Salt beef bagel with hot English mustard and pickles

Salt beef bagel with hot English mustard and pickles

Ben's Meat Bible
Benito Martin

While living in London, I spent many a weekend morning either walking home through Brick Lane from clubs or strolling through the markets with my wife, shopping and people-watching (and seeing if we could find our stolen bikes at the flea market!). However we spent this time, all roads eventually led to one place: Beigel Bake, the bagel shop towards the north end of Brick Lane. I would always have the salted beef bagel that came with the tang of pickles and a hit of hot mustard – these bagels are probably the best street food in the UK.


Quantity Ingredient
4-6 plain bagels
90g mayonnaise
1 tablespoon hot english mustard
6-8 gherkins, halved, (I like McClure’s pickles)

Salt beef

Quantity Ingredient
2 quantities Beer brine
1 x 2kg thick end piece beef brisket
1 onion, sliced in half
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, leaves on, roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly chopped, white part only
1/2 garlic bulb, cloves separated
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon white vinegar


  1. Eight days before you plan to cook this, make the brine. Allow it to boil for 5 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and leave the brine to cool to room temperature.
  2. Use a skewer or a sharp knife to pierce the beef all over and place it in a large plastic container. Pour over the cooled brine, ensuring that the beef is completely covered. It may need weighing down; if so, use a couple of saucers. Cover with a lid and store in the refrigerator for 7 days.
  3. One day before cooking, drain off the brine and soak the beef in fresh cold water for a further 24 hours, changing the water at least once.
  4. The next day, transfer the beef to a large saucepan, cover with cold water, put the lid on and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface and add the onion, carrot, celery, leek, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and vinegar. Turn the heat right down to a low simmer and cook for 1½–2 hours, until the meat is completely tender and soft when pierced with a skewer. Keep the beef submerged during cooking, topping up with boiling water if necessary. Remove and set aside. Reserve the cooking liquor and use it as stock for soup, or freeze it.
  5. Slice the bagels in half and lightly toast them. In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise with mustard. Liberally spread all over one half of each bagel.
  6. Slice the salt beef into thick slabs and divide between the bagels. Spoon on more mayonnaise, top with the pickles and sandwich with the top half of the bagel.


  • You’ll want to plan ahead with this recipe because the beef needs to be brined at least a week in advance. Any left-over salt beef is an excellent cold cut and makes delicious Reuben sandwiches.
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