Corned Beef Step-by-Step Tutorial

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Corned beef is one of those foods that has gotten marginalized due to its association with Saint Patrick’s Day. For many people, the only time they eat corned beef is in March. And that is a shame, as corned beef is a truly great meat, in my opinion. Of course, if you live in a city with a really good Jewish Deli, such as Katz’s in New York or Langer’s in Los Angeles, then you can get an excellent corned beef sandwich year round.

But I am referring to making corned beef at home, which is near impossible because supermarkets only bring out the packaged corned beef right before Saint Patrick’s Day in March. What to do? Follow this Step-by-Step Corned Beef Tutorial and you can make it anytime you want.

I first made my own corned beef five years ago, and have been doing it ever since. It is such a simple process, although it takes time. Most of that time is just waiting for the meat to cure, so it is painless. Unless you are an impatient person.

Corned Beef

The photo above is of my first corned beef I ever made. It was so delicious and so unlike the packaged corned beef I had always made. For one thing, I didn’t trim the fat, which gave the corned beef and cooking broth much more flavor. Once your broth is cooled overnight you just remove any solidified fat from the surface and throw it away. The flavor remains, and you can cut the fat from the slices before you eat them.

The main component of a good corned beef is a good piece of brisket, usually the first cut. The first cut brisket is the flatter piece. If you are unsure, ask your butcher to get one for you.

The next component is your pickling spice.  This pickling spice recipe is an all purpose pickling spice. Store it in a jar as you would any spice blend, and when you want corned beef or quick pickles, you have a fresh pickling spice on hand.

Pickling Spice
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole allspice
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 1 cinnamon stick
Instructions
  1. Mix the spices together and seal in an airtight container to store.

 

The next component is a brine to cure your corned beef. The brisket needs to stay submerged in the brine for a minimum of one week to let the meat cure.

Corned Beef Brine
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 corned beef
Ingredients
  • 7-8 cups water (depending on size of brisket)
  • 1 bottle dark ale
  • 1½ cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • ¼ cup pickling spice
  • 1½ tablespoons pink curing salt
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp Tellicherry peppercorns
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients into a large bowl, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.
  2. Place your brisket into a large pot.
  3. Pour the brine over the meat.
  4. Be sure the brisket is submerged. If needed place a plate directly onto the brisket to weight it down.
  5. Cover the pot and place into the refrigerator for one week.

 

Once the brisket has been brined and become a corned beef, all that is left is cooking. Remove the brisket from the brine, rinse it well to remove the spices and extra salt. Place your brisket into a large pot, pour in a bottle of ale or stout, the fill the pot with water so it covers the brisket by at least an inch.  Bring the pot to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook the brisket for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is tender.

If you want to make a traditional boiled dinner, add potatoes, cabbage wedges and carrots to the cooking liquid once the corned beef is done. Slice the corned beef and return it to the pot with the cooked vegetables.

Or you can slice the corned beef for sandwiches, salads, hash or whatever comes to mind.

Are You Ready for Saint Patrick’s Day?

Saint Patrick’s Day is almost here, and Americans all over the country are buying extra large bottles of emerald green food dye. Very soon, cakes, cookies, beverages, eggs, breads, and anything else that will accept the dye will be turned bright green for the holiday!

I love Saint Patrick’s Day as much as anyone else, but I don’t want all my food artificially colored. One reason being that I can often taste the dye. That is why red velvet anything is not on the top of my list to eat, because that red dye tastes horrible!

Pardon me, I seem to have gone off on a tangent. . . back to Saint Patrick’s Day. I dove into my archives to find a few Saint Patrick’s Day recipes I really love. Especially the Chocolate Ale Cake. I suggest you start with that one. Nothing wrong with eating dessert first, right?

 

Chocolate Ale Layer Cake | Black Girl Chef's Whites

Chocolate Ale Cake

 

corned beef

Homemade Corned Beef

 

Ruby sandwich

Ruby (Reuben) Sandwich

 



Homemade Corned Beef

This post was originally published last year. Since St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner I wanted to post this again so you can make your own corned beef!

 

Every year on St. Patrick’s Day my family goes the traditional route and has corned beef and cabbage. Am I Irish? Well, I do have Irish ancestors, but if you look at my picture you know I am not Irish! But everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, right?

Corned beef is made from beef brisket, which is also delicious smoked or braised. This picture is of a whole brisket, which weighs around 16 pounds. When you buy a brisket in the supermarket, you will usually get a piece that is about 1/2 the size. Briskets are traditionally sold as the “first cut” which is the flatter part of the brisket, and the fattier “second cut”.

I cut my brisket in half, and used the first cut portion for corned beef. The second cut is still in the brine, and will be turned into pastrami. And yes, I will post the recipe for the pastrami too.

I often brine chicken and turkey before roasting, but I had never corned beef. I checked out a few different recipes, went to the store to get fresh whole spices for my pickling spice, and got to work. Brining time ranged from 4 days to 4 weeks. I got a late start on my brine, because the first week of March disappeared somehow. I brined my brisket for a week, which was more than enough time for the flavors to penetrate the meat.

After you take the brisket out of the brine, rinse it well to remove the spices and extra salt. Place your brisket into a large pot, pour in a bottle of ale or stout, the fill the pot with water so it covers the brisket by at least an inch. Bring the pot to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook the brisket for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is tender.

If you want to have a traditional boiled dinner, remove the corned beef from the liquid, and add potatoes, carrots and cabbage. Cook the vegetable until they are tender, then return the sliced corned beef to the pot.

