Awesome Brine for Awesome Roast Beef

Serves: Makes enough brine for a large roast
Cost: ~€1.90
Preparation and cooking time: ~40 minutes
Calories: ~54 per 1tbsp

Brining is not something I’ve ever tried – on anything in fact. Neither pork, nor chicken, and certainly not beef. I’ve been modifying my roast beef cooking process over the past few months though. I found that my old cooking method was much too dependent on the cut of beef itself. An expensive cut would invariably yield great results, but the cheaper joints would usually end up being tough and chewy. When I’m already dropping €10-15 on the cheapest joints I would hope for something which is slightly more edible each time and so I turned to the idea of a roast beef brine.

The concept is simple enough – brining the meat will make all the cells in the meat swell with delicious flavoured brine, and coupled with a brisk sear in a hot pan prior to roasting, should ensure that the brine will stay tender and juicy during the cooking process – as well as keeping some of the flavour of the delicious brine to boot. Hooray for chemistry! In addition to this, to further ensure more consistent results, I now religiously use my meat thermometer and my meat slicer when preparing my roasts, as opposed to “winging it”, as I did in the past and then hacking it up with a carving knife. I’m a big fan of thin slices of meat – especially since you can slice it all up and then save the leftovers for awesome sandwiches!

Roast Beef Nom Nom

I did a bit of searching around and found a great looking roast beef brine. I must admit that I had my misgivings about the recipe at first. All that spice – it seemed a bit, I don’t know,… “festive”? I gave it a go though and was immediately in love with it. The spices do come through in the final roast, but they don’t take over; it’s more a case of “ooh, what is this lovely background flavour?”. Over the weeks I have made some adaptations to the original recipe and now I think I’ve got my personal favourite! If you’ve never brined beef for roasting before I urge you to give this a try – it will change the way you eat your roasts! The photos aren’t the best sadly – I took a photo of the cold slices the next day in a sandwich – it doesn’t look as good as it did when it was fresh and hot, but you’ll just have to take my word for it being some of the best roast beef I’ve ever eaten!

Roast Beef Nom Nom

A few days late, but I wanted to share the winner of the little competition I ran through February, as well as kicking off another round. One person got the answer almost right, but another entrant got the answer spot on, and I was looking for precise names! The answer was a Conical Strainer, which means the winner of February’s Abstract Contest was Marina, from Picnic at Marina. Congratulations Marina – you win the €20 (or regional equivalent) Amazon gift voucher, and I’ll be in touch shortly!

Conical Strainer

Conical Strainer

It seems last month was easy for some – if you fancy trying your luck at this month’s abstract photo then just expand the box below and try and guess what the photo could be of! Answers in the submission form please (not in the comments).

[learn_more caption=”Expand here to view the contest”]

It's a mystery!

What is this?

Terms and Conditions:

  • Only one entry per person
  • Please guess only one thing
  • The winner will be the person who gets the exact name correct
  • In case of more than one correct entry, the winner will be randomly selected using
  • Any entry not submitted using the submission form below will not be counted
  • If you win but live in an area which isn’t served by Amazon then I’m open to suggestions for providing you with a voucher for an online store near you

Enter here:

[insert_ajaxcontact id=6470]

Enjoy the rest of the post everyone; I hope you’ll give the roast beef brine a try, and I’ll be back in a few days with an extremely frugal recipe and some photos for you. See you then!

Roast Beef Brine

Adapted from: Sun Prairie Beef

[learn_more caption=”Video Recipe” state=”open”]


Roast Beef Brine
A delicious brine which gives hints of warming spices to your roast beef joint. Easily adapted and scalable to any size roast.
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 800ml Water
  2. 50g Sugar
  3. 50g Salt
  4. 1tbsp ground Ginger
  5. 1tbsp Freshly ground Black Pepper
  6. 2tsps ground Cinnamon
  7. 2 Star Anise fruits
  8. 1tsp ground Cloves
  1. In a large pan, mix together the sugar, salt, ginger, pepper, cinnamon, star anise and cloves and 200ml of the water. Bring the pan to a boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat.
  2. Add in the remaining 600ml of water and allow to cool before pouring into a sturdy bag or container. Add in your beef joint and seal. Store the joint in the refrigerator and allow it to sit in the brine overnight at the very minimum. A full 24 - 36 hours is best. While the beef is sitting in the brine, remember to turn the meat periodically to ensure even exposure.
  3. When the time is up, cook your beef joint in your preferred way. I like to heat a pan until very hot and sear the joint all over for a minute or so on each side to seal in the juices and flavours and then roast in a very hot oven until done - about 40-60 minutes, depending on the size of the joint and how well done you like it.
  4. Enjoy hot or cold, in thick slices or thin, as part of a roast or in a sandwich!
Adapted from Sun Prairie Beef
Adapted from Sun Prairie Beef
Five Euro Food


  1. says

    Hi Charles,
    I haven’t tried brining either but have a friend who absolutely swears by it. They’ve even done a huge turkey! I can see what you mean regarding the spices, but then I can totally see how we’ll this earthy flavours would work with the beef. Have you tried Hester Blumenthal’s method ? We’ve only tried it with steak but not roast. Your review of brining is making me think I need to try it, and I do have an eye if round in the freezer.
    JT got me one of those conical strainers for Christmas a few years back, it’s very useful in making creamed soups. My strainer came with a conical wooden tool to help press the soup through. I’m really loving your contest.

