When we think of St. Patrick’s Day, we think of parades, Guinness, and Corned Beef and Cabbage. So what does corned beef have to do with MexItalian cuisine? Well, absolutely nothing, but I have always wanted to “corn” my own beef.
Now, the process of “corning” beef refers to the treatment of the meat with “corns” of salt and without going into the menusha of wet-cured meats, gives the cheaper, tougher cut of brisket suppleness and tenderness. There are several advantages to corning your own beef. The first being that is so extraordinarily simple, why would you not do it yourself. Another reason is that you are in complete control the ingredients that you are using in the curing process and you have ownership of the flavors and nutritional value of the finished product. I am specifically talking about the use of sodium nitrate or Pink Salt. There have been numerous studies on the use and consumption of nitrites, but to make it simple, I tend to shy away from any food additive that is lethal to humans in larger quantities. One only needs a few simple ingredients, a corning technique, and 5 days (it takes 5 days to cure the beef prior to cooking so start NOW!).
So now that I had my menu, I started by putting my meat to brine on Tuesday morning so that it would be ready for my post-race Sunday meal. I submerged the brisket in a stockpot and made some room for it on the top rack of my refrigerator and turned the brisket each night. On Sunday I simply rinsed the brisket, placed it in another stockpot, covered it with water, added a bit more pickling spice, and simmered the brisket for 3 1/2 hours. I then added the potatoes to the pot and cooked them WITH the beef in the same broth, I think that this really brings both dishes together!
As I always say, if it is worth eating, then it is worth doing right! Forget that packaged corned beef loaded with cancerous nitrites. This corned beef is made from 100% grass-feed beef, crystal clear spring water, and hand toasted pickling spices. Serve that up with a hearty serving of colcannon and you can have a St. Patrick’s Day feast you can be proud to serve!
What is your St. Patrick’s day meal? If you are Irish, what are your traditions?
Home-Cured Corned Beef
- 1-1/2 cups kosher salt
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4 tablespoons pickling spice (see below)
- 1 tsp pulverized celery seed
- 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 medium onion, peeled and cut in two
- In pot large enough to hold brisket, combine 1 gallon of water with kosher salt, brown sugar, garlic and 2 tablespoons of the pickling spice and the crushed celery seed.
- Bring to a simmer, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved.
- Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.
- Place brisket in brine, weighted with a plate to keep it submerged; cover. Refrigerate for 5 days.
- Remove brisket from brine and rinse thoroughly.
- Place in a pot just large enough to hold it. Cover with water and add remaining pickling spice, carrot, onion.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer gently until brisket is fork-tender, about 3.5 hours, adding water if needed to cover brisket.