Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Homemade Corned Beef
Above: "uncured" corned beef brisket, after five days of brining and just about ready to simmer to perfection.
With a little planning, you can prepare the best corned beef you'll ever eat - homemade. It's just as simple as buying a prepared corned beef brisket at a store, and much better. Nitrate-free corned beef is technically "uncured." This recipe uses none of the chemicals that make corned beef pink, it is much healthier (and tastes better, in my opinion!). Start preparing this at least five days ahead of time, up to seven to ten days.
This recipe uses a four to five pound beef brisket (if your brisket is larger, simply double the ingredients). There is always much discussion about which cut is better to use, the point or the flat. Generally the point cut has more fat and will result in a very tender brisket, but as it should be, this brisket is cooked low and slow and will come out delicious whichever cut you use. The flat cut is easier to find in an average store, and, you could eliminate the problem altogether by buying the entire brisket. Just something to think about, especially if you really like corned beef!
In a saucepan, combine:
1 quart water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar (I used raw sugar)
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 pinch ground cloves
Heat slowly and be sure that sugar and salt are completely dissolved in the liquid. Allow to cool completely then pour into a resealable plastic bag.
Add the four to five pound beef brisket,
plus three large cloves of garlic, sliced,
seal, and place in a glass dish (in case of leakage) and refrigerate at least five days, up to 10 days.
Tomorrow I'll publish the recipe for the simmering liquid and a photo of the finished corned beef brisket!