Homemade Corned Beef

Homemade Corned Beef

Everything old is new again. The farm is heading down the homemade sausage, homemade corned beef, homemade ham route. Just like we did nearly 10 years ago when we experimented with duck confit, sausage and cassoulet.

This week, Greg is curing our own brisket to make homemade corned beef. He’s using the recipe by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn, found in our original (meaning, not updated) version of Charcuterie: The Art of Salting, Smoking and Curing. It was a ground-breaking book when it came out in 2005, and has inspired a generation of chefs (and home cooks) to make and cure their own meats.

It turned out great. The best we’ve ever had. Melted in our mouths. It was truly pink, because of the pink salt. And extremely flavorful.

Here is the recipe that Greg used. To make a corned beef and cabbage, as we did, you take the brisket out of the cooking liquid, then do the cabbage and whatever other vegetables you’d like in the same pot. We did cabbage for an hour. I would suggest adding cabbage first, then carrots and potatoes last.

Corned Beef

By Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn and found in Charcuterie: The Art of Salting, Smoking and Curing.

1 gallon/4 liters water
2 cups/450 grams kosher salt
1/2 cups/100 grams sugar
1 ounce/25 grams pink salt (5 teaspoons)
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons/20 grams pickling spice (see below or store bought)
1 (5-pound/2.25 kilogram) well-marbled beef brisket
2 tablespoons/20 grams pickling spi  ce

Combine all the brine ingredients in a pot large enough to hold the brisket comfortably. Bring to a simmer, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from the pot from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate the brine until it’s completely chilled.

Place the brisket in the brine and weigh it down with a plate to keep it submerged. Refrigerate for 5 days.

Remove the brisket from the brine and rinse it thoroughly under cool running water. (Resting is not required here because the distribution of the brine will continue in the long, slow cooking process.)

Place the brisket in a pot just large enough to hold it and add enough running water to cover the meat. Add the remaining pickling spice and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently for for about 3 hours, or until the brisket is fork-tender (there should always be enough water to cover the brisket; replenish the water if it gets too low).

Remove the corned beef from the cooking liquid, which can be used to moisten the vegetables, if that is what you’re serving. Slice the beef and serve warm, or even cool, then wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve, or for up to a week.

Pickling spice

2 tablespoons/20 grams black peppercorns
2 tablespoons/20 grams mustard seeds
2 tablespoons/20 grams coriander seeds
2 tablespoons/12 grams hot red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons/14 grams allspice berries
1 tablespoons/8 grams ground mace
2 small cinnamon sticks, crushed or broken into pieces
24 bay leaves, crumbled
2 tablespoons/6 grams whole cloves
1 tablespoons/8 grams ground ginger

Lightly roast the peppercorns, mustard seeds and coriander seeds in a small, dry pan, then smash with the side of a knife just to crack them.

Combine the cracked spices with the remaining ingredients, mixing well. Store in a tightly sealed plastic or glass container.

Yield: 1 cup/125 gramsw.

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