Salt beef

Serves: 4-6 with leftovers

Salt beef

Preparing and cooking salt beef requires little skill but much patience-you need to brine the meat for at least seven days and then cook it slowly for about three hours. I love it served warm with lots of salsa verde but I think I prefer it the next day, flaked into a sandwich with dill pickles and yellow mustard. Then of course, there is corned beef hash to consider. You see, patience has its rewards. A little note about saltpetre: you don’t have to add it to the brining liquid but it will keep the beef pink. You can buy saltpetre online –one site being


  • For the brine
  • 290g coarse sea salt
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 20g saltpetre (optional-see intro)
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 star anise
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1.5kg brisket joint
  • To cook
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • To serve Salsa verde, boiled potatoes and salad
Salt beef


  1. Put the brining ingredients (keeping the meat aside) into a large saucepan and pour in 2 ½ litres cold water. Bring to the boil stirring until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
  2. Stab the meat all over with a skewer. Put the joint in a large plastic bag and place this is in a large mixing bowl or Tupperware container. Pour in the cooled brining liquid, making sure the beef is completely covered by the brine. Seal the bag and leave in the fridge for at least 7 days.
  3. Drain the brine off the beef and rinse the joint under cold water. Place in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the onion, celery and carrot and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to its lowest setting, cover with a lid and simmer gently for about 3 hours or until a skewer inserted into the meat glides through, meeting no resistance. Lift the beef out of the poaching liquor and place on a serving plate. Leave for about 10-15 minutes to rest then carve into slices.
Salt beef