Bresaola... am I doing it right?

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Original poster
Mar 8, 2017
Hi Everyone,

This is my first attempt at curing, and I'm attempting a bresaola. However, after looking around at more recipes, it seems that I'm using an unusual (or, at least, uncommon) method. The recipe I have tells me to trim the meat, grind the spices and submerge the two in 3L of red wine for two weeks in the refrigerator... no added salt. After the two weeks, it's rolled in salt (but no nitrate/nitrite cure), wrapped in muslin and hung to dry.

What worries me is the lack of salt for two weeks. Is the cold and the ~14% alcohol content enough to suppress the bugs? The other thing that worries me is the salt that's left in place during drying.

Here is the description in full:

Cut the beef into long strips of about 8-10 cm, to form a long rectangular shape. In a metal bowl, combine the juniper berries, bay leaves, garlic, thyme, rosemary and olive oil. Place the beef into the bowl and rub the mixture all over. Place the beef and remaining mixture in a bucket. Cover with red wine and place a plate over the top to submerge the beef completely. (The oil will float to the top and act as a seal.) Refrigerate for 2 weeks. Take the beef out and rub the sea salt all over it. Wrap the beef in muslin and tie with string. Hang the beef in a cool, well-ventilated area for about 2 weeks at 14°C. (If you live in a hotter climate, put the beef in a fridge and allow a little longer for the curing process, up to 4 weeks.)


I looked up your recipe. It does seem a unique and weird way to cure meat. When it comes to meat curing please don't just grab any recipe a Google search returns.

Go to reputable sites (SMF is one). Len Poli's recipes are good too (although sometimes they lack authenticity).

You can cure bresaola without nitrite/nitrate but not without salt. Salt needs to be on the meat while the meat cures in the fridge, not applied just before drying.

Search for bresaola on this site. There are a few recipes.
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Scott, morning....  anyone that questions the safety of a recipe found on the web, is one smart dude...   Glad you stopped in to the forum...   Lots of smart, safety conscious  folks here...   Questions are ALWAYS welcome ...     Speaking of welcome.....


Yes, I'm always cautious of microbial and chemical safety. I'm a molecular microbiologist by training, and that's the reason it's taken me so long to attempt to cure meat (I've fermented a range of other things, and made my own cheese). For some reason I didn't question this recipe immediately on doing it, until I was thinking about it again a week or so later!. 


I didn't just look up the first recipe I found... I read many, many recipes, but I wanted one that started with wine. But, I didn't find many that work that way. The one I used is from a TV show here in Australia that I quite enjoyed, and he has presented lots useful methods and recipes in the past.

I put mine in the wine and vacuum sealed it, rather than including the oil and a plate in an open container... so, what should I do? It's been at 4 C for nearly two weeks. Should I throw it away, or salt it now and leave for longer? I guess if something's growing in there over the two weeks, then it's headed for the trash. 

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Having looked for more recipes that use wine, I came across this... the guy pictured is the same one that wrote the previous recipe that I asked about, which has no salt in the wine (it's from his TV show and his book). This time, though, he's showing a recipe that uses wine with salt included. Ugh.

No salt:


Also, now I've seen the video for the recipe I started (the one with no salt in the wine), I don't really like the look of the finished product... Seems like pretty uneven drying, and far to soft in the centre compared to what I know as bresaola. 


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Has anyone else ever prepared Bresaola in this way (other than the guy in teh video lol!)?
Nope. You could be following a very old school recipe or following a guy who pulled a recipe out of his butt.
Many years ago I would have followed your route and bucked the system. These days I tend to start with a basic recipe as a foundation and branch out from there. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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