Please click on the image to see enlarged version of the finished recipe.
You can make this dish with any of the so-called lesser cuts – any of the lean joints which require long slow cooking  – silverside, topside and thick flank all work well.  The spiciness is a nice seasonal touch but the Longhorn adds something special in the way of richness and succulence to the taste.  I make it in the week before Christmas – it will keep in the fridge for several weeks.
I sometimes serve this recipe hot with small, crunchy potatoes and a green vegetable or two but I think it is at its best served cold in the days after Christmas when it makes a nice contrast to whatever bird you have been eating.  The ideal accompaniment is a crisp winter salad – chicory and fennel, for example – and jacket potatoes. But whether hot or cold, the beef is greatly enhanced by a liberal helping of horseradish sauce– for which my recipe is here. Saltpetre is quite easy to obtain online.  It isn’t an essential ingredient but it helps to keep the meat pink.  


  • 2 kg joint of lean Longhorn beef (see above – silverside, topside and thick flank work best)
  • 225 g soft brown sugar
  • 225 g salt
  • 20 g allspice berries (or ground allspice)
  • 20 g juniper berries
  • 20 g black peppercorns
  • 20 g ground mace
  • Good heaped teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cloves
  • 20 g salt petre


  • You can grind the individual spices by hand in a pestle and mortar if you want to but I find it works perfectly well to put all the ingredients apart from the meat in a food processor and grind until fairly fine.  Rub this mixture all over the meat and into any cracks you can find, place the meat in a bowl and tip any remaining spice mixture over and round it. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge. After 24hours, the meat will have begun to exude a syrupy, spicy liquid. Baste well with this liquid and replace in the fridge. Repeat the exercise daily over a period of 5-9 days: there will be more liquid every day and the longer you leave the meat, the spicier it will become.
  • When ready to cook the meat, remove it from the bowl and discard the spicy liquid. Put it in a large saucepan and cover it with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer very gently indeed (you want the bubbles of water to barely break the surface – I use a simmering mat) for two hours. Turn off the heat and, if you plan to eat the meat cold, leave it to cool in the liquid. If you want to eat it hot, add 10 minutes to the cooking time, remove the meat from the liquid and rest for half an hour in a warm place before carving. (See above for serving suggestions). Once cold, the beef will keep in the fridge for several weeks.