Corned Beef

Curing your own corned beef is easier than you might think. All you have to do is pick out a beef brisket, trim the fat, put together a simple brine, place the meat and brine in a non-reactive container, weight it down, and refrigerate it for seven days. A platter of homemade corned beef will make your St. Patrick’s Day feast that much better.

5 lbs beef brisket (2.27 kg)
1/2 cup pickling salt (154 g)
2 tbsp Prague Powder #1 (34.2 g)
1 1/2 tbsp ground black pepper (11.3 g)
3 1/4 tbsp garlic granules (33.1 g)
1/3 cup granulated sugar (77.2 g)
2 quarts chlorine-free water (1.9 L)
1 tbsp pickling spice (6.8 g)

1. Trim the fat cap which covers the beef brisket to about 1/4 inch thick.
2. Combine water, salt, Prague Powder, garlic powder, pepper and sugar in a large crock; stir well to make brine solution.
3. Spray pump the trimmed brisket with the freshly mixed brine solution to equal 10-15% of the original meat weight.
4. Submerge brisket in brine solution, place heavy platter on top of meat to keep it submerged, cover crock, refrigerate 7 days.
5. Turn brisket over and stir brine every other day and as this action will aid in the even distribution of the brine solution.
6. Remove brisket from brine solution, place in a large heavy pot, add pickling spice and enough fresh water to cover the meat.
7. Bring water to a quick boil, lower heat, and simmer 3-4 hours or until brisket is fork tender.
8. Corn beef is fully cooked and ready to eat at this time. It can be served hot or cold.

The layer of fat on the bottom side of a typical beef brisket varies in thickness from paper thin up to a half-inch or more. Ideally a 1/4” (0.65 cm) inch thick layer of fat is enough to produce a top-notch corned beef brisket.

Although stoneware crocks are preferred by home “cure mongers”, any non-reactive, deep-welled container can be used as a brining vessel. Glass, ceramic, plastic, stainless steel, or stainless steel fall into this category.

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