Home-made Spice-cured Beef

The only annoying thing about this recipe is the waiting time. But it’s worth it! The chilli and spice cure for the beef really takes on its own persona a few weeks into the marinade. When it’s ready and cooked, the meat keeps for several weeks in the fridge without spoiling, and can be eaten cold or hot. I used to have this on my home-cured charcuterie platter and it always went down well. The water that’s left after the beef is cooked can be kept – it makes a delicious and nourishing broth.


1 kg – Beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat and sinew.

Plastic tub big enough to fit the beef in.


125 g – Demerarra sugar

190 g – Salt

15 g – Pink Salt / Curing salt / Sel Rose (If you can’t get any, just add an extra 15g of normal salt. The pink salt helps keep some of the natural colour of the meat after it’s cooked)

1 tbsp each – whole: cloves, cumin, fenugreek seeds, green cardamom, allspice, star anise, black pepper, black cardamom

few sprigs – Thyme, rosemary

4 cloves – Garlic

4 – Red chillies


Put all the spices on a baking tray and roast in a hot oven (180C) for 5 minutes.

Allow to cool. Chop the herbs coarsely then mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a food processor and blend until you have a coarse evenly ground mix.

Lay some of the salt mix down on the bottom of the tub. Rub the rest into the meat, making sure it coats the whole piece evenly.

Put the meat in the container and the rest of the salt mix on top, making sure the top is covered.

Put the lid of the container on, or if you haven’t got a lid, cover with tin foil and put in the fridge.

Leave the meat to cure for a minimum of 2 weeks (3 weeks is ideal!). After the first week, turn the meat over, and spoon the marinade over the top. Don’t worry – there will be some liquid in the tub, this is perfectly normal.

Cooking: Wash all the salt off the beef and put in a large pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour. The meat is cooked when a toothpick can be inserted easily through the meat.

Drain and let cool. Keep the liquid if you fancy a warming broth. If it’s a bit salty, just add a bit more water.

Clingfilm and keep in the fridge. Stays for several weeks!

Eating it: Great on its own, or with some coleslaw and sourdough bread, gherkins and piccalilli!