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How to Cook Salt Beef

Salt beef is a delicious, brined meat that is tender, salty, and perfect for sandwiches or as part of a traditional dish. Here’s a concise guide to cooking it:

  • 1 kg cured beef brisket
  • 2 large onions, quartered
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 celery sticks, cut into large chunks
  • 1 leek, cleaned and cut into large chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Water, to cover

  • Prepare the Beef:
    • Rinse the cured beef brisket under cold running water to remove any excess salt from the surface.
  • Cook the Beef:
    • Place the brisket in a large pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery, leek, bay leaves, peppercorns, and garlic.
    • Cover the beef and vegetables with cold water, ensuring the brisket is fully submerged.
    • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer gently for 3-4 hours, or until the beef is tender and easily pierced with a fork. Skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface during cooking.
  • Rest and Slice:
    • Once the beef is cooked, remove it from the pot and let it rest on a cutting board for 20-30 minutes.
    • Slice the beef against the grain into thin slices for serving.

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Salt Beef – Brisket – 1kg


Side Dishes:

  1. Boiled Potatoes: Simple and classic, boiled potatoes with a bit of butter and parsley complement the salt beef beautifully.
  2. Steamed Vegetables: Carrots, green beans, or broccoli provide a light and healthy contrast to the rich beef.
  3. Cabbage: Steamed or sautéed cabbage works well, especially with a bit of butter or bacon for added flavour.
  4. Pickled Vegetables: Gherkins, pickled onions, or sauerkraut add a tangy contrast that cuts through the richness of the beef.


  1. Mustard: A good quality Dijon or whole grain mustard adds a sharp, piquant flavour.
  2. Horseradish Sauce: Creamy horseradish sauce offers a spicy kick that pairs perfectly with the salt beef.
  3. Pickle Relish: Tangy and slightly sweet, pickle relish adds a delightful crunch and flavour contrast.


  1. Rye Bread: Hearty rye bread is a traditional pairing, especially if you’re making salt beef sandwiches.
  2. Sourdough Bread: The tangy flavour of sourdough complements the saltiness of the beef.

Other Matches:

  1. Cheese: A sharp cheddar or a creamy brie can be a delightful addition, especially in a sandwich.
  2. Coleslaw: A crisp, tangy coleslaw provides a refreshing crunch and contrasts well with the beef.

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Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 3-4 hours

Hot Tips

Allow the beef to rest after cooking; this helps the juices redistribute and makes slicing easier.


  • Dark Beer: A stout or porter, with their rich and robust flavours, complement the salty and savoury notes of salt beef.
  • Red Wine: A medium to full-bodied red wine, such as a Merlot or Malbec, pairs well with the depth of salt beef.
  • Whisky: A smooth, slightly smoky whisky can enhance the flavour of the salt beef.
  • Non-Alcoholic: A rich, malty ginger beer or a classic root beer are excellent non-alcoholic choices.