Home Cured Lonzino (pork loin)

November 19, 2010

This blog is fast becoming a mix of salted dried meat and vegetarian recipes by the looks of what I have posted recently – and frankly I am rather enjoying it!

This is the latest in my meat curing expedition, and whilst I have most likely only eaten 15 slices of it, I would consider it a favorite. Lonzino is a section of pork loin that has been cured then air dried. A very simple whole muscle cure that has a wonderful tenderness to it, with clean pronounced flavors, possibly thanks to the low amount of fat in each slice. It is pretty much the pork version of bresaola – the cured air dried beef eye of round that seems popular these days (especially with me!!)

Some may recall that I did a quick video of the making of this thing, back in beginning of October. Seems like whenever I do something like that, I go and jinx the bloody thing and it ends up getting all manner of nasty mold on it, and eventually crawls off the to trash can. Thankfully this time that isn’t the case – it has dried extremely well, possibly the most trouble free cure I have done to date.

The meat itself might look like it is wrapped in thin brown paper (see the photo above), but that is actually a beef bung casing – a section of cow gut that is large enough to stuff a pretty decent sized piece of meat in to. WOW, that sounds appetizing doesn’t it.. Well the beef bung is a casing I consider inedible, when it dries it goes very much like a very strong thin paper, and isn’t something I would want to chew through. Before slicing I peel back the casing enough to slice whatever I need.

The casing is there to help slow down the drying process, and to help the whole thing dry more evenly. This helps prevent the outside drying faster than the interior, which is almost inevitable when you start dealing with large diameter pieces of meat, unless you do something like case them or wrap them in cheesecloth.

When trimming this thing up I thought it would be rather lovely to leave a little fat on it, just to help give a silkier mouth-feel. That turned out to be a good plan. The actual muscle is pretty lean, and the fat certainly helps to give a good texture and flavor balance.

Now, many would argue that you can never have too much cured meat (OK, maybe it is just me that argues that with other people..) but I have been racking my brains as to what to do with this cut. I absolutely love it by itself, with some salad and cheese, but I am thinking what else I could use it in. Then I thought crepe. Holy crap. Instead of the ham in a “la complete” crepe, I could use Lonzino.

OK.. now I am cutting this post off early to go make a crepe. More on that little gem later!

BYE. 🙂

Recipe for air dried pork loin (lonzino)

NOTE: Cure ingredients are given here as percentage of the total meat weight, after trimming. Since you aren’t going to have exactly the same weight of meat as me, it is best to work out your cure ingredients based on these percentages.

Pork loin – 1082g

Salt – 36g (3.3%)

Black Pepper 10.8g (1%)

Cure #2 2.7g (0.25%)

Juniper Berry 1.6g (0.15%)

Fennel Seed 3g (0.27%)

Dried Bay Leaf – 0.4g – about 2 leaves

casing – beef or pork 3.5″ diameter

Trim away any nasty looking stuff from the meat – blood spots and so on. Wash gently, dry well.

Grind up all the cure ingredients in a spice grinder until finely ground. Put the meat in a large zip lock bag, and rub the cure all over. Seal the bag, and put in the fridge for 10 days. Every couple of days rub the meat through the back, helping to distribute the cure well.

Soak the casing in room temperature water with a splash of white vinegar in for at least 1 hour – you can leave it for 6 hours or so no problem.  Rinse the casing through a couple of times with clean water. Squeeze as much water as possible from the casing.

Gently stuff the meat in to the casing. Tie off both ends using a bubble knot (info on this kind of knot is here:

Tie the meat up, using butchers loops and knots, much the same way you would tie a roast. The video above shows the basics, and I have another video coming showing how to do this fully.

Hang to air dry at 55F, 75% humidity with gentle airflow for about a month – until the meat has lost 35% of its weight.

Slice thinly to serve.

Cure #2 is a mix of salt, nitrate and nitrite and is crucial in safe meat curing at home (it isn’t strictly required for whole muscle curing like lonzino however). You can order some online from here:

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  • hank November 19, 2010 at 5:55 am

    So you got around to lonzino, eh? Glad you did. Your version looks a lot lighter in color than mine, but then mine was boar, not a domestic. God I need to get myself one of those fancy slicers. Well done, Matt!

  • Peter November 19, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Matt, love this lonzino, reminds of a cured pork tenderloin I do. Keep em coming…Christmas and entertaining is coming!

