Here is Grady’s simple tips on having some fun with preserving and curing meats. It’s just a short guide of what can be done in order to get a couple extra days from your produce, but more than that it is something fun to do and enjoy learning. Always make sure the meat is fresh and good to eat. You will only get good results if the ingredients are of good quality.

Lockdown – Preserved meats
When your freezer is full of other items, you can preserve your Oriel Jones meats in other ways. I generally apply some form of preserve to all of the meats I use from them, as it intensifies the flavour of the product, but overall, I have found that ground sea salt works best.
Lightly Salted Method
(to be done before oiling, or for confit)
This draws out a little of the water from the meat, whilst seasoning and preserving. This also works well with diced shin of beef and confit too.
• Lay the steaks, diced meat (or any other small cut of lamb, pork or beef) on a paper towel or kitchen cloth.
• Season with salt as you would if you were frying or braising it as normal. Turn and repeat on the other side.
• Leave at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours (up to 6 hours), or until the salt has melted and the meat has started to release water.
• Dry it off with a clean cloth or towel and refrigerate. This can be done on the use by date of your meat- which will add another 48 hours of freshness. If you decide to eat this through frying or braising no further salt needs to be added. It will be well seasoned.
Oil Method
I use this method when I want to keep steaks from oxidising. As you may know when you have steaks sitting on top of each other they turn brown on the surface. After cooking the steaks this colour can seep into the middle of the steak. A light brushing over the surface with vegetable oil will prevent this. For longer storage, completely submerge the pork, lamb or beef (pre-salted) cuts in the oil inside a Tupperware type container with a lid. As long as any moisture doesn’t get into your container, the meat will keep for a couple of weeks. Before cooking, drain off the oil and use it again for the same purpose.
Cured Method
(This works great with pork chops and pork belly, but is not suitable for beef or lamb.)
Use 2 parts salt to 1 part caster sugar for this method. For example 66gms salt to 33gms caster sugar. You should use this mix slightly more liberally than the salt only method. This is because the sugar enables you to leave the mix on the meat longer without over seasoning. However, this method is best done under refrigeration for 24 hours. If you are using small cuts like chops just coat them properly, then pile them on top of each other (in your container) to preserve space.
After curing for 24 to 36 hours, the meat should feel firm. Rinse off any cure that hasn’t melted- otherwise just pat dry. For best results air dry in the fridge on a tray overnight. This meat can then be vacuum-sealed for 3 weeks, or stored in the oil method for up to a month under refrigeration. I mainly smoke this kind of product, but under the current circumstances grilling and/or fried in a coating of mustard and breadcrumbs are more realistic. It is important NOT to just fry the chops in a pan as they will be salty.
If using belly, once air dry, cook at 130 degrees in a fan oven for 4 hours (skin side up) without any seasoning. It will taste great.
Brined Method
Brining is generally more effective when used for larger cuts such as a whole rolled pork belly or shoulder. A standard brine for large cuts is 10%. This means 10% salt to the weight of warm water (to help the salt dissolve). You can also add any herbs or spices that you like in this, such as citrus, cinnamon and mint. A pork belly which has been boned and rolled can sit in a brine for 7-10 days, or until firm. Cuts like these are generally gently simmered for around 3 hours in fresh water with a bouquet of herbs, like a ham. Just pull it out of the brine into the fresh water.
Lightly Salted Shin of Beef Confit
Take the lightly salted and dried diced beef and submerge into the melted beef dripping. This is best done in a casserole style dish on the stove; however if you have a limited supply of dripping then do it in a baking tray spread out in the oven at 120 degrees. It will take much less fat to cover the diced beef.
For either method, pop in a couple of garlic cloves and a sprig of thyme. Keep the heat low enough so that the garlic doesn’t start browning. However the fat should be hot. After 3 hours check tenderness with a fork or wooden skewer. Leave it to cool till manageable, but not set. There are 3 things you can do with the finished product:
1. Store the finished product in a clean container with all the fat for up to 3 months in the fridge.
2. Drain the beef from the fat before frying in a hot pan for crispy beef
3. Make a rillette- my personal favourite.
Method for Basic Rillette
Separate the meat from the fat. Shred the meat in a bowl (over ice) with a fork, and then drizzle and mix in enough fat to combine with the meat making a pâté consistency; between 15 & 20% of the weight of the meat. The ice helps the mixture to set and emulsify. Store in any covered container overnight in the fridge, and slice like you would a terrine. This can also be potted and covered with beef fat to seal it. Serve with mustard, toast and pickles.
Brined Vegetables
This is a great way to preserve extra veg if you have overbought on these perishable items. I first thought of doing this when I had extra brine from fermenting vegetables.
Vegetables such as pre-cut leeks, baby spinach, carrots, parsnips, kale, jerusalem artichokes, potatoes,etc all work well.
For this you will need a 2% brine. So for example if you have 200gms vegetables and 800gms water to cover them, you will need 20gms salt. Prior to deciding how much salt you will need, it is important to weigh the washed and prepped vegetables first, then submerge them in water and cover in any lidded container. As long as the vegetables are in the fridge they will stay fresh for a couple of weeks and are pre-seasoned for you before cooking.
If you have any questions, please follow me on instagram @gradyatkins or twitter @gradyatkins and feel free to send me a message.