Old-Fashioned Spiced Beef


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Cooking for Christmas

Cooking for Christmas

By Josceline Dimbleby

Published 1978

  • About

A good piece of spiced beef is particularly appropriate at Christmas time. It has a subtle, mellow flavour and can be earned in paper-thin slices. Either buy prepared salt meat or salt your own, using a method to be found in any standard recipe book.


  • 3-4 lb (1.25-1.5 kg) joint of boned, salt silverside or brisket
  • black pepper
  • soft dark brown sugar (Muscovado or Barbados)
  • 1 level tablespoon (15 ml spoon) whole allspice berries
  • 1 level tablespoon (15 ml spoon) juniper berries
  • approx. 1 dessertspoon (10 ml spoon) cloves


First soak the joint in cold water for 2-4 hours, changing the water once or twice. Sprinkle the joint generously with black pepper. Rub the brown sugar quite thickly all over the joint. Crush the allspice and juniper berries in a mortar, liquidiser or coffee grinder and press all over the joint and into any cracks. I usually make one or two incisions to get some spices right to the centre of the meat.

Stick the cloves into the joint all over. Wrap the joint up very thoroughly in foil and place in a large ovenproof dish with a well fitting lid, or in a roasting pan with more foil on top. If possible leave like this at room temperature overnight.

Cook in the centre of the oven Gas Mark 1/275°F/140°C for about 3½-4½ hours, according to the size of the joint. Take out, open the foil slightly to let the juices pour away and wrap the foil round the joint again. Then leave in a cool place with a board and books or weights on top until the next day.

Keep it in the fridge in foil until you want to carve it. Carve as thinly as possible. Wrap up any leftover piece in foil again and store in the fridge. If you have had cranberry sauce with your turkey, this goes very well with the beef.