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Beef Pickle

Beef pickle is a preserved, tangy-tasting dish that has been popular all over the world. Various countries try to keep their supply of beef palatable by pickling it either by the process of brining or salting. Vinegar is commonly used now in addition to a number of spices. South Asian recipes for pickled beef recommend using edible oils instead of acetic acid.

Corned beef pickles as well as the pickled beef tongue are popular dishes in USA. The corn refers to the salt grains instead of maize which are used in copious quantities to ensure appropriate pickling of the beef. Kosher salt had been traditionally used by the Jews residing in Germany when pickling beef tongue. The tender beef,marinated in red vinegar and oil, is a form of pickled beef that is eaten as the main dish in Scotland.

There are a variety of ingredients used for pickling the meat, at present, apart from salt. The process is now used as a means of enhancing the flavor rather than preservation.

History of Beef Pickle

Beef was considered to be one of the most desirable meats on account of its taste and quantity. Pickling of the beef was a common practice of preserving the meat before refrigeration became commonplace. The days preceding the Civil War of America saw saltpetre being used as the main ingredient for storing beef.

Brining and corning were the usual methods implemented for pickling beef in the earlier days. Salt beef was the most popular form of pickled meat in US and Europe before the modern era.

Beef Pickle Recipe: Ingredients and Preparation Methods

The earliest method of pickling beef did not require many ingredients as some amount of salt and sugar along with saltpetre were considered to be enough. Boiling a huge quantity of water with all the ingredients except the beef was the initial step and the meat was submerged in the liquid after it was taken off the flame. Keeping the beef submerged by means of a flat and heavy grinding stone or iron was considered necessary during the old days.

The modern day recipes make use of vinegar, garlic, ginger and peppercorns along with salt to prepare the picking liquid.

Popular Beef Pickle Recipes

  • Sauerbraten- A German dish for pickled roast beef that is cooked using red wine and vinegar.
  • Reuben Sandwich- Sandwich filling consists of corned beef and cheese, all of which is topped with Russian bread and served in between slices of rye bread.
  • Pickled Beef Tongue- A traditional dish that is often pickled in cider vinegar and consumed as a side dish.


The standard breakfast of the US Army in 1898 included beef pickle dishes along with bread pudding.