How to Make Bresaola: A Simple Guide for Beginners

Bresaola is a popular Italian air-dried beef that is often enjoyed as a charcuterie. It is a lean meat that is salted and air-dried to create a deep red, meaty flavor. Making bresaola is a great way to get into curing meats as it is one of the easiest charcuterie projects to make, other than bacon.

To make bresaola, one must first understand the process of air-drying meat. The meat is salted and then hung in a cool, dry place for several weeks to dry. The process of air-drying meat is a delicate one, and it requires some knowledge and skill to get it right. However, with the right ingredients and equipment, anyone can make bresaola at home.

In this article, we will go through the step-by-step process of making bresaola at home. We will cover everything from understanding bresaola and required ingredients to the equipment needed and safety measures while making bresaola. We will also discuss how to store and serve bresaola and answer some frequently asked questions. By the end of this article, readers will have all the knowledge and confidence they need to make their own delicious bresaola at home.

Key Takeaways

  • Making bresaola is a great way to get into curing meats.
  • The process of air-drying meat is delicate and requires some knowledge and skill.
  • With the right ingredients and equipment, anyone can make bresaola at home.

Piero’s Recipe from the video:

  • Very lean beef, from the leg (silverside, topside)
  • 29g Sea Salt
  • 7g Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 Garlic
  • 4 Juniper Berries
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Cloves

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Understanding Bresaola

Bresaola is a type of Italian cured meat made from beef. It is a lean cut of meat that is air-dried and seasoned with a blend of spices. The meat is typically cut into thin slices and served as an antipasto or appetizer.

Bresaola is made from the eye of round cut of beef, which is trimmed and prepped by butchers to ensure an intact, lean piece. Once prepped, a blend of salt, white pepper, nutmeg, and warm spices is massaged into the muscle. These spices provide Bresaola with its unique flavor profile and also begin the curing process.

The meat is then left to cure for several weeks, during which time it will lose moisture and become firmer. The curing process also helps to develop the characteristic flavor of Bresaola.

Bresaola is a popular ingredient in Italian cuisine and is often served with other cured meats, cheeses, and olives. It can also be used as a topping for pizza or added to pasta dishes for extra flavor.

Overall, Bresaola is a delicious and versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Its unique flavor and texture make it a popular choice for Italian cuisine and beyond.

Required Ingredients for Bresaola

Making bresaola requires a few essential ingredients. Here are the ingredients that you need to make bresaola:

  • Beef: Bresaola is traditionally made with beef, but you can also use venison or bison. The meat should be lean and free from any fat or sinew. The cut of meat used for bresaola is typically eye of round or top round.
  • Salt: Salt is an essential ingredient for curing the meat. You will need a good quality sea salt or kosher salt.
  • Spices: The spices used in bresaola can vary, but they typically include black pepper, juniper berries, cinnamon, cloves, and garlic. You can adjust the spices to suit your taste.
  • Red Wine: A good quality red wine is used to add flavor to the bresaola. You will need a dry red wine that is suitable for cooking.
  • Muslin Cloth: You will need a muslin cloth to wrap the bresaola while it is curing.
  • Butcher’s Twine: You will need butcher’s twine to tie the bresaola before hanging it to dry.
  • Curing Salt: Curing salt is used to help preserve the meat and prevent spoilage. You can find curing salt at most specialty food stores or online.
  • Optional: Spice Crust: Some people like to add a spice crust to the outside of the bresaola. You can use a mixture of rosemary and black pepper for this.

Using the right ingredients is essential for making delicious bresaola. Make sure to use high-quality ingredients for the best results.

Equipment Needed

To make bresaola, there are a few pieces of equipment that are necessary to have. Some of these tools may already be in your kitchen, while others may require a bit of investment.

Meat Grinder

The first piece of equipment that is necessary to make bresaola is a meat grinder. Grinding your own meat allows you to control the texture and quality of the meat that you use. It is recommended to use a meat grinder with a medium-sized grinding plate, as this will produce a texture that is ideal for making bresaola.

Curing Chamber

If you follow Piero’s recipe and instructions you can do this in your home fridge as demonstrated but its also good to have something else to store it in to not take the space up!

Another important piece of equipment that is necessary to make bresaola is a curing chamber. A curing chamber is a temperature and humidity-controlled environment that is used to dry and cure meat. This can be as simple as a converted refrigerator, or as elaborate as a custom-built curing chamber.

To create a curing chamber, you will need an old fridge, a temperature regulator, a small humidifier, and a little fan to keep the air moving. It is also recommended to use “s” hooks to hang the bresaola up. Here is a good primer on equipment you will need to cure meat. The curing process typically takes around 3 months, so it is important to have a dedicated space for your curing chamber.

Overall, while there are a few pieces of specialized equipment that are necessary to make bresaola, most of them can be found in a well-stocked kitchen. With a meat grinder and a curing chamber, you’ll be well on your way to making delicious bresaola at home.

Step-by-Step Process of Making Bresaola

Meat Selection and Preparation

To make Bresaola, the first step is to select a good cut of beef. The main muscle in the top round is usually the best choice as it is lean and close-textured. The meat should be trimmed of any excess fat and connective tissue before curing.

