7-day salt-cured & air-dried spiced beef7-day salt-cured & air-dried spiced beef7-day salt-cured & air-dried spiced beef7-day salt-cured & air-dried spiced beef7-day salt-cured & air-dried spiced beef7-day salt-cured & air-dried spiced beef7-day salt-cured & air-dried spiced beef

It takes TIME (not active time but waiting time) but it’s worth it. It’s what holiday preparations are all about : Something SPECIAL for a SPECIAL occasion. Imagine a beautiful choice-cut piece of BEEF (preferably filet mignon or a very mini-roast), pre-marinated with red wine vinegar for 1 hour and then cured with salt and sugar for 24-36 hours and then fully coated in herbs and crushed spices, oregano & paprika (both sweet & smoked), mixed peppercorns and crushed coriander seeds and air-dried for 5-7 days (or fridge-dried for 2-3 weeks). The result is both smooth & intense.

We’ve talked about this type of preparation before. Last year it was about holiday-spiced & salt-cured duck foie gras (see recipe here) and 2 years ago, it was a double-recipe with the 7-day home-cured and dried duck breast & pork filet mignon (see both recipes here). I say 7 days but it could be less, like 5 or 6 days (depending on the size and weight of the meat & your temperature & humidity conditions).

As I’ve explained in the past, in words as well as images, (so please check out the images in the other past recipes because I didn’t include them here) I’m not in any rush, but I do speed up the curing process by treating the meat with a brine before salt-curing it and finally covering it in spices and air-drying it. Why ? FOOD SAFETY ! It’s always much easier when you use pink curing salt (which contains 6,25% sodium nitrate to avoid food-poisoning) but that’s for longer conservation periods (which is not the case here) and which is why I prefer brining the meat rapidly before the salt & sugar curing.  Using a brine beforehand reassures me (not really for my food safety but for all the wonderful folks who follow me and prepare my recipes).

Whether you start now (3 weeks before) or wait (1 week maximum before the winter holidays), rest assured, the recipe can be adapted to both situations.

Anyways, I’ll be decorating my home this weekend and continuing my work assignments marathon until December 21stand hopefully publishing 3 more winter holiday recipes before Santa Claus / Saint Nicholas / Father Christmas drops by . . . :)

7-day salt-cured & air-dried spiced beef


400 grams


meat :

  • 500 grams beef filet mignon (or small piece for roasting)

dry-cure mix : 

  • 500 grams (2 ½ cups) coarse sea salt
  • 100 grams (½ cup) golden cane sugar
  • 6 grams (1 ½ tsp) baking soda
  • optional : 3 grams (½ tsp) pink curing salt (pink-colored “prague powder no. 1 “ or “instacure” with 6,25% sodium nitrite) 

wet-cure mix (or brine) : 

  • 600 ml (2 ½ cups) red wine vinegar (or enough to cover meat) 
  • 30 grams (2 ½ tbsp) coarse sea salt
  • 6 grams (½ tbsp) golden cane sugar
  • 2 grams (¾ tsp) baking soda 
  • optional : 1,5 grams (¼ tsp) pink curing salt

for brushing/basting meat (after 24-36 hours of salt & sugar-curing) : 

  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) red wine vinegar
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) liquid smoke (or make your own mix with 15 ml (1 tbsp) vodka and 3 grams (2 tsp) lapsang soochong smoked black tea, let infuse 24-36 hours and strain well) 

spices & herbs coatings (about 3 tbsp or 12,5 grams) : 

  • 2,0 grams (1 tbsp) dried oregano
  • 3,5 grams (½ tbsp) sweet paprika powder
  • 3,5 grams (½ tbsp) smoked paprika powder
  • 2,5 grams (½ tbsp) coarsely-ground mixed peppercorns
  • 2,5 grams (½ tbsp) crushed coriander seeds


  • prepare the dry-cure mix for the meat that will be cured (if smaller or larger pieces of meat are used, increase or decrease accordingly (on average the dry-cure mix should weigh at least 20%-30% more than your meat) 
  • rinse the meat under cold water, use thin skewers to poke holes all around and through the pieces of meat 
  • prepare the amount of wet-cure mix needed and completely cover and let soak the pieces of meat in the wet-cure mix for 60 minutes (for thinner flatter pieces) or 90 minutes (for thicker cylindrical pieces) 
  • remove the beef from the wet-cure mix and let excess liquid drain off
  • place the beef in a dish with about 1 cm of dry-cure mix on the bottom, then the meat on top and then cover completely with the rest of the dry-cure mix, cover with a kitchen towel and let sit for 24-48 hours (6 hours for each 100 grams of meat for a less salty result and 8 hours for each 100 grams for a saltier result) towards the bottom of the refrigerator or ideally in a cold space (between 5°C-10°C) and turn over the pieces of meat once or twice during that time period (every 10-12 hours) and empty out the excess liquid on the bottom after each 12 hours
  • remove the meat from the salt, rinse off well, pat dry and brush with a mixture of vinegar and liquid smoke and then coat well with the herbs and spices mixture, pressing it well into the meat on all sides
  • use a cheese-cloth, muslin or a very thin kitchen towel to tightly wrap each piece of meat and tie up with butcher’s twine in order to hang and weigh and write down the exact weight of each wrapped piece of meat 
  • hang up the meat in a cold well-aired space (temperature between 10°C-12°C) and humidity level between 60%-65% if possible) for 5-7 days until the meat is drier and the weight has decreased by approximately 25% (you can weigh & track the progress every day if you like) 
  • note : if you don't have a balcony nor a cellar at 10°C and you use the fridge at 5°C to dry your meat, curing & drying will last 2-3 weeks in order to reduce the weight by 25% …
  • unwrap the cured meats, serve sliced thinly (saltier meat will have to be sliced more thinly than less salty meat) 
  • wrap up the rest tightly in cling film or vacuum seal the pieces and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months (if you used the curing salt) or 1 month if you didn’t !) ...