Friday, 21 September 2012

Salt Beef

This has been on my “To Do” list longer than decorate the bathroom and mend the front gate. By the way this does not mean they’re next

I first had Salt Beef in Smiths of Smithfield (London) and have been in love with it ever since. Imagine a beef that crumbles to the touch, yet is moist and so full of flavour your taste buds will melt into oblivion. Got that image? Good, because you’re somewhere near what this is like.

As it happens I’ve only ever had Salt beef in London and If ever you’re in Borough Market, there is stall that sells hot beef baps. Slabs of beef with layers of Pickles and English Mustard … hmmm heaven. It’s from that stall that I took my inspiration for this.

Salt beef has become fashionable of late, as it takes a cheaper cut of meat and turns it into something divine, think of it as pulled pork but with beef. I believe (could be wrong) that this comes from the States.

So the prep time is a week is it, surely you’re having a laugh? No and if I’m honest that’s what’s been stopping me from making it before, the amount of planning etc ..., finding a box big enough to keep it in and convincing the other half, that sacrificing half the fridge for a week is worth it. I think, now we’ve eaten it, she will agree.

The brining part of the recipe came from Diana Henry in the Daily Telegraph, the rest of the recipe is my own

Ingredients and Equipment

You will need a massive container, bowl or similar receptacle to hold the meat and all of the liquid. I opted for one of these lads from Sainsburys

You’ll also need a suitably sized sauce pan with lid to simmer the beef

275g (9¾oz) soft light-brown sugar
350g (12oz) coarse sea salt
2 tsp black peppercorns
½ tbsp juniper berries
4 cloves
4 bay leaves
4 sprigs of thyme

2.5 Kg of Brisket
2 Carrots cut into chunks
1 onion peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
6 peppercorns
2 Sprigs of thyme

Put all the ingredients for the brine into a very large saucepan, pour in 2.5 litres (4½ pints) of water and gradually bring to the boil, stirring to help the sugar and salt dissolve. Once it comes to the boil, let it bubble away for two minutes. Take off the heat and leave to cool completely.

Usually brisket comes pre-rolled I found it easier to untie the meat and lay it flat in the container

Pierce the meat all over with a skewer or as in my case a knife. Put it in your large container (something non-reactive) and cover the meat with the brine; it must be totally immersed. I put two small side plates on top to hold it down. Cover and leave in the fridge for 7 days

After a week remove the meat and discard the brine. Rinse the meat thoroughly under a cold tap and then pat dry with a paper towel.

Re-Tie the beef, you may need two people for this

Place the beef along with all the other ingredients in a large pan and then cover with cold water.

Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 3-4 hours. Make sure it’s a very low simmer

By the end you should be able to push a skewer into the beef with little resistance.

You could serve hot with Mash and gravy, on this occasions I went for  Sandwich

Using thick sliced wholemeal bread, layer on Mayo, English mustard, sliced pickles, the beef, 
Emmental cheese and rocket.

Then chomp down, gorgeous