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31 October 2013

Salt beef, a 7.5% cure

This is not the first time I've written about salt beef but it's only now that I feel I've got a recipe I'm really happy with.  It is a bit more straightforward than my previous attempts so do give it a go.

One word on temperature, I'm cooking at 90ºC because it is between the heat required to melt the collagen (about 80ºC) and where it dries out (over 100ºC).

Serves: 10/12 

Timing: 10 days brine & 4 hours cooking

NB: 7.5% cure refers to the amount of salt, expressed as a percentage of the weight of the water.

1 ml of water weighs 1 gram, 1 litre weighs 1 kg etc.  Therefore 4l (the amount of water required for the brine) weighs 4 kg or 4,000 grams.  7.5% of that is 300g - which is the amount of salt added to the brine. 

Brine

  • 2.5 / 3kg of fresh brisket
  • One large non-reactive, food safe container
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 300g sea salt
  • 12 juniper berries
  • 12 cloves
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 2 fresh bay leaves or 1 dried
  • 4l water 

Salt beef

  • 2 carrots - peeled & cut into large dice
  • 2 onions - peeled & cut into large dice
  • 1 stick of celery - peeled & cut into large dice
  • 2 fresh bay leaves or 1 dried
  • 1 bunch of thyme
  • 3 cloves of garlic - peeled
  • 12 peppercorns

 

Brining

Place all the brine ingredients in a pot and bring to the boil.

Allow to cool thoroughly - ideally overnight in the fridge.

Place beef in container and weigh down with plate or similar and ensure it is fully submerged.

Add brine - ensure the beef is thoroughly covered.

Leave in cool dark place. i.e. fridge, out house etc for 10 days. 

 

Cooking

Place all the cooking vegetables and herbs into a pot.  Do not use the herbs in the brine.

Take the beef out of the brine and rinse well under running water.  Rub it as you are rinsing to ensure you remove as much brine as possible.  You can discard the brine and all the aromatics.

Add beef to the pot.

Add cold water to cover the beef and place lid on at an angle.

Bring the water up to 90ºC.

Skim regularly to remove scum.

Leave to cook for 4 hours.

Remove from the pot and slice and serve.  If you aren’t carving all the beef at once, return the meat to the water, but remove the pot from the heat.

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