When we visited our farmer friend Dick Jensen a few weeks ago for maple tapping, we picked up some of his lovingly raised and delicious grass-fed beef. We blew through the short ribs (I still owe you some posts on those, two ways) but we also bought a brisket with the full intention of having it as corned beef.
And everyone loves it for St. Patrick’s Day. But consider it as something you could make anytime. It makes enough for leftovers for a couple of days. Turn it into amazing sandwiches with a little Russian dressing and coleslaw. Add some leftover potatoes that you par boiled and then roasted in fat and turn it into hash. This is not your out of the can variety.
It’s worth the effort.
There is a bit of wiggle room just how long you choose to brine your brisket. Recipes from James Beard to Ruhlman give timings from five to twelve days. We brined our three and a third pound one for seven days. We followed the James Beard brine recipe, but Ruhlman gives a good one that is available online. We also added a few extras to our brine, like a couple of tablespoons of molasses and some brown sugar.
When we were done with the brining, I rinsed the brisket and discarded the brine. Then covered it with cold water, brought that to a boil and cooked it for an hour. At that point, I poured off the water and replaced it with fresh boiling water from a teakettle. To that I added a dark beer and a handful of some of the same fresh brining spices. Then I put it in the oven on 215 F for four hours. If you had more time, you could cook it longer.
Corned Beef Spice for Brining a Brisket
1 T whole peppercorns
1 T whole coriander seeds
1 T whole fennel seeds
1 t whole celery seeds
1 t whole caraway seeds
2 whole bay leaves
8 whole juniper berries
8 whole allspice berries
3 whole garlic cloves, smashed
1 cinnamon stick
Combine all and add to a salt brine and cure for 5 to 12 days.
Playlist included We Don’t Eat by James Vincent McMorrow.