River Cottage salt beef

Serves 10 or more


PDV (Pure Dried Vacuum) salt has been processed to retain its minerals and flavours in uniform sized granules and can be bought online.

Serves 10 or more


● 2–3kg piece of beef brisket

For the brine
● 5 litres water
● 1kg PDV salt, or sea salt
● 600g demerara or light brown sugar
● 1 tsp black peppercorns
● 1 tsp juniper berries
● 5 cloves
● 4 bay leaves
● A sprig of thyme

For the beef
● 1 bouquet garni
● 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
● 1 onion, peeled and chopped
● 1 celery stick, chopped
● 1 leek, washed and chopped
● ½ garlic bulb (sliced horizontally)


● To make the brine: put all the ingredients into a large saucepan and place over a low heat, stirring occasionally until salt and sugar have dissolved.

● Bring to the boil and allow to bubble for 1–2 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.

● Put beef into a tub and cover it completely with the brine. Weigh the meat down to keep it submerged. Leave to cure in a cool place for 1 day per kg, then remove from brine.

● To cook the beef: put it into a saucepan with the bouquet garni, vegetables and garlic, cover with fresh water and bring to a simmer.

● Poach very gently on a hob or in the oven - preheated to 150°C.

● Cook until the meat is completely tender and yielding when pierced with a skewer. A 3kg piece of beef will take 2½ – 3 hours. Serve carved into fairly thick slices.

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