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Granny's Salt Beef

Shopping List

For the brine

225g soft light-brown sugar
350g coarse sea salt
2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp juniper berries
3 cloves
4 bay leaves
3 sprigs of thyme

For the beef
1-2 kg joint of brisket or silverside
2 carrots roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
1 bouquet garni (fresh rosemary, thyme, flat-leaf parsley, tied with string)
1 garlic bulb


Place all of the brine ingredients into a large saucepan, pour in 2.5 liters of water and gradually bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. When it comes to the boil let it boil for around 2 mins. Take off the heat and leave to cool completely.

Pierce the meat all over with a skewer and place in a large non-metallic bowl or bucket (I use a Tupperware container). Cover the joint with the brine, if needs be weigh it down, (again this can’t be metallic!) the joint must be totally immersed. Leave in a very cool place for 5-7 days, I leave mine in the fridge.

Take the beef out of the brine and rinse it. Then soak the joint in fresh water for 24 hours, change the water at least one during this time. 

Place the salted beef in a slow cooker with the vegetables, bouquet garni and garlic, adding enough cold water to cover. Cook in a slow cooker on LOW for up to 6 hours until the meat is very tender. If you don’t have a slow cooker you could also do this in a large pan on the hob on a low heat for 2-2 ½ hours.

Salt beef can be served warm with horseradish mash but we love it cold thinly sliced with homemade pickles or in a sandwich with salad and American mustard!


Beautiful Tips:


Any cooked beef should be allowed to "rest", how long depends on the size. 

A medium sized joint should rest for at least 20 minutes whilst steaks will need about 2 minutes before serving.

Joint Size

A 1.5kg joint of boned beef will feed 6 people.

Perfect Steak

  • Heat a frying pan over a high heat.
  • Season lightly with salt and pepper
  • Place steak in the pan
  • Cook for 2 mins each side for rare, 3 mins for medium & 4 mins for well-done
  • Leave the steak to rest for a few minutes on a warm plate and then enjoy!

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