Corned beef is a super cheap of meat in the grocery store. It comes in those vacuum packs making you think it’s “fresh”. It’s in that brine solution for months which has me wondering how tough is that cut of meat that it needs to brined that long AND THEN boiled for hours.
You can make your own and over the years I’ve tried a few different ones. Some use a ginger beer (non alcoholic like root beer), some use a beer, some have sodium nitrate (pink salt) some koshers salt. All use salt as that’s just how it’s done.
Here’s my latest recipe that I like and comes from the Compete Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly.
8 cups of water
1 1/4 cups kosher salt
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons pickling spices
1 6-8 pound brisket. Seriously I use a 1/2 a brisket around 2-3 pounds because I rarely have whole briskets left by March.
1 medium onion spiked with 3 cloves
3 garlic cloves
1 carrot coarsely chopped
1 celery rib coarsely chopped
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoons pepper corns
Bring water to boil, add salt and sugar, stir until dissolved. Add the pickling spices and let cool until room temperatures, the refrigerate until cool to 45F
Pour brine into large bowl or container (not metal), or large ziploc bag. submerge the meat. Putting a plate on the meat will help it stay under the water. Refrigerate 8- 12 days. Stir or shake every day and turn the beef.
When ready to cook, remove from brine, to large pot, cover with water and add the onion, cloves, garlic, celery, carrot, bay and pepper. Simmer on low 2-3 hours and until tender. Thinly slice against grain, serve hot or cold.
Note that because this recipe doesn’t use sodium nitrate the meat won’t be the nice pink color inside much.