Thursday, March 19, 2009

Why I'm Making My Own Corned Beef From Now On

So, I'm two days late but tonight I finally had an opportunity to eat my corned beef and cabbage. Why so late? Well because I made my own corned beef.

Sometime last week, I got it in my head that this was the year I was going to make my own corned beef. What surprised me is I had never really seriously thought about doing it myself. I mean who has time to mess with the spices and then flipping a piece of brisket over a few times a day.

But then this came into my life.


Now, all I think about is making my own sausage, curing my own meat and of course, making more corned beef.

I used Penzy's Corned Beef spice mix

penzy's corned beef spices

instead of the recipe in Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing

but the recipe in the book and the listing of the spices on the bottle were surprising close. There are minimal kitchen pans and equipment needed to make corned beef: one 2 gallon Hefty zip bag, the crock and lid from the slow cooker. and a large sauce pan or small stock pan .

So, on Saturday I went to my local butcher and got a nice cut of brisket


and after making a brine with four cups of water, 1 1/2 cups of kosher salt,


and the Penzy Corned Beef Spice Mix by bringing the mixture to a boil and letting it cool, I put the brisket in the zip bag, poured the cooled brine mixture over the brisket,


sealed the bag, put it in the crock and inverted the lid to use the top knob to weight down the brisket.


Into the fridge it went where I let it sit for five days. After five days, the corning brine had made what is known as gray corned beef (cured without sodium nitrate, the ingredient that keeps the meat pink).


It is more commonly found in the Boston and New York areas and is also known as Irish Corned Beef. I think it is better than the red corned beef because it doesn't have the metallic aftertaste that the sodium nitrate seems to leave in my mouth.

Cooking my home cured corned beef was as easy as making it. Take one large crock pot, put corned beef brisket in, cover with quartered potatoes, halved carrots, and halved onions,


pour 2 cups of water into the crock pot and cook for about 10 - 12 hours on low. About 1 hour before serving, immerse the wedges of cabbage into the juices to cook.

Remove the corned beef brisket from the crock pot, put on a platter and surround by the veggies.


Serve with some Irish soda bread and you have the best St. Patrick's Day meal not to mention the best ruben sandwich for lunch the next day!

Home Cured Corned Beef

3 lb beef brisket (point or flat is fine, your choice)
small jar of Penzy's Corned Beef Spice Mix
4 cups Water
1 1/2 cups Kosher salt

In large sauce pan or small stock pot, bring to boil the water, spice mix and salt. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. In 2 gallon zip bag place brisket and pour corning brine over brisket. Seal bag, removing as much air as possible. Place bag into large dish and weight down brisket so that it is completely submerged in brine. Refrigerate for five days. Rinse under cold water before cooking.

New England Corned Beef Dinner

Serves 6
3 lb corned beef brisket, gray if you can find it
6 medium all purpose potatoes, quartered
8 medium carrots, cut in half
2 medium onions, quartered
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 large head of cabbage, cut into 6 wedges

Place all the ingredients but the cabbage in a large slow cooker or crock pot, cook for 10 - 12 hours on low. One hour before serving, submerge cabbage wedges in the juices in the crock pot.

Serve brisket on a platter surrounded by the veggies