    • says

      Hi Eva, I can’t imagine how big the bag or pot would need to be to contain the whole turkey and brine – wow! I bet it was amazing though. Not sure I’d be a huge fan of brined “bird” though. I’m a big lover of bird when it’s really dry, which may sound horrible to some, but I usually don’t go in for the “juicy chicken” thing!

      I haven’t tried HB’s brining method – I’ll look it up now, I’m really interested to see how he does his.

      I’ve got one of those wooden tools too, for pushing stock/soup through the strainer. Of course, now I know you have one I can’t use that as the subject of a future competition any more! You foiled my plans! 😀

  2. says

    i have brined on a few occasions and I can tell you each time I did it the meat turned out 10 times better than if i hadn’t brined. Brining just brings out the best texture and flavor of the meats. Can’t wait to try your brine for roast beef

    • says

      Hi KB – absolutely agree… I’m never going to roast beef without brining it first again! What do you normally put in your brine?

  3. says

    Hi Charles! I’ve brined turkey many times, but never beef. It sounds fabulous! I can just imagine the aroma too. I also prefer my beef sliced thin. It would make for a great sandwich!! Mmmmmm. I can taste it now. Have a great week and I look forward to your upcoming photos. :)

    • says

      Hi Kristy, I’m new to the whole brining thing. So far I’ve only done beef, but I guess other meats are great. Pork, I can imagine, would work really well! Might try getting a ham sometime and cooking that – slicing it up and freezing it in bags – fresh ham for ages! :)

    • says

      Hi Maureen – do you not need a really big pot or bag to brine a whole turkey? I’m trying to imagine how big it would need to be (and how much brine you’d need too!)

  4. says

    Hi Charles!
    i am pretty sure that I have never brined before and I doubt that I have met somebody who knows how to do that. At least now I know that you are the brining master here. ^.^ Lovely tutorial, I can’t wait to try it out for myself. I have the same problem here with cheaper meat cuts, they end up too though and I don’t want to always add ginger or green papaya (alters the taste) to soften the meat. Not that the meat is as expensive in india as it is in Europe but I want to be able to crack the code of meat preparation. Some meat cuts are reserved to be used only for certain traditional dishes and often I don’t make them because of my meat cuts issue. Thanks for sharing your recipe Charles, it will come handy.

    btw no idea what the object is. lol

    • says

      Hi Helene, I’m new to the whole brining thing I must say, but it’s really changed my life, haha :D. That and my awesome slicing machine I got for Christmas – holy cow, it’s like I never need to worry about eating bad meat again if I cooked it 😀

      I’ve never heard of putting green papaya with meat before. Charlie mentioned you could use kiwi, and apparently it doesn’t change the flavour… did you try that too?

      • says

        Hi Charles! My latest experiment in brining were pork chops, and they came out quite moist. As for the the papaya for tenderizing I have jet to try it on octopus, my friend swears on cooking it with the stem of the leaf of the papaya. And says it works on beef too!! No change in flavor.

        • says

          Hi Vivian, I’ll definitely try it soon on pork chops because they can be just so dry can’t they? They can go from “just right” to “car tyres” in seconds. Must try this papaya technique too… thanks for the tips! :)

  5. says

    Thank you Charles! I love your brain teasers: I like to think of what it could be when I run. Sometimes I even think in a right direction. :)
    Brine for beef, mmm, let me have some, please! I brine almost all meats (that’s what my grandmother did and all her meats were so delicious!) My recipe doesn’t have ginger and cinnamon, but it has bay leaf, cumin, and dill seeds. I guess you can make brine from any herbs you have on hand. I shell try this recipe for brining, it’s intriguing.

    • says

      Hi Marina – I’ve really not done much brining at all before… this one is delicious, but I’m eager to try other recipes too. I would love to try yours – what meats do you normally brine?

      • says

        Hi Charles, I brine any meat that I plan to make dinner with, or lunch meat (time permitting of course!). Last weekend it was chicken, this week it is pork. I have all photos ready and as soon as I am done with taxes I’ll post it. :)

  6. says

    I have never brined either but I like the idea and you are dead right about wanting to make the less expensive joints more tender. This is a great idea and I shall definitely try it out. I think the spices sound wonderful.

