Making Salt Beef sounds intimidating but could not be easier and the results are pretty spectacular. Once you make this homemade salt beef recipe once you will be looking for excuses to make it again!
Make sure you check out my Homemade Pastrami recipe!
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Ready to conquer Homemade Salt Beef? All you need is a little time and a handful of ingredients before you can enjoy delicious, tender salt beef you can be truly proud of!
I will let you into a little secret too… This recipe is so E A S Y. Really, really easy. My husband, who occasionally gets misty-eyed when remembering the Montreal smoked meat of his youth, was in food heaven!
We ate our salt beef piled-high on rye bread with mustard and pickles. It really was incredible and didn’t last longer than a day.
Here’s what you will need
Before you decide to make homemade salt beef there’s a few things you will need.
- A large container that can contain the submerged meat and brining liquid plus a weight (see below). A large plastic box is best or you can use the container of your slow cooker as I did. Make sure you check the container fits in your fridge before starting this recipe!
- To ensure meat is completely submerged and will remain submerged for the entire duration of the curing process you will need to weigh it down. Add a plate on top of the meat and weigh it down with something heavy like a water bottle.
- Salt: use pickling salt or kosher salt.
- Curing salt (Prague Powder No 1) – this is not essential to the recipe but will give the salt beef its characteristic pink-red colour. Read more about it below.
- Digital scales for accurate measuring
- Herbs and spices
Prague Powder No 1
Prague Powder No 1 is a curing salt which contains contains 6.25% sodium nitrite 93.75% salt. It is also called Instacure #1 or Pink Curing Salt #1. The brand is not important, so long as it contains 6.25% sodium Nitrite.
The usual ratio for this cure is 1 teaspoon of curing salt per 5lb (2.27kg) of meat, that is around 2.5g per 1kg of meat. However this rule does not apply to brining.
Since this recipe is using the curing salt diluted in water as a brining solution, 30g (2 tbsp) for 5 litres (1.3 gallons) of water is within the recommended limits for brining that’s up to 7 days, as in this recipe.
Prague Powder No.1 can be purchased on Amazon, but it is not essential to this recipe. However you must use it if you want the beef to have that characteristic pink/red colour. It is important that you weigh the curing salt accurately, so if you haven’t got a digital scale, now’s the time to invest in one.
NEED TO KNOW: Prague Powder is often coloured pink in order to distinguish it for regular salt – don’t confuse it with Himalayan Pink Salt! Curing salt prevents bacteria from forming and maintains the meat’s red colour. Always refer to the packet instructions to calculate precise amounts to use, bearing in mind the weight of the meat, length of brining process and amount of water.
HOW TO MAKE SALT BEEF
PREPARE THE BRINING SOLUTION Dissolve the salt and Prague Powder in the hot water. Add all the spices and then top with cold water to cool the brining solution.
BRINE THE BEEF Immerse the brisket in the cold brine, add a plate on top and use a weight to keep the meat submerged for the duration of the brining process. Store in the fridge for a week, turning the brisket every day to distribute the salt.
RINSE YOUR BEEF After 7 days, rinse the meat very, very thoroughly several using cold water. I find soaking the beef for a couple of hours is also helpful in removing the excess salt.
COOK THE BEEF Place the beef in a large pot full of water and slowly bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 2-4 hours depending on size. Alternatively cook in an Instant Pot with 4 cups of water for 70 minutes and allow for natural release.
SERVE YOUR SALT BEEF Once meat is tender remove from pot and transfer to a warm dish. Slice thinly (only slice as much as you need) and serve piled high on rye bread with mustard and pickles. You can warm the sliced salt beef in the microwave before making the sandwiches.
I recently made homemade pastrami, which follows a similar process except it is smoked instead of boiled at the end. Make sure to take a look at the recipe and video 🙂
Homemade salt beef
- 2.25 kg | 5 pounds rolled beef brisket
- 600 g | 1lb 5oz salt
- 2 tbsp | 30 g / 1oz Prague Powder no 1 (SEE NOTES)
- 5 liters | 170 fl oz hot water
- 2 tbsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp allspice
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs thyme
Prepare the brine
- Dissolve the salt and Prague Powder in the hot water. Add all the spices and then let it cool.
Cure the beef
- Immerse the brisket in the cold brine, add a plate on top and use a weight to keep the meat submerged for the duration of the brining process.
- Store in the fridge for a week, turning the brisket every day to distribute the salt.
Rinse the Beef
- After 7 days, soak the beef in cold water for 3 hours and then rinse the meat several times using cold water. Do not forget this step!
Cook the Beef
- Place it in a large pot full of water and slowly bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 2-4 hours depending on size. Once meat is tender remove from pot and transfer to a warm dish.
Serving your Salt Beef
- Slice thinly (only slice as much as you need) and serve piled high on rye bread with mustard and pickles. You can warm the sliced salt beef in the microwave before making the sandwiches.
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