Make and cook your own salt beef

Salt Beef

My family have always had salt beef growing up, but it’s not always easy to get hold of unless you go to a decent butchers. My dad has various alleries including wheat which means he can’t have dextrose. Our butcher’s salt beef contained dextrose in the brine which meant my dad couldn’t eat it, so mum decided to make her own. She gave me all the stuff to do it as I really wanted to have a go myself. It’s not too hard! The only thing you need is patience to wait out the brining process. You will need saltpetre for this which is not readily available but I have found a couple of sites online (like sausage makers for example) where you’ll be able to purchase it. My grandad liked his salt beef boiled with some “jip” – that is, the stock or juices that the salt beef was boiled in!


  • 1.5kg silverside of beef
  • 2 litres of water
  • 350g salt
  • 175g light brown sugar
  • 25g saltpetre
  • 10 juniper berries, squashed gently with a spoon
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 10 allspice berries
  • a small sqaure of muslin + some string
  • A small side plate, must be heavy enough to hold meat down
  • Large tub – I used a Morrisons 5 litre storage tub, must be able to fit the meat in plus the plate
  • Sterilising tablets, I used Milton as you don’t need to rinse it afterwards


  1. Sterilise the plate and tub according to the sterilising instructions.
  2. Make a bouquet by putting the juniper berries, peppercorns and allspice into the muslin and tying with string.
  3. In a large saucepan, put the water, saltpetre, sugar and bouquet into the pan and bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat and leave until completely cool.
  4. Once cool, place the beef and brine into the tub and push the plate down onto the meat, ensuring the beef is fully immersed.
  5. Place the tub in the fridge and leave for at least 9 days (try to make it two weeks, it’ll get better!)
  6. Once it’s ready, my favourite way of eating it is boiling it. You could stick in a slow cooker with some fresh water, a couple of carrots and an onion sliced into quarters, or you could boil it for 35 minutes per lb (450g) plus an extra 35 minutes (Source for boiling times: Cook it simply.


  1. Heather says

    Hi again, i tried your recipe and thought it was going really well. The brine was great and the meat 1.5 kg of top silverside ( a beautiful piece of meat) which all went in the bin because you missed out one vital step! Once it’s ready to cook, rinse under cold water and soak for 24 hours, prior to cooking! Of course I rinsed it but not having left it in cold water for 24 hours, the meat was so salty. It was still floating like the Dead Sea! So I had to bin it! Im having a second go at your recipe but this time I’ll do as advised in every other salt beef recipe and soak it for at least 24 hours in cold water before I cook it. I’ll keep you updated but please consider first time cooks in future!

    • Becs says

      Hi Heather, actually you don’t need to rinse it out if you boil it. I didn’t! It is meant to taste salty…

Leave a Reply