe you would omit the cure and increase the salt so that it totals 3% of the weight of the meat.

  8. Tim Jones
    Tim Jones

    4 stars
    Thank you for the informative videos.
    Made the pork tenderloin and it was good but the inside looked raw. Can you help .

    1. Eric
      Eric

      You can always leave it to dry longer if you think the texture is to soft.

      1. Tim Jones
        Tim Jones

        Thank you !

  9. An
    An

    Hello Eric,

    I know you’re a fan of equalizing your products after drying and I saw the culatello equalized for 4 months. I was wondering if you know of an equalization calculator or if you have a rule of thumb you follow? I searched the web, but all I found were equilibrium calculators. Thanks again for the wealth of knowledge you share with all of us.

    Regards,
    An

    1. Eric
      Eric

      I actually don’t normally equalize. If the product dried evenly it’s not really necessary. For the culatello I wasn’t ready to finish that video so I just vac sealed it and placed it in my fridge. The 4 month window was more about convenience than equalization. If your product has dry ring it’s recommended to equalize the same amount of time that it’s dried. (a loose rule)

      1. An
        An

        OK, that makes sense. My first loin should be coming out of the chamber in about another 2 weeks and I just wanted to be prepared. The RH really takes a nosedive when the fridge kicks in. It recovers pretty quickly, but it’s under 70% for about 5 minutes, sometimes dipping into the 50’s. Thank you for the reply.

        1. Eric
          Eric

          That’s typical for a refrigerator. The humidity will rise and fall through the day. The goal is to have an average of 80%

  10. Denis
    Denis

    Hey Eric, excellent content. I saw one of your videos by a friend recommendation and instantly got hooked. Got two questions:
    1. Do you happen to have a recipe for a salmon ham (lachsschinken), similar to this but cold smoke I assume. Or any cold smoked pork loin recipe?
    2. Do you have a recommendation for an inexpensive but descent manual sausage stuffer? Meat grinder with sausage attachment didn’t like the sticky fuet mix…

    1. Eric
      Eric

      I don’t have a recipe yet for salmon ham. As far as stuffers go. I’m a fan of the sausage makers stuffers. Have you looked at any of theirs ( https://tinyurl.com/wy2x3j9t)?

    2. Andrew Dowd
      Andrew Dowd

      Good afternoon!

      Thanks again for all your content and help. This is not my first question and I’m sure it won’t be my last so thank you for your prompt responses.

      I wrapped my first Calabrian tenderloin on 12/24. It was 533 grams. It is now 1/2 and it weighs 402 grams.

      This seems awfully quick. It feels, looks and smells good. I also have a bresaola drying in the same method and refrigerator with similar weight loss.

      Just wondering if I should be looking for a slower rate of weight loss or if it all depends on my fridge using the dry aging wrap method.

      Thanks again.

      1. Eric
        Eric

        Slower is better. Try putting the tenderloin in the crisper section of your refrigerator. That might help slow the process down..

  11. Ben
    Ben

    I have a question about the drying/aging chamber. I have a small room off of my basement that keeps a fairly consistent humidity and temp of 90% and 52deg f. Do you think it will be to damp and cold or will the drying just take longer?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      The humidity might be a little high but other than that it’s perfect..

  12. MICHAEL J HIGGINS
    MICHAEL J HIGGINS

    Eric,

    Awesome video as usual. What is the difference between the steak dry aging wraps and dry curing wrap? Both seem to be made of collagen.

    1. Eric
      Eric

      The collagen sheets (dry curing wraps) are make of a perforated collagen material. The dry aging wraps are made from a vegetable based cellulose material of sorts. The slow down the drying more than the collagen sheets..

  13. Mike T
    Mike T

    Hi,
    Any idea what went wrong with my pork loin?

    Here is a pic I shared on OneDrive.
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!AuKYnsZtI6aY0zJ3lHVsJHLc2AMc

    The collagen sheets showed only white mold but when I removed them it seems to have black mold also. The meat is also a much darker color than I was expecting. I dried it until it lost 47% of its weight.

    The only variation was that I followed your printable recipe that says to poke the meat. I now noticed that in the notes above it, it says to not poke the meat.

    Any ideas?
    Thank you.

      1. Eric
        Eric

        Did you dry this in the home refrigerator or a drying chamber. Also which wraps did you use? The collagen sheets (Dry Curing wraps) or the Plant Based Wraps (Dry Aging Sheets)?

        1. Mike
          Mike

          I used collagen sheets and hung it in a curing chamber that has my first batch of soprasatta finishing in it. 55 degrees and 80% humidity.

          1. Eric
            Eric

            ok. Seem a bit dry. What % did you dry it to? Looks like 45+. How is the air flow in your chamber?

  14. Bob Bailey
    Bob Bailey

    Sliced this for the first time today. Great flavor, but texture was not what I expected. More pliable than what i was looking for + slight pink in middle. Used chipotle powder—no calabrian available here. Great smoky flavor. Thoughts on texture fix? Followed curing instructions then dried in umai bag till around 33% weight loss.

    1. Eric
      Eric

      You could let it dry to 40% for a more firm texture

      1. Bob Bailey
        Bob Bailey

        Thank you. No one has had any problem eating it. 😄 I have the lomo drying now, target is 35%. Should I up that to 40%?

        I’ve been really happy with your recipes and detailed instructions. Clearly you put a lot of work into these and it shows. Thank you.

  15. Danny
    Danny

    5 stars
    Thank you for all your videos. Very much appreciated. Can I use Umai bags for this recipe?

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