Corned beef with Grassfed Beef is so easy, delicious and better for you than store bought.
Brisket is a cut we love here at the farm. It's one of those low temperature all day roasts that when done right melts in your mouth. I love it because it's a put it in the oven or slow cooker and forget about it until 8 or so hours later. Corned beef is made with brisket that is brined.
Corned beef has always alarmed me because it's sitting in this brine in a sealed package at the store for an unknown amount of time. Do we know when it was put in there? And really now that I raise beef for a living I have to wonder what kind of cut needs to be in a brine for that long to actually be edible? It's likely from an old dairy cow and so tough a few weeks/months in a brine is needed. Ugh. We can all do better.
Our beef briskets are in stock now and we cut them in half so are about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds each. Most recipes call for a 4-5 pound brisket which is a whole brisket- you can do any size you want. 2 pieces brine better than 1!!!!
Any experienced briner can talk to me about some larger briskets available at the farm.
Onto the good stuff.:
Creekside Meadows Grassfed Corned Beef
from Long Way on a Little by Shannon Hayes
1 Brisket 2-5 pounds
large ziploc bag and dish/bowl/pot to hold it. The brisket will be in this brining and ziplocs can leak.
2 quarts water
1 - 12 ounce bottle of beer - I've seen recipes without this addition but remember the alcohol will evaporate, it's added for depth of flavor.
1 1/2 cups coarse salt
5 bay leaves
3 tablespoon pickling spices
1 cup maple sugar, sucanat or tubinado sugar, or unrefined sugar.
6 whole allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 whole star anise (I used 1/2 teaspoon anise seed)
1 large onion chopped
In a pot put water, salt, beer, pickling spices, 3 bay leaves & sugar. Bring to boil and simmer until sugar and salt are dissolved. Let it cool. Place brisket in a ziploc bag and add the cooled mixture. Place bag in a container like casserole dish or bowl in case it leaks (it can leak) Refrigerate for 5-7 days. 7 days is best. Turn bag over every day or 2 and make sure the meat is covered by the brine. You can also have the brisket in a covered glass container for the duration but it needs enough to completely cover it and needs to be flipp it daily.
On morning of the day you are ready to cook it, remove the brisket and discard the brine and bag. Rinse the brisket and place brisket in a slow cooker, add onion, 2 bay leaves, allspice, peppercorn and star anise. Completely cover with water-1-2 quarts just enough to cover the meat. Cook on low 8-10 hours until fall apart tender. This can also be done on stove top on low heat just make sure to keep the meat covered with water and cook, covered long enough that it's fall apart tender. This part it hard for me because the smell is so good and I want it sooner than it's ready.
It's so worth the time to brine your own high quality beef brisket and know exactly the ingredients.
If you don't have pickling spices or anise, I have extra on hand to share.
Coming soon is another version with the curing salt which gives the meat more of a pink color we associate corned beef with and it also enhances the flavor.
More Cookbooks by Shannon Hayes, fellow NY farmer and author can be found at: http://theradicalhomemaker.net/books/