This project has several steps, but it’s spread out over a few weeks– so it’s very little effort, actually.
1. Start by trimming down your piece of beef. Remove all the fat and sinew from the outer parts– don’t try to do internal surgery, just clean it up nicely all around.
2. Weigh your beef, and write down this weight— this is important, and key in figuring out when your bresaola is done.
3. Pour the wine into a ziplock bag, and put your meat in. Press the air out, and seal. Marinate in the fridge overnight.
4. Put together your cure— combine the herbs, sugar, salt, and prague powder, and blend in a spice grinder. I used a mortar and pestle, and it worked alright, but the peppercorns stayed pretty whole. Put half of it in a sealed container for later.
5. Take the meat out of the wine, and dry it off with a dish towel. Coat it in half of the cure, then put the meat and cure that didn’t stick into a clean ziplock bag. Press the air out and seal. Keep it in the fridge, turning over daily, for one week. It will get watery– this is the salt pulling moisture out of the meat, and it’s a good thing. After one week, dump out the liquid, dry the beef off, and then rub the second half of the cure into the meat, seal again, and turn daily for another week.
6. Remove the meat from the cure and dry well with a kitchen towel. Tie with a series of butcher’s knots. I used the video below to learn how to do this– not too tricky, and kind of fun.
7. Wrap it snugly in muslin. I folded the edges in like a burrito, then rolled it up. Truss once more, just like you did in the last step, tying a loop at the end that you can hang it from. Go ahead and weigh it, then write that weight down along with the date where you recorded the pre-curing weight the first time.
8. Hang your bresaola in a cool, airy place. I used our mud room, which basically keeps outdoor temperatures without any wind or rain. Your ideal temperatures are 50-60F. I do not have a special curing chamber, and I know my temperatures were quite a bit cooler than this most of the time. Serious meat curers also have ways to control the humidity– which I also do not have. I don’t let these things stop me, though!
Signs of trouble will be fairly clear. We’ll talk mold in a minute. Anyway, you want to weigh your meat regularly, until you achieve 30% weight loss. So, if you began with a kilo of meat, you are done when you reach 700g. Some people remove the muslin for the last week of curing, but because the air was so dry, I left the muslin on so it wouldn’t dry out too much. My total hang time was about 4 weeks.