Curing Process

Once the meat is prepared, it is time to cure it. The curing process involves rubbing the meat with a mixture of salt, sugar, and spices. The spices commonly used include juniper berries, cinnamon, clove, garlic, marjoram, and citrus rind. The meat is then wrapped tightly in cheesecloth and hung to cure for about two weeks.

After two weeks, the meat is unwrapped, and any excess curing mixture is removed. It is then coated with a mixture of ground spices, such as rosemary and black pepper, before being wrapped again and hung to cure for another two weeks.

Air-Drying Process

After four weeks of curing, the meat is ready for the air-drying process. The Bresaola is hung in a cool, dry place with a relative humidity of about 70 – 80% for 6 to 12 weeks depending on the size of the meat. During this time, the meat will lose about 30% of its weight as it dries.

It is important to monitor the temperature and humidity levels during the air-drying process to ensure that the meat does not spoil. Once the Bresaola is fully dried, it can be sliced thinly and served as a delicious addition to any antipasti platter.

Overall, making Bresaola is a time-consuming process that requires patience and attention to detail. However, the end result is a delicious, flavorful cured meat that is well worth the effort.

Safety Measures While Making Bresaola

When making bresaola, it is important to follow safety measures to prevent any contamination and ensure that the meat is safe to eat. Here are some safety measures to keep in mind:

1. Use Fresh Meat

When making bresaola, it is essential to use fresh meat. The meat should be of high quality and free from any signs of spoilage, such as a foul smell, slimy texture, or discoloration. Using fresh meat will reduce the risk of contamination and ensure that the bresaola is safe to eat.

2. Sanitize Equipment and Work Area

Before starting the process of making bresaola, it is important to sanitize all equipment and the work area. This includes knives, cutting boards, containers, and any other utensils that will come into contact with the meat. The work area should be clean and free from any potential sources of contamination, such as other food items or pets.

3. Use Proper Curing Methods

Curing is an essential step in making bresaola. It involves the use of salt, nitrates, and other curing agents to preserve the meat and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. It is important to use the correct amount of curing agents and follow the recommended curing time to ensure that the meat is safe to eat.

4. Monitor Temperature and Humidity

During the curing process, it is important to monitor the temperature and humidity levels to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. The ideal temperature for curing bresaola is between 50-60°F (10-15°C), and the humidity level should be between 60-70%. Using a thermometer and hygrometer can help ensure that the temperature and humidity levels are optimal.

5. Store Bresaola Properly

Once the bresaola is cured, it should be stored in a cool, dry place. It can be wrapped in cheesecloth or butcher paper and stored in the refrigerator for up to a few months. It is important to check the bresaola regularly for any signs of spoilage, such as mold or an off smell.

By following these safety measures, you can ensure that the bresaola you make is safe to eat and delicious.

Storing and Serving Bresaola

After the curing process is complete, it’s important to store the bresaola properly to maintain its flavor and texture. The bresaola should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and stored in the refrigerator. It can also be vacuum-sealed and stored in the freezer for up to three months.

When it comes to serving bresaola, it’s best to slice it thinly, almost translucent, and serve it at room temperature. This allows the meat to fully showcase its flavor and texture. It’s recommended to use a sharp knife to slice the bresaola as thinly as possible, which can be a bit of a challenge due to its firm texture.

Bresaola can be served on its own as an appetizer or used in a variety of dishes, such as salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes. It pairs well with a variety of flavors, including lemon, arugula, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil.

Overall, bresaola is a versatile and flavorful cured meat that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. By properly storing and serving it, you can ensure that it retains its delicious taste and texture.


Frequently Asked Questions

How is bresaola made?

Bresaola is made by first selecting a lean cut of beef, usually from the top round. The meat is then cured with a mixture of salt, sugar, and spices, such as juniper berries, rosemary, and black pepper. After the curing process, the meat is hung to dry in a controlled environment for several weeks until it becomes firm and dark red in color.

What cut of beef is used for bresaola?

The main muscle in the top round is typically used for making bresaola. This cut of beef is lean and has a close texture, which makes it ideal for air-drying and curing.

Why is bresaola so expensive?

Bresaola is a specialty cured meat that requires a lot of time and effort to produce. The process of curing and air-drying the meat can take several weeks, and the meat loses a significant amount of weight during this time. Additionally, the quality of the beef used for making bresaola can also affect the price.

What type of meat is bresaola made from?

Bresaola is traditionally made from beef, but it can also be made from other meats such as venison, horse, or pork. However, beef is the most commonly used meat for making bresaola.

Where can I buy bresaola?

Bresaola can be found at specialty meat shops, Italian delis, and some high-end grocery stores. It can also be purchased online from various retailers.

What are some recipes that use bresaola?

Bresaola is a versatile cured meat that can be used in a variety of dishes. It can be served as an appetizer with cheese and crackers, added to salads or sandwiches, or used as a topping for pizza or pasta dishes. One popular recipe is bresaola-wrapped asparagus, where the bresaola is wrapped around asparagus spears and baked until crispy.

Do you have other Charcuterie Videos?

Yes! we do, here is a list:
Salame a Punta di Coltello
How to make Italian Guanciale

Do you have any other videos? Yes here are our latest ones:

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Cooking With An Italian

Ciao I am Piero coming all the way from Puglia Italy. I created this site to bring my love of food to all, hope you enjoy.