Making Bresaola Better

Today we are going to attempt to make an Italian classic charcuterie even better using a $1 steak. In this project we will be taking an eye of round, dry aging it, curing it, then drying it in a controlled environment.

In the world of charcuterie there are many facets. Fresh sausages, smoked, emulsified, fermented you name it. One of the easiest (in my opinion) is salumi. Salumi is whole muscles that have been cured and hung to dry. You might have heard of pancetta, prosciutto, lonzino, guancale, or culatello (just to name a few). All of these muscles are cured for a period of time then hung to dry in a cool damp room. In my case I have a controlled environment (a modified refrigerator) that keeps the temperature and the humidity regulated.

This regulated temperature (55F) and humidity (80%) allows the meat to begin drying very slowly. I can control the environment using a humidity controller and temperature controller. In addition to a slow moisture loss there is biological activity going on at the exact same time. Bacteria are converting amino acid chains into flavor while (good) mold is imparting a funky cheesy quality that is synonymous with fine Italian cured meats.

Here’s where things get interesting though. What would happen if you dry aged the beef first. Dry aging beef imparts it’s own interesting and unique flavor. We used the Dry aging steak wraps from the sausage maker to dry age our beef. These wraps allow you to dry age your beef in your refrigerator without the need for any special equipment. I have found that 21-60 days is about the range that you want to dry age in your fridge though. Anymore than that and the meat starts to dry out too much.

If you want to know exactly how long to cure your meat be sure to check out this website. Click on the tab that reads BRINING TIME: https://genuineideas.com/ArticlesIndex/saltbrinecalculator.html

Enjoy the video and if you scroll towards the bottom of this post you’ll find the recipe that I used to make bresaola. Let me know if you have any questions.

Here are a few things we used in this project

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
5 from 5 votes

Bresaola

Cured Italian Beef
Prep Time14 d
60 d
Total Time74 d
How much does your whole muscle weigh? 2270 grams

Ingredients

  • 2270 g Eye of Round
  • 51 g % kosher salt (2.25%)
  • 34 g % sugar (1.5%)
  • 5.6 g Insta cure #2 (.25%)
  • 9 g black Pepper (.4%)
  • 4.5 g fresh rosemary (.2%)
  • 6.8 g fresh thyme (.3%)
  • juniper berries (5 for every 2.5 pounds of meat)

Instructions

  • Season you beef with 100% of all you spice mix in this recipe.
  • Place your seasoned beef in a vac bag in your refrigerator for at least 3 weeks.
  • After your eye of round has finished curing rinse it off and wrap it in a collagen casing or a cheese cloth. Weigh your meat.
  • Hang it to dry in a controlled environment. 55F and 80% relative humidity till you have lost 35-37% weight. Once you hit your target weight loss you can remove it from the chamber and it is safe to eat.

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22 thoughts on “Making Bresaola Better

  1. Kim
    Kim

    Would this recipe work with the dry age wraps? It is a lot easier to find an eye of round than hog jowls in the grocery store. And it would be cheaper if I do it wrong or find out I don’t like it.
    It would be nice if I could find more recipes for using them for salumi. Setting up designated fridge for curing isn’t in the works right now.
    Thanks

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Hello Kim. Which wraps are you referring. Are you talking about the ones I use to dry age beef (from the sausage maker), Here is a link for the wraps just to make sure we are on the same page: https://amzn.to/3n54MLL I have found that these wraps can be used for dry curing in your fridge. I made a video on the results if you care to see: https://youtu.be/-TjMpWbsQgU

  2. Jay
    Jay

    you mentioned leaving the seasoned beef to cure for at least 3 weeks while when I use the brinning calculator is says 4.7 days. This is a big difference. Can one over cure this product?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      You can’t over cure this product using the equilibrium method. I generally over estimate the cure time as most people don’t use the calculator and every cut is a different size. 15 – 20 days covers just about any eye of round you might find…

      1. Alexandre Mello
        Alexandre Mello

        5 stars
        Eric, you are right!
        Curing is a matter of diffusion of salt and spices into the meat and diffusion of water out of it. It depends on the temperature and the thickness of the meat. In general, 5 to 7 days for a radius of 1 inch (distance from the surface to the center of the meat) is quite enough for equilibrium dry cures. At low temperatures, no problem if you exceed this time for a couple of days.
        In your recipe, you have pressed the meat, so the thickness for diffusion was close or less than 1 inch.
        Thank you for your recipe. I have tried basturma before but with another cut and only one drying step. The result was not so good as you have had. I will do it again for sure following your two steps process.
        congratulations
        Alexandre Mello
        Rio de Janeiro Brazil

        1. Alexandre Mello
          Alexandre Mello

          5 stars
          I have replied to the Basturma post, but I suppose you get it.
          Thanks

        2. Eric
          Eric

          Let me know how it turns out. That basturma recipe is one of my favorites..

  3. Gali
    Gali

    Hi,
    How do you put a humidifier in a refrigerator? Mine doesn’t have an outlet.

    1. Eric
      Eric

      We drill a hole at the top of the fridge to run the wires..

  4. Jeff
    Jeff

    Hi Eric, I was wondering how a little fermentation with a culture would pair up with the beef. Have you ever tried that?
    For this piece, I will probably pass on that, as this is my first go at Bresaola and want to see how the traditional method will turn out. But if it’s doable, I would like to try fermentation the next time.

    1. Eric
      Eric

      I’ve tried it on a few cuts (back in the day) and didn’t see a substantial result. The issue is that the bacteria needed to ferment are anaerobic (thrive without oxygen). You would need to inject the meat with bacteria for it to do anything. I personally didn’t find that the results were that much better..

  5. Capt. Gus
    Capt. Gus

    Hi Eric,
    I am thinking about using venison backstrap instead of eye of round or filet for either Bresola or Bastirma. The spicy coating on the Bastirma has me leaning that way, but is Bastirma possible with dry aging wraps in the fridge. Would I have to re-wrap after applying spice coating?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      absolutely. Wrap the meat in the wraps after curing then once you are ready for the spice coating, simply apply the spice coating to the meat and hang it. I’ve never tried it that way but I think that the spice coating will slow down the moisture loss and act as it’s own barrier..

  6. Bob North Texas
    Bob North Texas

    Can you finish with UMAI bag in the fridge?

      1. Bob North Texas
        Bob North Texas

        👍

  7. Peter
    Peter

    Good evening
    I was wondering about the fresh rosemary and thyme
    weights in the recipe..
    are they just for the “leafs”or does the weight include the stems….

    1. Eric
      Eric

      i just weigh the leaves

    2. Drew
      Drew

      Hello. I was wondering, do you have to wash the spices off after brining? ((I’m asking in general, not just referring to this specific recipe.))

      1. Eric
        Eric

        you don’t have to wash it off

  8. Andrew
    Andrew

    First and foremost, thank you for all of this amazing information.

    I shot my first elk this weekend and have a pair of beautiful eye rounds.

    I’m familiar with the method you outlined in your video where you first featured the dry aging wrap/refrigerator method.

    Would that method work well for the bresaola recipe?

    Thanks again

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Yes. That would be tasty!!

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