Pennsic Pickled Beef

A word of explanation: If you're not in the SCA, you may be confused as to what I'm talking about, below. See and for details and descriptions...

A few years ago, I realized that most of the eating I did in camp fell more into the category of refueling, than dining. I'll occasionally hang out in our group's campsite to socialize, but in general I'm out and about. I'm in the campsite to eat, sleep, shower, and change and that's pretty close to it. This means that cooking-wise, I'm incredibly lazy. The last few Wars, the only cooking equipment I've used has been my coffee pot, French press, and gas grill. This, of course, means I eat a LOT of grilled meat.

So, the problem becomes one of preserving a week's worth of meat (or more) in a cooler, without having it become a science project. A buddy from Jamestown introduced me to a 17th Century pickled-beef recipe. I have, for a while, used the Weber Grill(tm)'s london-broil marinade recipe at home. A few Wars ago, I began picking up a large supply of beef at the New Castle Emporium of Foodness, plus some bottles of sauces for marinade. Then, I'd put the meat up in baggies with marinade and use them over the course of the War.

Then, I refined the recipe a bit, and also realized that I could get better meat, cheaper, if I followed the sales at home. Thus was born the following recipe.


A War's supply of London Broil (aka top round), fat trimmed and cut into approximately 4-oz strips

16-oz bottle of red cooking wine

10-oz bottle of soy sauce

12-oz bottle of red or cider vinegar

5-oz bottle of hot sauce

Add to taste:

Black pepper

Garlic Powder

Dry Mustard


Lemon Juice

Worcestershire sauce

In a Gladware(tm) or Ziploc(tm) container, layer the bottom with beef. Cover with marinade, and add another layer. Fill the container with beef and marinade. Note that this will use only a small fraction of your marinade. Pour the rest into a bottle of suitable size. I usually wind up with a liter.

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Refrigerate the marinade bottle and bring with you to the War. Freeze the beef container, along with other items such as smoked sausage, kielbasa, cheeses, and whatnot. I bring perishables to the war frozen, in a styrofoam 12-packer cooler. This is then packed inside my larger cooler, with sundry other stuff to hold it in place. Once at the War, I get a couple of blocks of ice, then transfer my frozen stuff to the larger cooler to thaw gradually.

To prepare the beef, pull out a meal's worth and grill to taste. Serve wrapped in a tortilla for convenience. Then, top off the marinade level in the container, so the remaining meat stays submerged. The alcohol, acids, and salt in the marinade inhibit bacterial growth while tenderizing the meat. The bits consumed in the last weekend are the most tasty and tender.