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
4.82 from 11 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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41 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..

    2. Shelley M
      Shelley M

      You aren’t brining, you are curing… I realize I’m late in the game here but for people reading who are new, less confusion is good.

      1. Eric
        Eric

        Hi Shelley. Here’s the truth of the matter. In order for you to cure your meat it has to be brined first. There are wet brines and dry brines that are used for curing. Depending on the size of the meat will determine how long the muscle remains inside of the brine in order for it to cure all the way through. In this recipe we used a dry brine that takes advantage of the equilibrium method. So you can use wet or dry brine when curing. Choice is yours 😉

  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!!

  9. Peter calengas
    Peter calengas

    5 stars
    I have a eye of round braseola wrapped in collagen sheet in curing chamber after about three weeks on the outside of the collagen developed a round green mold spot the size of a quarter,which I wiped and rinsed it off with vinegar and put it back in the chamber to continue the drying process.. is it still safe to eat when done?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Yes. Just wipe with a vinegar cloths and keep drying.. It will be ok

  10. Kyle Friedel
    Kyle Friedel

    2 Questions:
    Where have you been all my life? I’ve ruined so much meat before finding this channel.
    And if I want the white mold on my bresaola, Can I just put it in the netting and brush it with the starter? Or will I need to spritz it? My humidity level is 80% because I’m doing a prosciutto crudo and 2 salamis (all your recipes) so I don’t want to change it too much.
    On a related question, are cellulose sheets interchangeable with collagen sheets?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      LOL. Thank you. If you want mold you can spritz or brush it on. Either way. You can also take your hands and rub down a salami that has the mold on it, then wipe down your bresaola. That works as well.. I’ve never tried the cellulose sheets oin a drying chamber, so not sure how that would work but in a home refrigerator the 2 are not interchangeable..

  11. Austin McQueen
    Austin McQueen

    Hey Eric i recently came across your youtube channel and i absolutley love all the content you put out! just have a quick question in your Capocollo recipe it calls for turbinado sugar and in your Bresaola recipe it just calls for sugar. would it be ok if you used the turbinado sugar instead of just regular sugar?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Thank you. Yes. Turbinado will work. I mainly use turbinado in all of my recipes (mostly because that’s what’s widely available where I live).

    2. Eric
      Eric

      yes. Any sugar will work

  12. Keith
    Keith

    Woops! Made a mistake used Prague #1 in Braseola cure,
    Am I safe.
    How can I salvage the situation?
    I am 3 days into the cure process.
    Thanks for any help.

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Under normal circumstances I would say no, BUT since bresaola technically doesn’t need cure to dry safely (as long as the right amount of salt is added), I would say you are ok.

  13. Stephen Friedenthal
    Stephen Friedenthal

    Hi!
    Finally have my drying chamber built and getting ready to make your Finocchiona salami. But, for the Bresaoloa, what happens if you skip the dry age and go directly from cure to chamber?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      you would have a more traditional bresaola….

  14. Johann
    Johann

    5 stars
    Hi Eric – A couple of questions, please. On the 45-day dry aging, did you collect pre/post weighs? I suspect not because in the video your tag does not have a weight recorded, but I thought I’d check. I have what seems and aggressively dry refrigerator and would like to use the weights, if you have them, as a benchmark against dry aging.

    As an example, I have a first eye round for Bresaola already cured (which I did not dry age), and also a tenderloin cured for Basturma, both wrapped in TSM’s dry aging wraps and hanging to dry. After only 5 days in this refrigerator, they both lost 10-11% of their starting weight, which seems too fast – even knowing how the loss rate slows over time, the eye round would lose 30% in just a bit over 2 weeks. I have no reason to expect this 2nd Bresaola (new eye round cut from wet-aged whole sirloin tip today!) won’t also dry overly-quickly in this fridge.

    So with the existing cured Bresaola and Basturma, I’m now alternating 5 days fridge dry hanging, then bag for 5 days, then back to hanging. I’m hoping this process will stretch the drying time out to a more appropriate amount.

    Second question – while I’m unafraid of doing this 5-on/5-off drying process for the already cured meats (because, well, they’re cured), do you foresee an issue with doing the same for the initial aging process for this second eye-round? It would be refrigerated the entire time, but would only be actively drying for about half that time, trying to stretch it to 35-40 days in this overly-dry fridge.

    Many thanks again for all of your great content!

    1. Eric
      Eric

      tough to say. do you have a crisper option.. You could place the meat in there. Doing half drying and half vac sealing is an interesting idea. I’ve never needed to try that so I’m not sure about the finer points. I don’t see it being a huge problem. Sounds like uncharted waters there. I would say though that with all that trouble, it might be worth building a drying chamber for future projects in the event you want to get serious about the craft.

  15. Jared Holm
    Jared Holm

    Hi there!

    Made this with eye round and sliced today… Quick question about the color of the finished product : The middle of each slice is a nice ruby red circle, but the rest is a pale brown. I used the curing calculator and am pretty sure it cured for the right time… Maybe a little on the long side. I dried with the dry aging beef wraps. Unwrapped at exactly 35% weight loss. Could the outer discoloration be from curing too long? Have you ever seen this result?

    Thank you!
    Jared

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Interesting. Sometime discoloration happens with oxygen. I wouldn’t worry about it too much. As long as it was cured, and dried to 35% without any off odors it’ll be ok.

  16. Johann
    Johann

    Hi Eric, a couple of “iterations on a theme” type questions. I’ve got one eye round drying for bresaola now (not dry aged) and another eye round dry aging to eventually cure to make the dry aged bresaola as written here in your recipe.

    In several of the salumi threads there are discussions about the hard rind that sometimes happens with refrigerator drying, and that vacuum bagging for a few weeks can help reduce this hard rind as the moisture more central in the meat will be drawn into the rind and soften it.

    In this recipe and in the dry aging of beef steaks thread, you (and everyone else I’ve read regarding dry aging beef) mention that you get a dried pellicle that needs to be trimmed off before you use the meat (here, to cure for bresaola, or more generally with dry aging steaks/roasts, to cook the meat).

    What I’m wondering is if after dry aging beef, using the same idea as reducing the rind on fridge-dried salumi, could you eliminate (or substantially reduce) that pellicle by vac-bagging the meat for another month after the dry aging has been completed? This of course would be impractical for the person doing occasional dry aging, but if you were doing it serially it might end up in substantially less waste.

    The second question is, ignoring all of the above and just assuming one trims off the pellicle from dry aged beef, have you ever saved up (frozen) those scraps and then once some amount is accumulated, tried making beef broth from them in an instant pot or stovetop pot? Again, I’m just trying to reduce waste and use up as much of the meat as I can.

    Thanks again as always for spending the time to provide all of this great info!

    1. Eric
      Eric

      It really depends on how bad the dry ring is. On dry aged beef the ring is generally pretty severe (which is why the inside is raw). In this case it would take much longer than a month to rehydrate that ring. I would assume 90-120 days give or take… As fas as the pellicle, yes. Saving the pieces and making a stock out of them or even grinding them up to use in a sausage is a great idea. It’s what we do

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