Monday, March 16, 2009

Corning Beef

This year I decided to try making my own corned beef...that is, corning the beef brisket rather than purchasing a corned beef brisket. This way I was able to purchase a local, organic beef brisket to ensure the quality of the meat. So I set about searching for corning methods as usual, on various food websites. Most of the recipes are similar and super easy, but making your own corned beef does require advance can't do it today for tomorrow. I've had mine in the brine for several days and at that I probably got a late start. Tomorrow I'll slow cook the corned beef in my crockpot and the yummy smell will be in the house all day.

Here's the recipe I used--I mix my own pickling spices, but you can purchase pickling spices already mixed at the store as well. I used a 3-lb brisket but this brine is sufficient for up to 8 lbs of brisket.

For the brine:

Place the following ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved in the mixture. Take off heat and cool before using.

6 cups water
2 cups amber beer
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup pickling spices

Recipe for pickling spices:

1 t Allspice Berries
1 t Coriander Seeds
1 t Dill Seeds
1/2 t yellow Mustard Seed
1/2 t brown Mustard Seed
6 Whole Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick
2-1" pieces Dried Ginger
1 Bay Leaf
1 t Black Peppercorns

Trim any excess fat off the brisket and pierce all over so that the brine will soak in better. Place brisket in a glass or plastic container and cover with brine. Weight down the brisket with a couple of plates so that it stays submerged and refrigerate. Ideally you want to brine the brisket for 10 days, but can do as few as 4. On the 4th, and 8th day remove the brisket from the brine and rinse it with water and then place it back into the brine. On the last day rinse the brisket before slow cooking. Brisket is a meat that is best served by slowly braising over a low temperature. A slow cooker is perfect. Just place the brisket and any desired vegetables in the pot and add a couple of cups of liquid (I'm using stout beer), cover and leave it for several hours. It should be fork tender when you get back to it. If you don't have a slow cooker or crockpot, you can achieve he same thing in a covered dutch oven or roasting pot in the oven at about 225° for about 6 hours.


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