Spiced Beef

Spiced Beef used to be popular all over Britain but now it is mainly cooked in Ireland and the Midlands. With its festive spices it was prepared during the Christmas season as part of a buffet style dish along with cold ham and turkey. The beef should be sliced thinly and served with cumberland sauce and/or pickles and chutney. Once cooked and cured the beef will keep in the fridge for a week. The Asian spices in this recipe while not traditional add a little punch to the beef. Store leftover spice mixture in a well sealed jar.

10 portions
Prep: 15 minutes plus 9 days to marinate
Cook: 4 hours


Spice Mixture

  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 1tsp juniper berries
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground mace
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2-3 small dried red chillies
  • 3 star anise


  • 175 salt
  • 2 kg roasting beef eg. silverside or rolled rib of beef


  1. Spice Rub: Grind all the spice mixture ingredients together in a mortar and pestle, coffee grinder or food processor until fine.
  2. To Marinate the Beef: Stab the beef all over with a small sharp knife. Place the beef in a tray and rub in the salt. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Pour out the excess moisture in the tray and rub off the salt (as much as possible). Generously rub the spice mixture into the beef, so that it is totally coated. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 7 days. Rub the spice mixture in and turn the meat each day.
  3. To Cook: Tie the joint neatly with string into a compact shape. Place in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring the meat to a slow simmer and leave it to cook for 4 hours, until tender and cooked through. Remove from the liquid and allow to cool, place it in an oven tray, wrap in cling film and place a chopping board on weighted down with cans or a similar weight refrigerate for 24 hours until very cold.
  4. To Serve: Slice the spiced beef thinly and serve with chutney, cumberland sauce or sweet chilli sauce. Accompany with a green salad and boiled small potatoes, or a cold pasta salad, rice, couscous or your choice of accompaniment.