Yes folks, its moldy meat drama time again.
Some long time readers (hi Danika, hi Mum) might remember the saga of me curing a bresaola at home last year. In fact, it was about 10 months ago if memory serves me. Thankfully actually, memory doesn’t have do anything – I have posts on that last emotional episode –
Back then, the humidity dropped too low, caused case hardening (outside dries out too fast, inside stays wet, develops rot), and ended up in the trash can. Was a bit of an emotional ride for some reason.
After doing that failed bresaola I tried my hand at duck proscuitto. That turned out wonderfully. I might be doing some more of that pretty soon, it was that tasty (and darn right easy).
This time round with another piece of eye of round (the cut for a small bresaola), I am doing things differently. A friend who works at a hotel/restaurant in Seattle gave me a call to say that the place wanted to get rid of some old wine coolers that they had converted to be meat curing lockers. Get rid of it for free I should mention. Turns out this wine cooler is just about perfect – holds a great temperature, is large, and pretty economical (far more than an old fridge I got off craigslist to do the same job..). This should give me a far more controlled environment than just hanging the meat in a cage, in my garage.
Turns out I am still having some humidity problems, but have them under control somewhat. It still varies a lot, especially when the wine cooler turns on – it of course blows dry cold air into the chamber, which lowers the humidity. Keeping the door open a jar has helped, but it isn’t perfect. I have a humidifier on the way, which I am going to bung in the bottom of the wine cooler – that should sort it out once and for all.
So – the bresaola. You rub a trimmed eye of round in salt and spices, and let it pretty much sit in the fridge for two weeks – turning and rubbing every now and again. You clean it off, tie it up, and hang it in a cool, humid place until pretty much stiff, and it has lost about 30% of its weight.
This hunk of beef has been hanging now for about 3 weeks. It is pretty darn firm (a little too firm on the exterior for my liking, but should be OK) – I am hoping just another week will see it done. I just couldn’t resist posting a few shots of it now though.
Thankfully this one isn’t quite as much drama. I know a little more about the process now. The humidity has been a source of worry – but I am learning just to adapt, make changes, relax a bit (Danika might tell you otherwise..), and see how it goes. If it is another trash can job, I haven’t lost much cash, just time and love.
Friends on twitter have thought differently however! Comments like: “mamster @wrightfood You and your bresaola. The drama never ends.” and the rather cheeky: “ChefReinvented @mamster seriously, man @wrightfood should just go buy some, hang it in his basement, snap its beauty shot and call it a day”.
So perhaps this experiment in narrowly dodging boutulism poisoning isn’t quite as drama free as I first thought…