Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Brasaloa using UMAI Charcuterie Bags

This is my first attempt at making Bresaloa. What is Bresaloa? Bresaola or brisaola is air-dried, salted beef that has been aged two or three months until it becomes hard and turns a dark red, almost purple colour. It is made from top (inside) round, and is lean and tender, with a sweet, musty smell. It originated in Valtellina, a valley in the Alps of northern Italy's Lombardy region. The traditional way of making a Bresaola is noted below.

 A strict trimming process as seen below is essential to the rich taste. Legs of beef are thoroughly defatted and seasoned with a dry rub of coarse salt and spices, such as juniper berriescinnamon and nutmeg. They are then left to cure for a few days. A drying period of between one and three months follows, depending on the weight of the particular bresaola. The meat loses up to 40% of its original weight during aging.

The below spice mixture is not my recipe but comes from a wonderful blog on charcuterie. Cured Meats blog has been meaningful and essential in my learning process. Jason through his blog and his email has helped me understand charcuterie. Wrightfood blog has also been very helpful too in many different ways.  I am of course using the EYE OF ROUND for my Bresaola.

Note 1: The weight of meat plus fat is 100%. All ingredients to be added are expressed as a percentage of the weight of meat plus fat. Percentages can be used to standardize recipes regardless of batch size.  All weights are metric. 

Note 2: No weights are given because the weights of meats vary. Everything is a percentage of the meats weight after trimming. Example- Meat weight 2393 grams and we want to find out the amount of salt we need in grams- 2393 X 3.5%=83.755 or 2392/100 X 3.5 =83.755 grams. 

IngredientQuantity(g)% of Meat
Eye of round3322100%
Salt ( Kosher)1665%
Black pepper170.5%
Fresh rosemary8.50.25%
Juniper berries3.50.1%
Dry thyme3.50.1%
Cure #280.25%
After several emails with Jason and some discussion I will in the future use only 3.5% salt and .25% Cure #2.

Mix up the spice mixture after grinding the cinnamon, clove, and juniper berries, chopping up the rosemary and crushing the black peppercorns.

Take the mixture and really massage it into the meat. You really want to get the meat and salt nicely worked into it.  
Seal it up. Put it in the fridge for 15-21 days.
Massage the meat while it is in the bag every 2 or 3 days, flipping it to make sure it is getting even exposure to the liquid which will have formed in the bag.


I plan on using UMAI Charcuterie dry-age bags which allows you to create old world charcuterie in your home without the need of special equipment. 

Ok meat all cured after 21 days.  Meat weight before cure was 3322 g and after cure 3289 g for a weight loss of 33 g. I cured for 21 days due to size of meat. It looks beautiful!!!! Now onto the cold smoking!!!


 Top picture cured and smoke.  Bottom picture trimmed and uncured. 

Oct 31..Here is the Bresaola sitting in the UMAI charcuterie bag ready for the refrigerator.  In about two months or 30% weight loss it will be ready to be consumed.  Meat weighed in at 3289 g and a weight loss of 30% would be 986.7 loss and a final weight of 2302.3.  The flavors will be intense!!!!

              Bresaola is on the bottom right drying.        

After 26 days...it has lost 21% of it weight. 
Bresaola Bresaola Bresaola io ti adora!!!! For those of you that do not speak Italian "io ti adora" means "How I adore you" I don't speak Italian either so I goggled it because it sound sophisticated. That's right I love just adore my Bresaola.  In a privous post titled Bresaola using UMAI Charcuterie Bags I talked about how I cured it and here are the results of that effort. 

A special thanks to Jason Molinari of cured meats blog for sharing his recipe!!! 

After 21 days of curing and 51 days of dry curing the Bresaola met its target weight of 2137 grams which was a 35% loss in weight. I originally was shooting for 30% but decided to go for an extra 5%. 

My thoughts?  The Bresaola tasted meaty and the texture was silky and creamy. Overall I would say it was a symphony orchestrated and executed with precision. 

Perhaps, and I am still debating this I will pull it out at 32-33% of weight loss. The salt was nearly perfect for my palate but next time will cut salt back from 5% to 3.5%.