Cecina (Spanish name) or cured smoked beef, has been my favourite one long time ago. First of all, due to its great and rich taste and secondly, because it perfectly fits my low-cholesterol protein diet. I can consume any quantity of this product without limits.
Cecina is cooked in a very easy way, however, it takes long time. That is why I always try to make many kilos of this product right away, something like 20 kilos, so that it’s enough for the whole year.
I cut out nice and clean pieces of beef-steak (almost without membranes and fat), approximately by 2,5−3 kg each piece. The salting process is done in a bag under pressure during 10 days. No spices, only:
Salt — 3,5%
Sugar — 0,8%
CUR#2 — 0.25%
After that under a heavy and ribby pressure (for air circulation) I let it dry a bit in a chamber with good circulation during 10 days. Temperature +3C
When there’s a certain dried crust appearing on the piece of meat which makes the product really nice-looking, then it’s time to send the meat to the smoking chamber.
I use cold smoking during 3 days (fruit tree sawdust). We don’t need intensive smoke, minimum smoldering is enough. The temperature inside the chamber should not exceed 14C that’s why I always do it in winter time. After that, I place the product in a climate chamber at +12C bajo 70% of humidity until it is dried by 30−35%. It takes around 4−6 months.
Sometimes for sure, you’ll need to wash off black and green mold with cheap white wine usually sold in boxes. When the drying process is finished, the meat is cut and sealed in an airtight bag, and then it can be kept in a fridge more than a year.