  • Tess November 19, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    That looks fabulous and I’m anxious to try making some.
    What to do with it? How throwing some thin slices in a cream sauce with peas and tossing it with fettuccine? Seems like it would also be pretty damn good wrapped around some fig pieces – honey-drizzled or plain – along side some roasted walnuts. Inspiring!

  • Cork@Cork's Outdoors November 19, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    The pig is an amazing animal–especially a wild one! Very easy to get into a rut when coming up with ways to cook ’em. Can’t wait to try this recipe with the next one. Thanks, Matt!

  • whatstrubyeating November 21, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Sexy loin! wait til i share pics of the most ridiculous jowl i have run across lately! diggin the “yum” shot

  • Chad November 21, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    That looks great! I’ve got to get a meat slicer. Mine is never that thin or uniform. I use my lonzino like prosciutto, e.g. in saltimboca (chicken & prosciutto w/sage: chicken split & pounded flat and rolled up with thin slices of prosciutto or lonzino), on pizzas and in pasta dishes, or wrapped around asparagus & grilled. Mostly, though, I eat it standing at the cutting board when everyone else is asleep.

  • paul November 22, 2010 at 4:39 am

    that looks great Matt. Thanks for the great blog!

    Thought you might want people to see this video of Paul Bertolli demonstating trying a roast.

  • Rich November 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    “Now, many would argue that you can never have too much cured meat”. If you are arguing against someone on this point, I would surely have your back. It is truth.

  • Drake November 22, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    I found your blog (maybe through twitter) and am now seriously considering a fridge for curing…my wife hates you (sorry about that). This looks excellent, congratulations.

  • Grazor December 12, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Matt as usual..wonderful stuff. I suspect this will be my next attempt at charcuterie.

  • Alex January 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    I think the Fennel quantity is miss-calculated?

  • Peter January 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Alex, I just realized the same thing. Only difference is I already started my cure. Its been a little less than 24 hours.

    Matt, would it be ok if I washed the rub off the meat and started my cure from scratch. Would that cause any problems?

    I should have listened to my wife! She insisted it was too much fennel seed! I hope I didn’t botch the batch.

  • Peter January 13, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Hey Matt,

    Quick question. My meat has been curing in my fridge for about 5 days now and I noticed liquid accumulating in the ZipLock bag. Do I leave that as is or do I have to empty it. Thanks!

  • Mikko January 17, 2011 at 7:56 am

    What are you using to hang your various meats in? I am trying to find info on making or getting one for myself. Any help would be apreciated.

  • Peter January 19, 2011 at 5:40 pm


    Just finished stuffing my lonzinos in the casings. I had a few questions. I tried to get all the air out of the casing before closing it up, however I noticed there was still several air pockets. Should I make holes to release the air or should I leave it as is.

    Also, being of Italian descent, I’m getting several opinions regarding the methods I’m using. My family finds it very strange that I had the meat cure in a fridge for 10 days. They seem to think that 24-48 hours is more than enough. Any opnions on that?

    Once again, thanks for the great blog. Outstanding source of information.

  • Wade January 22, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Just hung my first Lonzino. The cure chamber(followed Matts example as close as possible) is dialed in.
    As to previous notes to the amount of Fennel. It seemed like alot to me at the time. After the 10 days in the fridge the aroma is amazing. Cann’t wait for this to be ready to try.

  • Wade March 3, 2011 at 3:00 am

    Just tasted the Lonzino, Oh my. That is pretty amazing. I didn’t know what to expect, but it exceeded any expections.
    Thanks Matt

  • Tony April 4, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to achieve 55 deg and 75% humidity without buying a refrigerator?

    • mattwright April 5, 2011 at 3:44 am

      Tony – depends what your starting temp and humidity is really – what are they?

  • Tony April 17, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Matt thanks for getting back with me and sorry for not responding in a similar fashion. Anyway, I can not tell what the humidity is but I have a basement with an even 55 deg temp but of course the humidity fluctuates. I made my lonzino and its been hanging from the rafters, we will see the outcome.

  • Theresa Moll April 25, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    I am trying to make your pork lonzino recipe and I was wondering should I leave the cure on while it dries or do I wash the cure off and then hang it?? Thank you
    and I am soooo excited to try this recipe out!!! your pictures are wonderful

    • mattwright April 26, 2011 at 4:11 am

      Theresa – Yes, wash off the salt+spices before you hang it to dry.