#228 Spiced Salt Beef

This is a posh recipe; this cured beef is produced by Harrods by the wheelbarrow-load every Christmas. It’s an old recipe that was revived by Elizabeth David and Griggers helpfully imparts it to us. Good girl. This uses a dry cure mix rather than brine like I’ve done before (see this post). It’s a lot easier than a wet cure as there’s no messing about making the brine itself, so if you’re thinking about curing your own meat, this is good place to start. It’s a good idea to use good quality sea salt, not crappy table salt. Good salt is not only a preservative, but also lends good flavour. Very important for this sort of thing.

You need to start by buying your beef – a piece of silverside between 2 and 6 pounds should be okay. Place the beef in a clean tub (that comes with a clean lid!) and rub 3 ounces of dark brown sugar into it. Fit the lid on tightly and leave in a cool place for 2 days. Next, make the spiced salt mixture using 4 ounces of good sea salt, a heaped teaspoon of saltpetre and an ounce each of crushed peppercorns, allspice berries and juniper berries. Use a spice grinder or coffee grinder to break up the spices if you have one, otherwise use your pestle and mortar and some elbow grease. Now rub this mixture into the beef well and leave for another nine days, rubbing the salt mix and any juices into the beef and turning it every day.

To cook the beef, rinse off any spice by running it briefly under the tap. Place the beef in a tight-fitting lid with around 8-10 fluid ounces of water. Pack shredded suet over the top surface of the beef to hep keep in the moisture as it cooks. To doubly ensure that minimal moisture is lost from the beef cover the pot with a double layer of foil before putting the lid on. Place in an oven heated to 140⁰C for 45 minutes per pound, or 50 minutes per pound if the joint is small. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for three hours before removing the lid and foil. Wrap the joint is some greaseproof paper and place a three pound weight on it and allow it press overnight. Slice it thinly and use it for sandwiches et cetera.

#228 Spiced Salt Beef. This may have been the best cured meat thus far; it was certainly the easiest. The spice-salt mixture comes across very obviously but does not take over. It keeps well in the fridge for a while if wrapped in clingfilm too. Try it in a sandwich with cucumber and horseradish sauce. Great stuff. 8.5/10.

5 thoughts on “#228 Spiced Salt Beef

  1. The wet version of this is called corned beef, in the States, and it's something made every year for St Patrick's Day. (I assume that's where your link would have lead me.) However, this dry version is what my Mother made each year for the day, forgoing the bagged brined brisket found in every grocery store at this time of year. So, a timely entry and it's jogged my memory enough to go search out a brisket or silverside myself to begin curing.But where on earth did you find Saltpetre? When I was still in Cheshire, in the UK, I searched high and low for it and finally just had to forgo it; it isn't really necessary, it only keeps the meat pink after cooking instead of it's natural greyish cooked colour. But I was informed by my butcher, and everywhere else, that Saltpetre (potassium nitrate) is a controlled substance and impossible to come by over the counter as it's used in explosives. Even my butcher used a curing salt mix containing the requisite amount of saltpetre called pokelsalz.I'm curious, where did you acquire enough (one teaspoon) to use for a cure?


  2. Hi there. I've had a creack at the wet cure version and it was very good.I had no problem getting hold of saltpetre, i did a google search and got some on ebay! If I knew then what you've told me now, I might not have got it! However, I've used it a few times now and I've not died and my house has not been razed to the ground!! Thanks for the info, though!!


  3. Don't worry about buying Saltpeter (Potassium nitrate, KNO3), it is NOT a controlled substance, and can be bought from most proper chemists, they occasionally ask what it's for, if I'm asked the answer of \”meat curing\” has always been accepted. Unless you were buying it by the sackload of course, then you might attract attention!Thanks for the blog BTW, only just found it while Googling \”mutton ham\”


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