Salt beef is a sandwich favourite and making it is not that hard with our simple salt beef recipe. Cooking your own salt beef can seem like a bit of an undertaking, but it's not complicated or difficult.
There are several steps to the process of cooking salt beef and you need to let it soak in a pickling mixture for about 7 days. This brine mainly contains spices like coriander seeds and juniper berries to give the beef brisket a great savoury flavour. Where you leave the beef brisket is also very important – make sure you leave it in a cool place or in the fridge for the 7 days it’s resting in the liquid. During this time is also important that you turn it everyday to make sure the brine reaches the whole beef brisket. Your effort will definitely pay off because when salted and cooked, salt beef is melting tender and falls apart, making it one of the best sandwich toppings. Salt beef is delicious piled onto bagels or rye bread with plenty of pickles and mustard. Cooked salt beef will keep in the fridge for a week, so you can make it on the weekend and have it ready to top lunch sandwiches during the week or even just have it as a snack in between meals. If you’re going out with the family for a picnic or a day out, making this salt beef ahead and using it to make sandwiches is also a great idea that will help you save money too. Traditionally saltpetre or sodium nitrite is used in the salting mixture to keep the meat pink – you can buy it from some sausage making websites, but it’s not essential.
- 300g soft light brown sugar
- 350g coarse sea salt
- 2tsp black peppercorns
- 2tsp juniper berries
- 1tbsp coriander seeds
- 6 bay leaves
- 1tbsp mustard seeds
- 50g saltpetre (optional)
- 2kg piece beef brisket
- 1 large carrot, cut into large chunks
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1 celery stick, cut into chunks
- 1 leek, cut into chunks
- Handful of parsley stalks
- 6 unpeeled garlic cloves
Place the sugar, salt, peppercorns, juniper berries, coriander seeds, 4 bay leaves, mustard seeds and saltpetre in a very large pan. Add 2 litres water and bring to the boil, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 2 mins. Remove from the heat and leave until cold.
Pierce the piece of beef all over with a skewer. Place in a large clean heavy duty polythene bag or a sterilized plastic food tub. Add the cold spiced liquid and seal the bag or cover the container, making sure the meat is covered by the liquid. Leave in a cool place or fridge for 7 days, turning the bag everyday.
Rinse the meat thoroughly in cold water then roll up and tie with string. Place in a large pan with the vegetables, parsley stalks, remaining bay leaves and garlic. Cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 21/2 hrs until meltingly tender. Leave to cool in the cooking liquid then cut into thick slices or tear into pieces with two forks.
Cooked salt beef will keep in the fridge for 1 week.