First Attempt at Bresaola
I've been wanting to try a dry cured meat, but my family are cattle ranchers so pork has a bit of a familial taboo (don't speak about chicken to them) in addition to the fact that we're always knee deep in beef. (1st world problems...)
Restricting myself just to beef, I discovered Bresaola, and I've started a project.
I grabbed a 5lb pike's peak roast (a low round roast usually meant for hamburger) out of the freezer and have started my process.
My cure is...
10T Kosher Salt
2 T Sugar
2 T Whole Black Pepper
1/2t Whole Cinnamon
1/2t Whole Clove
I tossed everything except the salt and sugar into a grinder to powder it. Mixed it all together before rubbing it into the roast.
I've suspended the rubbed roast a little bit above the bowl using would skewers, tented it with foil, and plan on leaving it in the fridge for five days.
I plan to dust it off, wet and re rub it with more cure and then repeat after another five days.
At fifteen days I plan on brushing it off, cold smoking it with pecan for a day or so, wrapping in butcher paper and hanging it in my crawl space for a month or two.
Do you all have tips, warnings, or corrections to this plan?
post grinding and rubbing....
Wow, it hasn't even been 24 hours and I drained off 1/2 cup of blood so far.
Are you just using kosher salt and no actually curing salts?
The recipe that I got a hold of did not mention curing salts, so currently no, I'm just using kosher salts.
After your post, I started reading some more about the purpose of nitrates and it sounds like a bit of a mistake for them to be left out. It's been stored covered and draining in the beer fridge in the garage (below 40 since it's February in Colorado).
I think I'll go find some nitrates, add it to the remaining mix, then brush off the existing cure and reapply a covering with the new nitrated cure.
I grabbed a bag of DQ Curing Salts or pink curing salts. I saw other recipes recommended 6% of your normal salts should be nitrite salts.
So I balanced my cure recipe to match. Washed my meat, patted dry and then re rubbed and put back in the drainer.
So far it doesn't smell like anything except the cure. A dark but uniformly colored outside. No mold, or any other sign of spoilage.
Look forward to seeing your results!
I'm far from a pro, but I've cured many meats except for Bresaola. If you are not using nitrates and nitrites and don't have a humidity and temperature controlled environment I would be rather concerned with botulism. If your crawlspace isn't 80% humidity and 55-60 degrees I'd be a little worried about case hardening...you could sprits with water for the first week or so...but even still the lack of cure is a deal breaker for me, safety first.
I appreciate the advice of somebody like you who's done some curing before. Considering the thickness of the meat, I was planning on washing and reapplying the cure tomorrow night and giving it another week. Is there such a thing as "over curing" or does the osmosis make sure the cure is spread evenly?
After the third week I was going to wash it, pat it dry, cold smoke for a day, then wrap with butcher paper to keep the bugs out and then tie and hang some place a little warmer with a little humidity.
I'm still hung up on the amount of nitrite in my cure mixture. The DQ #2 Pink Salt label says it only has 6% Sodium Nitrite in it, so I'm thinking my earlier addition of 6% pink salt to my cure isn't really cutting it for the amount of nitrite I need. Does anybody have experience using DQ #2?
I'll post some pictures the next time I mess with it.
This is pretty great post on Bresaola and he is using #2 salt as well. He's also using a non-standard cut of beef like I am.
His ratio of #2 Pink to Kosher is about 10% of the kosher salt, so I'm feeling pretty good with my 6%. He also leaves it for three weeks.
The biggest difference is that he seals his and that he is using about half as much salt as I am.
I'm thinking about washing, repacking and sealing for the final week. Giving it another week and calling it good on curing.
It's very difficult to over cure meat, I'm sure at some point the meat would start to breakdown but I have never experienced that. Thick pieces of meat often benefit from a wash and additional applications of cure, just like prosciutto.
Cure rate averages are .25" per 24 hours on all sides, so you you have a 4" thick piece of meat it should take about 8 days for the cure to penetrate.
I'm not a science major so I don't really know the ins-and-outs of it, but I do know that if you put something with salinity XXX on one side of a membrane with salinity X on the other it will eventually balance out to XX on both sides. Water comes out and salt gets pulled in. The more salt you put outside the more gets pulled in.
If you plan on cold smoking I would probably wash and let it dry in the refrigerator on a rack for 24 hours to form a pellicule (salt crust). But I have no idea about cold smoking bresaola...so take that advice with a grain of salt.
What weight or quantities are you using for your cure? And are you sure it was #2 not #1? (#1 is no darn good for aged meats). #2 is a blend of 6.25% nitrite and 4% nitrate, the latter slowly breaks down to the former to protect your product for a longer time. #1 IIRC is just nitrite and only good for fast cures.
The rule of thumb is about one teaspoon (6g) per 5 pounds of meat, but you should really calculate it by weight with your other ingreedients. It's really potent stuff, 4oz will do around 100 pounds of meat. And the nitrite that is 6.25% in it's purest for will kill a person if they gobbled down 1/2 a teaspoon. You really don't want to screw up the measurements.
6% of your total weight of cure is adequate, lets say I was about to cure a 3 pound chunk of meat I would probably have 25 grams salt, 25 grams sugar, 4 grams Cure #2 and 20 grams of other seasonings for a total weight of 74 grams = 5.4%
Still consume at your own risk, when we age meats we are doing so in the perfect environment for one of the most deadly bacteria known to man kind thrives. I really don't want every tom dick and harry to read my post and kill themselves.
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