I have fond memories of the 24 hour bagel shop on Brick Lane in London where I spent many an early morning devouring salt beef bagels. Salting beef is an age old method of preserving meat, and was popular with early explorers during long voyages. This version is different from the one I made on the boat, as it would have been near impossible to soak the beef overnight on a rocking boat. And I think this recipe is much better anyway.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)



  • 1.25 litres water
  • 200 g salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 100 g sugar
  • ½ tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ½ ground mace


  • 500 g piece beef topside
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make the brine, place all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. As soon as the brine comes to the boil, remove from the heat and stand until completely cooled. 

Place the beef in a stainless steel or ceramic dish, pour over the cooled brine, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

The following day, remove the beef from the brine and place in a large saucepan with the onion, celery and bay leaves. Add enough cold water to cover well, then bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently for 5 hours or until the beef is tender. Remove the beef, then thinly slice and serve with mash and greens or allow to cool and use for sandwiches.  


This recipe is from Gourmet Farmer Afloat