salt beef

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salt beef

Main Serves 5 2h 40 min
Brisket is the ultimate Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde cut. Properly and carefully cooked, it can be melt in the mouth, tender and tasty. Trimmed of all fat and allowed to boil it can be tough, dry as shoe leather and dull as ditch water. It definitely needs some fat left on during cooking. This salt beef recipe takes several days to prepare, but is well worth the effort.


  • 1.3kg beef brisket
  • 500g salt
  • 250g sugar
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves
  • sprig thyme
  • vegetable stock, enough to cover the meat
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 onion
  • bouquet garni


Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 2h 30 min
  • Step 1

    To salt beef make a brine by boiling the salt, sugar, peppercorns and juniper berries, bay leaves and thyme in 2 litres of water. Cool and submerge your brisket in the brine for 3-4 days.
  • Step 2

    Transfer the meat to a plate and allow it to dry and firm up in the fridge for 1-2 days.
  • Step 3

    Gently poach the meat in the stock, veg and bouquet garni, for 2 hours 30 minutes. It shouldn't need soaking before cooking but it's always worth checking the broth after 30 minutes and if it's noticeably salty throw it away and start again. Don't worry about overcooking, just don't let it boil.
  • Step 4

    Hot salt beef needs little more than boiled potatoes, half a ladle of broth and a good dollop of creamed horseradish. If you prefer cold salt beef, wrap it in grease-proof paper and press under a weighted plate as it cools.

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