Marinated Spiced Hereford Beef

Spiced beef was a favourite for hunt breakfasts and consequently is also known as ‘hunting’ or huntsman’s beef. The most famous is Melton Hunt Beef, made in huge joints of up to 15kg. There are numerous recipes for the curing mixture, which can include black treacle, various spices, garlic and sugar. It’s traditional to serve it cold, carved very thinly with pickles, bread and butter. It makes marvellous sandwiches.

Serves: 6-8

Total time (prep and cooking): 2 hours 50 minutes (excluding marinating)

Photo credit: John Mills Photography


  • 2kg piece rolled and tied Hereford silverside


  • 25g salt
  • 2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp English mustard powder
  • 2 tsp juniper berries, crushed
  • 55g molasses sugar
  • 1 tsp each ground allspice, ground ginger ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (optional)


  • 150ml olive oil
  • 150ml red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée


  • Dry the meat with absorbent kitchen paper.
  • Mix together all the spicing ingredients and rub into the joint well. Wrap the meat in greaseproof paper and refrigerate for up to 48 hours.
  • Mix together the ingredients for the marinade.
  • Unwrap the beef and put into a large freezer bag. Pour in the marinade, press the excess air out and seal the bag tightly. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, turning the bag from time to time to keep the meat covered with the marinade.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7.
  • Take the meat out of the bag (reserve the marinade) and put into a roasting tin. Cook for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 190°C/170° fan/gas 5.
  • Cook for 20 minutes per 450g for rare and 25 minutes per 450g for well done. Spoon over a little of the reserved marinade a couple of times during cooking.
  • When cooked, cover with foil and leave to stand for 15-20 minutes before carving. Cut into thin slices and serve hot with vegetables or cold with salad.