    • says

      Hi Anneli, I’ve had some really bad meat joints before… even when cooked to precision (I have a digital meat thermometer!) they end up *looking* succulent and tender, but still being as tough as old boots. I haven’t had that problem yet after brining them – it really helps a lot so I would really recommend it! :)

  7. says

    Charles, I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t even TRY to guess. I thought it might be a french press of some sort but didn’t feel confident enough to commit. And, even worse. I actually HAVE a conical strainer. It was used by my parents to strain out the seeds from their home grown tomatoes prior to making sauce. I pitched everything in the cellar in the fall of 2010 but, out of nostalgia, decided to keep this. I’m going to take a picture of it and add it to a future gadget post. :)

    I’ve never brined either but the combination of spices DOES sound good. I think I’d like to give it a try when I can commit to a large beef roast purchase. Right now I have a beef shank in my freezer which I have to use up first. And then, maybe, finally a turkey for Thanksgiving.

    • says

      Hi A_ – you should have a try anyway… nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say :).

      I’m bowled over by how different and tasty this brine makes the humble (or not so humble) roast beef. If you have a slicer, or are handy with a sharp knife it’s fantastic to slice really thin and use for sandwiches. You can freeze it too in bags so you definitely don’t need to worry about eating it all at once. Mm, I’m starting to think looking at this post now was a bad idea – I’m feeling really hungry again right now, lol! 😀

    • says

      Hi Chica – Gammon, damn, that’s something I didn’t have in a while… gammon and eggs, gammon and pineapple. Mmm, I have to get me some pork and do that sometime – thanks for the inspiration :D. I do hope you get to try this too, it’s so nice! :)

  8. says

    Interesting way to roast beef. I’m no expert in beef roasts, although I’ve tried brining turkey for Thanskgiving and it certainly enhances the flavor when the meat absorbs all the spices. The photos of the sliced beef look perfect!!

    • says

      Hi Malli – I’ve really a complete newbie in brining, but I’m going to be brining all my meats from now on. I’d be especially interested in how a whole bird ended up like after being brined – I bet it must be fantastic!

  9. says

    you know what, I actually have not brined meat for roasts before. I know it’s supposed to be awesome and I have heard pple swearing by it, but I firstly don’t do roasts that often (it’s a very english thing, and I’m a very boring asian) and secondly, always forget about it or can’t be bothered. this definitely convinces me that I’ve been missing out. mostly hear pple bringing turkeys, but beef? wow this is new. amazing as always charles! xxx

    • says

      Oh, you have to try it Shuhan! You’d love it, I’m sure. It’s true – it is quite an English thing, but I hope you’ll have a chance to try it one day :) As for yourself – asian maybe, but certainly not boring! You liven my day with your pictures, stories, and recipes when I visit your blog :).

      • says

        Thanks Charles, the very ‘classic’ English things you do are new to ME. Haha. I definitely want to try this one day. I just need to find an occasion to invite a few friends over or sth for a roast!

  10. says

    I like the title of today’s post! Awesome! Wow, it does look delicious and I see why it’s double awesome, Charles. I’ve never brine beef before and this is something fun to do on weekends. I want to eat that sandwich!! I wish food blog offers tasting of the food. =D

    • says

      Hi Nami – I do hope you have a chance to try it – the sandwich was great as well… I’m not sure if I prefer it cold, or hot as a roast meal… I think cold is my favourite. So tasty and impossible to resist! :)

    • says

      Hi Karen – did you ever post any of your brining recipes before? I’d love to try different ones… I’m quite a beginner in the ways of brining so I’d love to try more!

  11. says

    Oh, I love to brine! Especially pork and poultry. We brine our holiday turkey every year before smoking it and I usually brine pork before baking. However, I’ve never brined beef before, but your post tells me that it’s time. Love the brine you made for beef and can’t wait to try it! thanks!

    • says

      Hi MJ – stop it, stop it – you’re making me so hungry! Brined turkey, then smoked… oh my! How does one brine a whole turkey by the way? Do you just put it in a huge pot, or…? Can’t wait to brine other meats too, it’s so much fun and SO delicious! :)

      • says

        The brined, smoked turkey is the absolutely best!!! We put the turkey and brine in a large stock pot and weight it down with a plate and bag of ice. The pot just fits in an ice chest along with another bag of ice. We leave it in the brine for 8 hours and then Bobby smokes it. He uses “the Ultimate Smoked turkey” recipes over at as a guide. It turns out great every time! You would love it!

        • says

          Thanks MJ, I’ll have to try and remember that when I get a smoker…. “one day” (some day, not too far away I hope!).

  12. Shane Reid says

    Charles, brilliant dish! I’ve been brining sconce a child in Nova Scotia. Although brining beef is awesome, try some Wild meat.
    Treat your taste buds well!

    • says

      Thanks! I’m in the land of wild meat these days… I figured I might try bringing some elk or reindeer when the season comes around!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *