24 hour roasted beef

24 hour roasted beef

(Let me get this out of the way: the title is a slight lie. But with good reason – read on).

The slow-roast of a chicken as nabbed from Heston Blumenthal is a winner. No question. So why has it taken me this long to transport this idea to beef?

I was finally spurred on to try it by two things. Some dear friends bought me Heston’s Family Food for a belated birthday present. It’s leagues away from his Total Perfection series, a more everyday approach to food. It’s quite touching how he talks about how you can explore food with your family, encouraging them to try different things.

The second thing was being sent a Heston Blumenthal meat thermometer. I was so overjoyed at getting hold of one of these I had to cook something that demanded a thermometer immediately. This seemed perfect.

Heston’s recipe for slow-cooked beef favours the wing rib; a little pricey for me. I settled on that old favourite, brisket. But would the same principles apply to a different cut? Broadly I was confident, but I had to be sure. Some searching later I found a series of blog posts from Cuisiniers Kitchen investigating slow cooking brisket.

(You can read all three parts of the ‘slow cooked brisket’ series here, here and here. It’s a lot of words but fascinating stuff.)

In summary, the preferred method was to brine, marinate then cook for less than 24 hours. Past a certain point the collagen ruptures and develops a tougher texture. So I went for a cidery brine for 12 hours, followed by a 12 hour roast at 70°C. Finally a quick frying in a hot pan to give lovely browned

beef at 70 degreesI chucked it in at 7am and took it out at 7pm. A quick prod in a couple of places showed that it was 70°C throughout so perfectly cooked. The thermometer did the job, sturdy enough to stay upright and a very easy to read screen. The temperature also came quickly, something I have a gripe with my current thermometer. As I expected there was little colouring from this roasting and a little puddle of blacky-brown liquid in the pan, which of course I had to try. It was pure Marmite, heavenly umami. There were also an odd rubbery sheet of stuff from one side, which I suspect was congealing blood ‘n’ stuff (why do we only use pig’s blood for black pudding?).

After some reasting and frying, it was absolutely delicious. Crisp, wobbly fat and full-flavoured soft meat that tore apart into lovely flakes. The cider was a surprising touch: when I carved into the meat an appley perfume came off it; in the mouth a pleasing sweetness. If you’re wondering about the lack of seasoning, the brining takes care of that. But the beef flavour was the king. Completely brilliant.

(PS I’ll be exclusively giving away some Heston Blumenthal kitchen equipment to you lovely lot in the very near future, so keep reading!)

24 hour roast beef brisket:

700g brisket

500ml cider

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 star anise

50g butter

  • Prepare a brine with 8% salt and add the sugar. Stir well to mix, add the cider, pepper and star anise and submerge the beef. Cover with cling film and brine for 12 hours in the fridge.
  • Preheat the oven to 70°C. Pop the beef in a baking tray and leave for 12 hours, or until the beef is 70°C throughout (this should be medium rare to medium). Leave to rest, covered in a clean teatowel for an hour.
  • Put a pan on the hob with a very high heat and add the butter. When it starts to foam, add the beef and sear on all sides until it develops a brown crust all over. Carve as thin as you can and serve.


  • Oh. Wow.

    Fantastic patience on your part. Well done, I bet it was beautifully succulent.

    • It’s so worth it. Brisket costs nothing and there’s no maintenance involved in the process whatsoever. An easy win.

  • Nice work Gary. So you just leave it in the oven untouched for 12 hours?

  • I’m too paranoid to leave the oven on while I’m out, but this could almost convince me!

    • I understand that – but what’s going to happen at 60° – 70°? Thanks to asbestos (read: burned over several years) hands I can take the baking tray straight out of the oven at this lowly temp mittless.

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  • Tried this for the new year. Despite worry, since the thermometer read cold, everything came out great. It’s an amazing use of brisket. I didn’t soak the meat for an hour after brining, and the edge of the meat was fairly salty, so I would probably try that next time. But it was just fantastic.

    • Hi Tom

      Glad you liked it! It is a little scary cooking at these temperatures isn’t it? It’s goes against the usual way we cook and feels so odd.

      Gives great results though!

      • I have my new Heston Blumenthal thermometer and am planning on doing this again for New Years. This time I’ve invited more family, so I’m hoping it goes as smoothly as last time. I like the idea of 1 year roasted beef (since I’ll be putting it in the oven the year before I take it out)!

        • Cooking beef for a whole “year”, I like it!

          Good luck with your repeat performance Tom 🙂


          • Last year went well again. That time, I tried a roast turkey leg at the same time, keeping the heat a little higher, just to be sure. It was… weird. Parts of the turkey leg had a consistency more like pate than meat. Definitely worth the experiment, but I’m sticking with just beef this year!

  • I am thinking about doing a Prime Rib for Christmas in this style. Would you change anything?

    • Hi Drew

      The one thing that will be tricky on a prime rib is cooking the outside so it’s lovely and crisp and brown. It will be quite cumbersome to turn and move around without burning yourself. You might possibly want to crank up the oven to max once the internal temperature is about 5 degrees (C) short of 70. This should brown the outside nicely.

      If you can afford it I would recommend a dry run before Christmas day so no-one is disappointed!


  • I think I’ve found my new years eve dinner 😉 But I have one question: Why would you rest meat which is the perfect temperature? I would have thought you would want to serve as quickly as possible…?

    • Thanks for stopping by. It is the perfect temperature true, but the juices are still bouncing all over the place internally. 30 minutes would be ample time for everything to settle down. If you are concerned that it’s not warm enough to eat, firstly consider more gravy; secondly you could blast it in the oven for a minute or two.

      Let me know how you get on!

  • Hi Gary I have tried your recipe and it was great, had some left over sliced it up froze it defrosted it for a quick Monday night roast and it was still great!
    I am going to adapt the recipe and try it with a saddle of lamb, have you try it with lamb?
    If so any tips?


    • Glad you liked it!

      Not tried it with lamb, but I suspect brining isn’t necessary. Lamb is so fatty it might be a bit weird. There’s plenty of recipes out there for slow-roasting lamb on a low heat. Good luck!

  • Sorry but how do you “prepare a brine with 8% salt”? How much water do I need? How do I know it’s 8% salt? Do I measure the water in ml and the salt in grams and work out the 8% from that?
    Thanks.. If I get a response in time I’m going to try this for the new year!

    • Hi Mina

      To get an 8% brine, put your joint in a bowl. Weigh how much water you need to cover it. Multiply this by 0.08 to get the amount of salt you need.

      An add-and-weigh scale can help. So if your water weighs 1000g you need 80g salt.

      Good luck!



      • Thank Gary, will give this a go!

        • Update: I did eventually try this and it came out really well, and it’s so easy that I’ve added it to my “repertoire” and doing it for the second time tonight, to be ready for lunchtime tomorrow! Thanks Gary??

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