Excerpted from Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn.
Featured in spenser magazine issue 1, nov.dec 2011, on page 95.
This air-dried beef is common in the mountainous regions of northern Italy. A very lean, intensely flavored preparation, it’s usually sliced paper-thin and drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice. You might also serve it with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, some greens, and thin slices of baguette. If possible, use grass-fed or organically raised beef.
The Spice Cure
1 oz./25 grams kosher salt (about 2 tbsp.)
2 tbsp./30 grams sugar 3⁄4 tsp./4 grams Insta Cure #2 or DC Curing Salt #2
1 1⁄2 tsp./5 grams freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp./6 grams chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp./6 grams fresh thyme leaves
5 juniper berries, crushed with the side of a knife
One 3-lb./1.5 kg beef eye of the round roast, no more than 3 inches/7.5 centimeters in diameter, trimmed of all visible fat, sinew, and silverskin.
1. Combine all the spice cure ingredients in a spice or coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder.
2. Rub half the spice cure all over the meat, rub- bing it in well. Place in a 2-gallon/8-liter Ziploc bag or a nonreactive container and refrigerate for 7 days, turning it every couple of days.
3. Remove the beef from the liquid (discard it) and rub in the remaining spice cure. Return to the refrigerator for 7 more days.
4. Rinse the beef thoroughly under cold water to remove any remaining spices and pat dry with paper towels. set on a rack on a baking sheet uncovered at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.
5. Tie the beef with butcher’s twine. Hang the meat (ideally at 60°F/15°C with 60 to 70 percent humidity) for about three weeks. The meat should feel firm on the outside and silky smooth when sliced. (Yields approx. 2 pounds of bresaola; about 30 appetizer servings).
Note: A favorite source for all sausage making and meat processing supplies is Butcher & Packer supply Company in Madison Heights, Mi. They ship nationionwide. If this is your first time attempting to dry cure meat, we highly recommend that you read the food safety sections in Charcuterie before starting.