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Spiced beef based on Henry Sarson’s robust wartime wet cure.

Mr. Sarson uses fresh herbs but dried work fine.

  • rum-label-one009.jpg3 lb beef (brisket, chuck or another suitable cut)
  • 2 oz coarse salt (we like Maldon)
  • ½ oz ground allspice
  • ¼ oz powdered bay
  • ¼ oz powdered cloves
  • 1 oz coarsely ground pepper
  • 2 sprigs each of marjoram, sage and thyme, stemmed and minced
  • ¼ lb sugar
  • ¼ lb molasses
  • ½ cup malt vinegar
  • 2 oz dark rum

  1. Whisk everything but the beef together, dump the beef in a bag and pour the marinade over it. Turn and rub the meat daily for 1-2 weeks.

Preheat the oven to 275°.

  1. Drop the beef in a pot just big enough to hold it, strain the marinade, discard the solids and pour it over the beef; top it up with a little water if required to submerge the meat.
  2. Spread a thin sheet of beef fat or layer of shredded suet over the beef, cover the pot with two sheets of silicone paper or aluminum foil and top them with the lid to give the a tight seal.
  3. Cook the beef for about 2 ½ hours and remove it from the oven.
  4. Let the spiced beef stand in the sealed pot for three hours.
  5. Scrape away any fat that has adered to the beef, pat it dry, seal it in plastic wrap, weight it with as much as 3 lb and refrigerate the beef overnight before serving in thin slices.



-Mr. Sarson does not indicate precisely how much meat to use other than to mention “a large round of beef.” That is a lot of meat but even so, the amount of salt in his original recipe, a pound, would be sufficient to dehydrate a brigade. We obviously have been ruthless in reducing that amount. We also have added proportionally more spice, herbs and rum to the cure.

-If you have a spice grinder you can pulverize your own spice and herbs, as Mr. Sarson did, for an even more robust cure.

-Once again, dried herbs would be fine; throw in about ½ teaspoon apiece, more if you like.

-As Mr. Sarson says, his spiced beef “should be eaten cold and is delicious.” No brag, just fact. Home Pickling (London 1940) 124