Spiced Beef

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

Floyd on Britain & Ireland

By Keith Floyd

Published 1988

  • About

This is a traditional dish at the cold Christmas buffet in Ireland. It is usually made with brisket of silverside, but skirt and flank are also suitable.


  • 3 lb (1.3 kg) beef silverside or brisket, boned
  • 8 oz (250 g) coarse salt
  • 2 oz (50 g) brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon each, allspice, ground cloves and nutmeg
  • Pinch thyme and pepper
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon saltpetre
  • 2 oz (50 g) black treacle
  • 8 oz (250 g) carrots, sliced
  • 2 oz (50 g) onions, finely chopped


Rub the salt into the beef and leave overnight. The following day, mix together the sugar, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, thyme, pepper, bay leaf and saltpetre.

Drain the beef from the salt and wipe dry. Rub the meat thoroughly on both sides with the spice mixture and leave, covered, in a cool place for 2 days. Then pour the warmed treacle over the meat and leave to marinate for a week, turning once a day.

Roll the spiced beef up and tie firmly with string. Put in a pan of boiling water with the carrots and onions and simmer gently for about 3 hours. Leave the meat to cool in the liquid, then remove, place between two boards and press under a heavy weight for 8 hours.

Carve the meat in thin slices and serve with a choice of chutneys, pickles and fluffy mashed potato.