Archive for the ‘Brési’ Category

Elk Brési w/ Wild Mushrooms & Labrador Tea


When butchering this cow elk in late November, I noticed how particularly perfect the shape and size of the eye of round would be for dry curing. No wonder it’s been done for eons. As usual, here I am, not innovating.

As I had run out of my first ‘test batch’, it was time for a more confident crack at it. Larger piece, thicker piece this time. I used Ruhlman’s  [poor Polcyn, always excluded] ratios of salt, sugar, pepper, and instacure #2, but for aromatics, looked to what I had as wild pantry items. Morel powder, shaggy parasol powder, wild thyme, and labrador tea. Sounded good in theory, but I suspected the labrador tea wouldn’t bring much to the party – that was until I crushed it with a mortar and pestle. Holy evergreen. Lovely evergreen. I hope that shows up in the final product. If so, it may become a standard terroir-driven pairing for me for this item.

So it’ll go into the fridge for a week, maybe two if I’m being forgetful(?) to cure, and then hung in the cellar for a long, long time. I’m going to guess two months minimum, with it being in a good zone for a few months past that. So I should be enjoying this through the summer with zippy salads, cheeses, and cold apple wine.

[update: this piece was scraped of aromatics and cellared March 27th. Told you I'd forget.]



It feels odd posting about items like this as it implies I’m some experienced pro at this, and I totally am not. But here it is, in all its glory:  my first successful crack at dry cured calf moose. I’m going to call it ‘Brési‘ after the french dry cured beef – the name derived from its appearance resembling brazilwood [Brazil in french = Brésil]. I was recently asked what the most complicated/difficult preparation I’ve done would be – and this would be up there. I put in my draw for a tag in June, hunted and butchered it in November, and dry cured it until Christmas. That’s a half-year process.

But making it is not rocket science. It’s essentially a smoked bresaola, for which recipes abound – I used Charcuterie’s as a starting point. The only key in my mind was appropriate use of Instacure #2 which is based on weight, and therefore quite straightforward. The big test was simply whether or not it would have a good time hanging out in my cellar or not. My first attempt at this last year  failed in a nasty-mold mess. This year, with the right cure and conditions in the cellar, it’s easier than pie – proving yet again that far more than half the battle in dry curing is creating the right space to do it. I used calf moose inside round, and I’m wagering that any cut of calf moose done in this preparation would be lovely – next time eye of round due to its fortuitous tubular shape.

The cellar has indeed been an adventure this year, and I’m enormously grateful.  I intend on posting more soon on how and why to build a space similar to what I have as it’s not hard or onerously expensive, and is proving to be an invaluable resource.