Salt Beef
: 3067 kcal
Author: Just Jo
  • Approx 1.5kg brisket
  • 2 tbsp mixed peppercorns
  • 5 dried red chillies
  • 1 tbsp allspice berries
  • ½ tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 star anise
  • ½ tsp whole cloves
  • ½ tbsp dried thyme
  • ½ tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground mace
  • 2 crumbled cassia bark cinnamon will work too
  • 150 g sea salt see blog post for more info on types of salt
  • 125 g demerara sugar
For cooking the brisket
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 1 large carrot cut into large chunks
  • 2 ribs of celery cut into chunks
  1. Find a pot big enough to take your brisket and some water around it and clean and dry very thoroughly. A large tupperware is great as the lid will be air tight.
  2. Toast all your spices briefly in a large saucepan until you smell the aromas they release – I would stir constantly as some of the spices are delicate (like the whole chillies) and will burn if left unsupervised.
  3. Add 2 litres of water, the salt and sugar and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5-10 minutes then take off the heat and leave alone until completely cold. Do not be tempted to put your beef in warm brine! I chilled mine until fridge cold before popping the beef in.
  4. When ready to submerge the meat, I found it useful to take a small ramekin and use it like a wedge – once the lid was on the pot, the beef was held under the liquid completely. You need to ensure it remains submerged for the full length of time you brine it.
  5. Seal the lid very well and tuck away in your fridge for at least 5 days – I left ours 10. Turn half way through to ensure a more even infusion with the spices.
  6. When ready to cook, remove your beef from the brine and wash it very well. It will have firmed up considerably and will appear a little shrunken. Discard the brine and spices. At this point, you could take the beef and soak just in cold water over night in the fridge if you are concerned it may be too salty. I don’t think it’s necessary but this is one of the techniques I discovered online in my research.
  7. Pop in a large pot or casserole with the fresh vegetables and top up with fresh cold water then bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cover, cooking for approx 3 hours until the meat is fall apart tender. Remove from the stock and drain on a rack briefly before flaking off chunks to eat warm. When cold, it is just about sliceable. See blog post for serving suggestions.