March 16, 2011

HOMEMADE Corned Beef

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When it comes to some of the basics in preparing traditional food, I love to see what Alton Brown is doing. is his recipe based on his suggestions  for HOMEMADE corned beef.  I am posting this so you don't have to buy those ones from the store that are soaked in chemicals like  phosphates and nitrates.  This is a much healthier version.  It should stay in the brine for 10 days...but I have tried 6-7 and it is tender and juicy, with all the good flavor.  

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons saltpeter
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 8 whole allspice berries
  • 12 whole juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 pounds ice
  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) beef brisket, trimmed
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped

Directions: 10 days ahead of time

  1. Place the water into a large 6 to 8 quart stockpot along with salt, sugar, saltpeter, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, juniper berries, bay leaves and ginger.
  2. Cook over high heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the ice. Stir until the ice has melted.
  3. If necessary, place the brine into the refrigerator until it reaches a temperature of 45 degrees F.
  4. Once it has cooled, place the brisket in a 2-gallon zip top bag and add the brine.
  5.  Seal and lay flat inside a container, cover and place in the refrigerator for 10 days.
  6. Check daily to make sure the beef is completely submerged and stir the brine.
  7. After 10 days, remove from the brine and rinse well under cool water.
  8. Place the brisket into a pot just large enough to hold the meat, add the onion, carrot and celery
  9. over with water by 1-inch. 
  10. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. 
  11. Reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender.
  12. Remove from the pot and thinly slice across the grain.

Optional- Add potatoes and carrots  during last 40 minutes of cooking time and then chunks of fresh cabbage the last 15 minutes.  Serve with grainy mustard or horseradish sauce.

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