Serves: Makes enough brine for a large roast
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!
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!
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!
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).
Expand here to view the contest
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 Random.org
- 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
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
- 800ml Water
- 50g Sugar
- 50g Salt
- 1tbsp ground Ginger
- 1tbsp Freshly ground Black Pepper
- 2tsps ground Cinnamon
- 2 Star Anise fruits
- 1tsp ground Cloves
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Enjoy hot or cold, in thick slices or thin, as part of a roast or in a sandwich!