Traditional Spiced Beef Recipe

christmas tree scene
author pic


 Updated 28/07/2015

 See comments

Spiced beef can be used as a Christmas buffet dish along with cold turkey, ham, cheeses, pickles etc. It is especially delicious with pickled red cabbage.
N.B. Saltpetre is not now readily available because of health worries and other issues.


  • medium size brisket of beef
  • 1/4 pint malt vinegar
  • 1 onion
  • 3 small carrots
  • 1 turnip
  • 1 tablespoon saltpetre
  • 4 level tablespoons soft brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 4 cups salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
(see measure conversions for more information on quantites)


  1. Put the salt and all the other ingredients (except the beef and vegetables) into a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Put the beef into the salt mixture making sure the meat is well covered.
  3. Put into the fridge and turn the beef in the salt mixture once a day for 7 days always ensuring that the salt mix covers the meat.
  4. At the end of the 7 days rinse the beef in cold water.
  5. Set it to cook in a large saucepan with enough water to cover the meat, adding the peeled, chopped vegetables.
  6. Cook for about 5 hours on a very low heat.
  7. When cooked, remove any bone in the meat and tie the meat to keep it in shape.
  8. Place between two plates and put a weight on top.
  9. Put in fridge overnight.
  10. Serve cold.

Prep Time: 7 days

Cook Time: 5 hours

Yield: 4 - 8 servings


That's great. Many thanks. It's lovely to think that the PC brigade haven't managed to ruin yet another tradition.
Have recently found out that also sell saltpetre.
#3 - mary - 12/08/2007 - 03:24 sell saltpetre in weights of 50, 100 & 250 grams. I just bought some and it was delivered in a couple of days.
#2 - Ruth - 12/07/2007 - 09:38 used to sell it but I'm not sure that it is obtainable now.
#1 - mary - 10/29/2007 - 09:40
Please could you tell me where I can buy saltpetre to enable me to make spiced beef?
#0 - Jane Peate - 10/29/2007 - 07:27
E-mail (Will not appear online)
Powered by Comment Script