As a child, I hated corned beef and cabbage. There was nothing you could do to get me to eat it. I was actually 27 before I tried it. Lo and behold, I LOVE IT!
Now, I know most people (myself included), just go to the store and get the packaged corned beef and that's it. I have corned my own beef brisket many times in the past, but I lost the recipe. So here I am off on a new quest to find one I like. All the while, hoping my family won't be sick of corned beef by St. Patrick's Day.
There are so many different recipes on the internet. Some of these recipes talk about letting it sit for 3 weeks. Seriously, who plans that far ahead. There is another recipe which takes 10 days. And 8 days, 7 days. I was still on the quest for something shorter because I don't have a ton of space in my fridge to store something for that long. So in the end I settled for a recipe that required 5 days. The reason for the lengthy process is because the purpose of brining the meat is to get the blood out and infuse it with the brine.
**** NOTE: UNLESS YOU USE SALT PETER (same thing that is in gun powder), IT WILL NOT BE PINK****
I thought I should mention that since most people are accustomed to bright pink corned beef. It will be closer to a dusty rose to dull gray color.
I opted to not include the pink curing salt ( I used sea salt instead) and to use store bought pickling spices. I was going to make my own, but in the end, I know I will never use some of these ingredients and I don't want them to go to waste in my pantry.
Modified from Home Cured Corned Beef from SimplyRecipes.com
Home Cured Corned Beef Recipe
Prep time: 5-7 Days
Cook time: 3-4 hours
The spice mix with the gallon of brine makes easily enough curing brine for a 5 pound brisket, cured in a somewhat large-ish container. If you were to use a 2-gallon freezer bag or marinating bag, you would likely need just half (or less) of the amount of brine and brine spices.
- l Store bought mix
- 1 gallon water
- 2 cups Kosher salt
- 5 teaspoons pink curing salt/sodium nitrate/salt peter* ( I used sea salt)
- 3 Tbsp pickling spices
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 4-5 pound beef brisket
- 1 Tbsp pickling spices
1) Add about 3 Tbsp of the spice mix to a gallon of water in a large pot, along with the Kosher salt, pink salt (if using), and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate until well chilled.
3) At the end of the cure, remove the brisket from the brine and rinse off the brine with cold water.
*Place the brisket in a large pot that just fits around the brisket and cover with at least one inch of water. If you want your brisket less salty, add another inch of water to the pot. Add a tablespoon of the pickling spices to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a very low simmer (barely bubbling), and cook 3-4 hours, until the corned beef is fork tender. (At this point you can store in the fridge for up to a week.) Remove the meat to a cutting board. Slice thinly against the grain to serve.
*Some people use the liquid that they cooked the beef in to cook their vegetables, and some people like me, cook their vegetables with the meat, because I like all the flavor. This is personal preference. I also add potatoes to mine, so I have Corned Beef, Cabbage and Potatoes every St. Patrick's Day.
Well I hope this helped, and that it takes the fear out of doing it yourself. Think of all the chemicals you aren't adding when you use this method versus what is in that package at the store.
I am a stay at home mom of one busy boy. I married my best friend and am truly blessed. I love my life. I cloth diaper and baby wear, my mom says I'm turning in to a "hippie", which she thinks is hilarious. I am crafty and always looking for a greener way to do things.