I decided to do my version of a Reuben Sandwich, which has corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. I call mine the Ruby Sandwich after my daughter. It had corned beef, sweet and sour caramelized onions, Horseradish-Caraway Mayonnaise and Swiss cheese. I love a good Reuben, but I think I love the Ruby more!

To make a Ruby Sandwich, slice a fresh roll in half. I used a sourdough roll. Spread both sides of the roll with a good dollop of Horseradish-Caraway Mayonnaise, then place sliced corn beef, some Sweet and Sour Caramelized Onions and a slice of Swiss cheese. Pour yourself a cold beer and enjoy!
Sweet and Sour Caramelized Onions

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 TB butter

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Place the onion, butter, sugar and salt into a small saute pan. Slowly cook the onions over low heat, until lightly browned. Add the vinegar, and cook another 2-3 minutes until the vinegar is absorbed. Let cool before using.

Horseradish-Caraway Mayonnaise

3/4 cup mayonnaise

2-3 TB horseradish, depending on how strong you like it

1/4 tsp caraway seeds

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Can be made ahead, and stored in the refrigerator.

Pickling Spice

2 TB mustard seeds

2 TB whole allspice

2 tsp coriander seeds

2 tsp whole cloves

1 tsp dried red pepper flakes

1 bay leaf, crumbled

1 cinnamon stick

Mix the spices together and seal in an airtight container to store. This is an all purpose pickling spice mix, and can be used for almost any pickle recipe.

Corned Beef Brine

7-8 cups water (depending on size of brisket)

1 bottle dark ale

1 1/2 cups kosher salt

1 cup turbinado sugar

1/4 cup pickling spice

1 1/2 TB pink curing salt

1 TB caraway seeds

1 tsp Tellicherry peppercorns

Place all the ingredients into a large bowl, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Place your brisket into a large pot or resealable plastic bag, then pour the brine over the meat. Be sure the brisket is submerged, cover or seal, and place into the refrigerator.

 

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista

Homemade Corned Beef & The “Ruby” Sandwich

Every year on St. Patrick’s Day my family goes the traditional route and has corned beef and cabbage. Am I Irish? Well, I do have Irish ancestors, but if you look at my picture you know I am not Irish!  But everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, right?

This month’s Charcutepalooza challenge was to brine a meat, and being March the meat was corned beef.  Corned beef is made from beef brisket, which is also delicious smoked or braised. This picture is of a whole brisket, which weighs around 16 pounds.  When you buy a brisket in the supermarket, you will usually get a piece that is about 1/2 the size.  Briskets are traditionally sold as the “first cut” which is the flatter part of the brisket, and the fattier “second cut”.

I cut my brisket in half, and used the first cut portion for corned beef. The second cut is still in the brine, and will be turned into pastrami.  And yes, I will post the recipe for the pastrami too.

I often brine chicken and turkey before roasting, but I had never corned beef.  I checked out a few different recipes, went to the store to get fresh whole spices for my pickling spice, and got to work.  Brining time ranged from 4 days to 4 weeks. I got a late start on my brine, because the first week of March disappeared somehow.  I brined my brisket for a week, which was more than enough time for the flavors to penetrate the meat.

After you take the brisket out of the brine, rinse it well to remove the spices and extra salt. Place your brisket into a large pot, pour in a bottle of ale or stout, the fill the pot with water so it covers the brisket by at least an inch.  Bring the pot to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook the brisket for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is tender.

If you want to have a traditional boiled dinner, remove the corned beef from the liquid, and add potatoes, carrots and cabbage. Cook the vegetable until they are tender, then return the sliced corned beef to the pot.

I decided to do my version of a Reuben Sandwich, which has corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese.  I call mine the Ruby Sandwich after my daughter. It had corned beef, sweet and sour caramelized onions, Horseradish-Caraway Mayonnaise and Swiss cheese. I love a good Reuben, but I think I love the Ruby more!

The make a Ruby Sandwich, slice a fresh roll in half. I used a sourdough roll. Spread both sides of the roll with a good dollop of Horseradish-Caraway Mayonnaise, then place sliced corn beef, some Sweet and Sour Caramelized Onions and a slice of Swiss cheese. Pour yourself a cold beer and enjoy!

Sweet and Sour Caramelized Onions

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 TB butter

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Place the onion, butter, sugar and salt into a small saute pan. Slowly cook the onions over low heat, until lightly browned.  Add the vinegar, and cook another 2-3 minutes until the vinegar is absorbed.  Let cool before using.

Horseradish-Caraway Mayonnaise

3/4 cup mayonnaise

2-3 TB horseradish, depending on how strong you like it

1/4 tsp caraway seeds

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.  Can be made ahead, and stored in the refrigerator.

Pickling Spice

2 TB mustard seeds

2 TB whole allspice

2 tsp coriander seeds

2 tsp whole cloves

1 tsp dried red pepper flakes

1 bay leaf, crumbled

1 cinnamon stick

Mix the spices together and seal in an airtight container to store. This is an all purpose pickling spice mix, and can be used for almost any pickle recipe.

Corned Beef Brine

7-8 cups water (depending on size of brisket)

1 bottle dark ale

1 1/2 cups kosher salt

1 cup turbinado sugar

1/4 cup pickling spice

1 1/2 TB pink curing salt

1 TB caraway seeds

1 tsp Tellicherry peppercorns

Place all the ingredients into a large bowl, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.  Place your brisket into a large pot or resealable plastic bag, then pour the brine over the meat.  Be sure the brisket is submerged, cover or seal, and place into the refrigerator.

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista