The first bresaola I made (which I dried in a cupboard above a bowl of salt mush) was tasty, but had fairly serious case hardening. Since then I’ve built a curing chamber controller to convert an old fridge for hanging meat, and so I cured and dried another one, for science!
To make it, I used a piece of salmon cut beef from Johnny at JT Beedham‘s butcher, and I used exactly the same cure ratio and curing process as the previous bresaola, only this time I cased it in a beef bung cap, or appendix. More about these here.
So here it is after curing. Curing ingredients / method are listed here for reference.
The beef bungs are stored in salt, so you need to let them soak for a few hours in water, and rinse them thoroughly before using them.
It took me about half an hour to gradually get this beef into the casing. Quite satisfying once complete, they seem pretty resilient.
Once that was done, into the chamber. Here it is after a few weeks
I didn’t use any starter cultures to inoculate the casing, but it developed a nice coating of white mould. I regularly took it out to inspect for “bad” mould (blue, green fuzzy, hairy or black) and weighed it to check on its drying progress. Once it had lost 37% weight, I pulled it out.
When I squeezed it it felt “right”, i.e. not squishy, but softish with a little give and spring.
I decided to cut it straight through:
I took a few wafer thin slices off to taste
It’s much more like what I’ve been aiming for. It’s beefy with a complex cheesy-funk taste – like you get with shop bought salami. The texture’s smooth and the drying is even, with no case hardening (\o/) If you pull at both ends of a slice it comes apart like brisket does, into strings, along the grain. The herbs are a little muted so I’ll up the quantities next time – maybe the casing funk has overtaken it taste-wise.
It took 7 weeks to drop 37% weight in the chamber, and I think it’s all the better for the longer, slower drying. The casing and controlled drying environment have definitely helped to even it all out.
I’ve now got it vacuum packed in the fridge, where it should keep almost indefinitely, but it’s not likely to last too long around here 🙂