I’m not Irish, but I love the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day. Ireland looks so beautiful and rugged. At least according to Waking Ned Divine and P.S I love you. The green hills, the smoky and cozy pubs. And just what IS IT about those accents? I don’t know….
So I guess I like to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day like I’m green all over. I totally get into the food, the beer, wearing green and the soda bread.
I’ve always liked corned beef, but I was never… in love with corned beef. Commercially made, it can be sometimes too fatty, greasy, and just too salty. I didn’t really crave it the rest of the year, but I liked eating it to get in the spirit of St. Patty’s Day.
That is until I tried this homemade corned beef from Huffington Post. Did you know you make this stuff at home!? And it’s really pretty easy, with a few instructions and a special kind of salt- pink curing salt.
I got mine while on a trip to Olympia, WA at Buck’s Fifth Avenue. You can also buy curing salt from The Meadow in Portland, or online. You will also need about 5 days to let this cure, and of course, space in your fridge (the HARDEST PART!). Don’t forget to mix up your own special pickling spice!
First, you acquire a brisket. This one is Painted Hills, Grass Fed, and was about 5.6 pounds.
Then you want to trim off most of the fat, unless you want to make pastrami with it, but that’s another blog post.
Put in the meat, and let it cure in the fridge at least 5 days. You could go longer, but 5 days should be enough time for this amount of beef.
After 5 days, take it out and rinse it (you don’t want all those spices getting stuck in your teeth-they’ve done their job anyway).
You actually want to remove some of the salt, so that the end result is not overly salty. So put it in a pot with hot water and simmer with the lid on (do not boil, very important to maintain a gentle bubble) for 30 minutes. After that time, you dump out that water, add fresh hot water, and simmer for 3 hours. Keep an eye on it. I actually left the lid on for part of the time because it was getting a little to steamy in the kitchen (might have also been because I was staring at Jamie Dornan. I’ll never tell!)
So after you cook it for three hours, it should be pretty much crazy tender. You can add in chunked up potatoes and peeled carrots at this point. I added mine, kept cooking/simmering for 30 minutes, then added my quartered cabbage, and cooked another 2o minutes, and that was that.
Be sure to slice this against the grain, it will make for tender, fall-apart-in-your-mouth slices. Serve with horseradish or a spicy mustard, and plenty of pepper.
A couple things we noticed about this: (1) It actually tastes leaner then most corned beef! (2) The flavor from the brine and the diy pickling spice is beyond good. (3) When cooked and sliced right, it’s the most tender corned beef you’ll ever eat!
Leprechaun status achieved. Now, where’s that beer?
This recipe is from Huffington Post. They go into details about things like salt and what not, so it’s worth reading!
- About 5-6 pounds of beef brisket or navel (you can use less or up to 8 pounds, but do not use less brine or salt!)
- 1 gallon water
- 1 cup brown sugar, preferably dark
- 8 ounces salt, by weight
- 4 teaspoons pink curing salt #1
- 5 tablespoons pickling spices
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed or pressed
- For cooking:
- (for a 5-6 pound corned beef, if you are using more, add more vegetables to feed your crowd)
- Hot water (tap water is fine)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-3″ lengths
- 2 pounds of potatoes, cleaned and cut into 2″ chunks
- 1 small head of cabbage, outer leaves removed, cut in quarters
- For serving:
- Horseradish or mustard
- Black pepper, freshly ground
- Find a container large enough to hold 1 gallon of brine and the meat (you can cut it into pieces as small as 2 pounds). It must be non-reactive (stainless steel, glass, porcelain, Corningware, or food safe plastic). I used a large stock pot with a lid.
- Mix the brine in 1 quart very hot water. Add 3 quarts very cold water.
- Take the meat and remove as much fat as possible from the exterior. You can leave about 1/8 of an inch.
- Add the meat to the brine. It will float, so put a plate or bowl or another non-metallic weight on top of the meat until it submerges. The meat will drink up brine so make sure there is enough to cover it by at least 1″ or else you’ll find the meat high and dry after a few days.
- Clear a space in the fridge. Refrigerate the meat in the brine for at least 5 days or longer if you wish, especially if the meat is more than 2″ thick. You will not likely need more than 7 days, but once it is well cured, it can stay in the brine for several weeks. Turn the meat over every other day, and make sure it stays coved by the brine.
- When it is done curing, remove from the fridge and rinse off all or most of the pickling spices that will be adhered to it.
- Place the meat in a large pot along with enough hot water to cover it by at least 1″ and put the lid on. Turn the heat to medium, bring to a low simmer and keep it simmering for 30 minutes. If you boil it, it will get tough and shrink. Keep an eye on it and try not to let it boil.
- After 30 minutes, dump out the water and cover 1″ over the meat with fresh hot water. Bring to a low simmer again, this time for 3 hours or until it is fork tender. You might need to use a small plate to keep it submerged.
- After 3 hours, add in the carrots and potatoes. Simmer for 30 minutes, then add in the cabbage. Simmer another 20 minutes, until the cabbage is done to your liking. By that time, the potatoes will be soft and creamy, and the carrots will be cooked.
- Spoon out the veggies with a slotted spoon and place on a platter. Remove the meat to a cutting board and slice against the grain. If you are not sure which way that is, slice a little off one end and look at it. If you can see the strands of meat going back and forth, that is with the grain, so you will want to slice perpendicular to that.
- Fill your plate up with slices of corned beef, boiled vegetables and some mustard or horseradish and grind fresh pepper over everything. Enjoy!