Salt “Horse”

Homemade salt or “corned” beef; of course it is not really horse, but called so after apocryphal stories of pursers finding horseshoes in the bottom of beef casks.  Made with the most unfashionable cut of beef, it wants three hours boiling otherwise it is very salty, and largely inedible – tough chewy cartilage throughout – even for me, and I think I have eaten a number of odd foods in my life.  In the Age of Sail ships short on freshwater would have none available for the galley and seamen would eat their salt beef or pork steeped and boiled in seawater; sailors in seas too high to have galley fires lit would often eat it raw, sliced very thin.  Luckily I was spared this indignity and after changing the boiling water once, my own salt beef came out almost like I remember the Jewish salt beef sandwiches I greedily ate in London in my youth: melt-in-your mouth tender and subtly flavoured with pickling spices.

I set the beef to steep when I woke up, and boiled it as I listened to the last day of the cricket on the radio this morning.  At lunchtime a toasted salt beef sandwich with lots of grain mustard awaited me; it did not last long.

4 responses to “Salt “Horse”

  1. I am salivating.

  2. Serve salt beef sang-witches in your bar

  3. That beef looks too tender, soft and juicy!

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