What Is Bresaola?

Charcuterie boards are a treasure trove of delectable bits and bites—we’re talking cheeses, fruits, crackers, and, of course, meats. Salami, pepperoni, sausage, in slices and cuts of all sorts. And speaking of cuts, today we’re discussing a relatively deep one in the world of cured meats: bresaola. Today, we’ll take a look at bresaola, and hopefully not drool too much onto our devices, ruining them for all eternity! Here we go! 

What is bresaola meat?

Bresaola is a traditional Italian cured beef. It is typically made from lean cuts of beef, such as the eye of round, and seasoned with a blend of salt, pepper, as well as spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, juniper berries, or cloves. The meat is then cured and air-dried for several weeks, resulting in a firm quality and deep, concentrated flavor and color. It is served very, very thinly sliced. 

How to make bresaola?

Making bresaola at home involves a careful process of curing and air-drying to achieve the distinctive flavors and feel. Start with a lean cut of beef, often the eye of round, and generously coat it with a mixture of the aforementioned spices. Wrap the meat tightly wrapped in cheesecloth to allow for air circulation while preventing contamination. Leave it to cure in a cool, dark place (steer clear of bear caves, though) for a period of several weeks, during which the flavors intensify, and the meat firms up. Once the curing process is complete, hang the bresaola in a well-ventilated area to air-dry, developing its characteristic texture. 

How to serve bresaola? 

Though there’s really no wrong way to serve bresaola (aside from throwing it on the floor and snidely telling your guests to “eat up, bozos”), one might begin by slicing the cured meat into thin, delicate slices using a sharp knife (or asking a butcher or cheese counter person to do so).  Paper-thin slices are typical for bresaola. It’s the best way to showcase the rich flavor, plus, if you cut it thick, it’ll be really tough. 

A classic presentation involves arranging the slices on a platter and pairing them with high-quality extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon wedges, and a sprinkling of cracked black pepper. This combination enhances the natural beefy taste and adds a subtle citrusy zing. Bresaola also complements mild cheeses like parmesan or pecorino.

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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