Basturma (Middle-eastern dried beef)


Categorization of Special Process: Basturma is a dried whole muscle meat product. It is made in a similar manner to dried ham (prosciutto, parma and country ham), dried pork belly (pancetta), dried pork shoulder (coppa), and dried beef round (bresaola, beef prosciutto, and basturma).

Product Characteristics: Boneless beef, usually a high quality cut (incl tenderloin); salt (to dry cure – sodium nitrite recommended); spice paste (to cover surface).

Flow of foods: Intact beef rounds are trimmed of fat.  About 5 kg salt (or salt cure) is dry rubbed onto the surface of 50 kg meat.  The salt cure meat is placed into refrigeration for several days allowing meat juices to drain.  Some traditional Turkish processes include a several hour pressing step here to shape the meat and press out meat juice.  After the first dry salting (and pressing) the meat is again salted and dry cured for several more days at refrigeration (termed “burning”).  When the meat has a WPS ≥ 4.5% and/or an Aw of ≤ 0.96, rinse off salt. Optionally, press again at refrigeration.  Cover the surface with the spice paste.  Hang and dry Basturma at 60-75°F to Aw ≤ 0.85.  Refrigerate the Basturma as a non-RTE product. The final product is either sliced and packaged for sale, or sold in the whole form for slicing by the final customer. Cook slices before consumption. Basturma is cooked with scrambled eggs, cut into slices and fried, grilled lightly over a charcoal fire, or added as an ingredient to various stews and cooked.

Alternatively, whole beef Basturma can be vacuum packaged and pasteurized to become RTE.  The meat must obtain an internal minimum temperature of 145°F or 130°F for 30 minutes to be considered pasteurized and safe for RTE status. Even as a RTE dried food, it should still be refrigerated for best quality.  Note that under the US FDA model food code, once the meat reaches ≤ Aw 0.88 it is considered a non-PHF/TCS food and refrigeration is not “required” for safety.  Vacuum packaging of the non-PHF meat would not need additional HACCP controls under reduced oxygen packaging special processes.

Raw meat >>>> Trim fat,
trim width
>>>> Dry-salt-cure
@ ≤ 41°F
>>>> Salt penetration cure
@ ≤ 41°F to 4.5% WPS
(Aw ≤ 0.96)
Rinse off
Surface salt
>>>> Cover surface
with spice paste
>>>> Dry @ 60-75°F
(15-24°C) to
≤ Aw 0.85
>>>> Refrigerate as a
not RTE product
(cook before use) or
for a RTE Basturma…
>>>> Immerse in 145.5°F
water until center
is 145°F or
>>>> Immerse in 130.5°F
water until center
is 130°F for 1 hour
>>>> Refrigerate as a
RTE product


CCP 1&2: Refrigerate while dry salt curing ≤ 41°F.
CCP 3: Dry ≤ 75°F to ≤ Aw 0.85
RTE CCP 4: Pasteurize to internal temperature ≥ 145°F.

Food Safety Notes:
For dried intact meat products, preservation is mostly due to the slowing or complete inhibition of surface growth, although inactivation of pathogens such as Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and E. coli O157:H7 is desired. In the Basturma process, salt and refrigeration are the first hurdles that slow pathogen growth. A 6-7% WPS in the final dried product is desired.  Sodium nitrite is highly desired to inhibit C. botulinum and C. perfringens.  The USDA FSIS recommends a starting raw meat pH ≤ 5.8 as another hurdle.  Fermentation (acid production or pH drop) is not a control factor in Basturma, so the finsihed product pH will be similar to the starting raw meat pH.  A final moisture content of 40-45% is a hurdle.  An Aw 0.90 prevents growth of all pathogens (including S. aureus anaerobically) if the meat is vacuum packaged. If oxygen is present then an Aw ≤ 0.85 is required to prevent growth of all pathogens.  Lastly, the spices and spice extracts in the spice paste have pathogen inhibitory affects.

Aksu et al 2016 – Using sodium nitrite significantly increased both the safety and quality (color and oxidation) of Basturma.  Aksu noted that Turkish Food Safety law (2012) states that minimum moisture content for Basturma is 45% (not RTE) and 40% RTE.  The WPS of the finished product was 6-7%.

Ingham et al 2005 – Food Safety of the Basturma process.

Genigeorgis, C. and S. Lindroth. 1984. The safety of basturma, an Armenian-type dried beef product with regard to Salmonella. Proceedings of the 30th European Meeting of Meat Research Workers. 30:217-224.