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Salt beef on board HMS Victory

salt beef old 2

People are always asking us what salt beef used to taste like in the olden days, and – since none of us are quite that old – we decided to recreate salt beef as it would have been prepared on board HMS Victory during the Napoleonic wars. This involved a fairly tough piece of beef, an old beer barrel and lots of salt. Oh, and quite a lot of patience, as we salted the beef for a whole six weeks.

salt beef old 1As we eventually took the joint out of the barrel we were confronted with something that, to be honest, didn’t look in any way edible.

At this point we chickened out of cooking it straight away, and soaked it in fresh water to let some of the salt dissipate, before cooking it as slowly as possible for six hours.

And the final result? Well the salt made your eyes swivel, and it was very, very chewy, but if you persevered it eventually became almost palatable, almost like beef jerky.

The consensus is that we won’t be launching historical salt beef as a new line any time soon, and we’d stick to the mild cure and melt-in-the-mouth texture of our 21st Century recipe!

salt beef cooked and sliced sm

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