The Crooked Billet

Salt Beef

Salt Beef

I cook lunch at the Henley Show every September. Salt beef proves extremely popular – we often have it on our luncheon menu at the Crooked Billet.

Traditionally brisket is used for salt beef, however I like to use silverside – less fatty & very tender textured. You can’t surpass salt beef on rye bread, dill pickle & hot mustard. I like to serve it with horseradish parsley mash, young carrots & cornichon jus.

For the brine:

5ltr water

1kg course sea salt

500g brown sugar

1 sprig of bay leaves, rosemary & thyme

1tbsp juniper berries

1tbsp potassium nitrate or salt peter if you can get it (try an old fashioned butchers – it will keep you brisket or silverside pink)

3kg brisket or silverside

1 bottle white wine

2 carrots, halved

1 onion, halved

1 leek, halved

1 stick of celery

1 bay leaf

10 black peppercorns

First, make the brine; bring the ingredients to the boil in the water until the sugar has dissolved – then allow to cool.  Once cool, add the beef; cut the beef into 3 or 4 chunks so the marinade can penetrate – sink it down with something – a plate works well.  Leave to soak for 7 days in the fridge or cold place.  Take the meat from the brine & soak it in clean water for a good 6 hours, keep refreshing this water.

Put the pieces of beef in a large roasting tin, pour in cold water so it comes half way up the beef. Add the wine & remaining ingredients. Don’t worry that the beef isn’t completely submerged. Cover the tin with foil & place dish in a preheated 150°C oven for 6 hours – by which time it will be incredibly tender.

Remove from the roasting tin, allow to rest for 40 minutes, carve & serve. All the scraggly bitty bits are great fried up with bashed potatoes as a corned beef hash.  A fried egg & HP sauce go well.