The Challenge: To make homemade corned beef.
My Inspiration: I was watching America’s Test Kitchen a few weeks ago and the featured recipe was homemade corned beef. The hosts claimed that the flavor they were able to achieve by doing a home-corned beef brisket was second to none. I loved corned beef, but I always buy the pre-packaged, pre-brined, super salty, bright pink brisket whenever it’s on sale in March. I had never considered corning my own beef, but their promise that it would taste even better than the store-bought kind intrigued me! With St. Patrick’s day right around the corner, I figured that this week was as good as any to try a home-corned beef!
Of course, I accidentally deleted the episode off my DVR so I couldn’t use the ATK recipe. I’m too cheap to pay to register for their website, so I had to find my recipe idea elsewhere. Like always, I didn’t follow any particular recipe. I read a whole bunch of recipes and came up with my own. I know this is pretty risky.. but this blog has destroyed any risk-averse tendencies I may have had.
What I Need:
Specifics for the Brine (I had a 3.4 lb Brisket):
- 1 cup Kosher Salt
- 1/4 c Brown Sugar
- 2.25 tbs Pickling Spice
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 1/2 Gallon Distilled Water
Who is Helping Me: Various blogs and recipe sites that gave me a general idea for ratios of ingredients.
Who is NOT Helping Me: “Pink salt”. Many recipes call for “Pink Salt” to be added to the mix. Pink salt is another way to say “Sodium Nitrate” and it’s the chemical compound that gives corned beef its pinkish hue and technically makes meats “cured”. I couldn’t find pink salt at Walmart and many recipes said it was an optional add-in… so I skipped it. Everything I read said that the corned beef will still taste good, it will just look a little gray-ish.
How I Did It:
- I added 1/2 Gallon of Distilled Water, 1 cup Kosher salt, 2.25 Tbs of Pickling Spice, 1 Cinnamon Stick, 1/4 cup Brown Sugar to a large pot and brought the mix to a boil.
- Once the mix reached a boil and all the salt and sugar was dissolved, I turned off the heat and let the brine cool to room temperature.
- I trimmed excess fat off of the brisket and placed it into an airtight container.
- I poured the brine over the brisket and then placed a plate on top to make sure the brisket stayed submerged. I placed the lid on the container and put it in the fridge.
- I checked on it today (Day 1- 24 hours later) and flipped the brisket over.
- I flipped the brisket every day until day 5
- On day 5, I rinsed the brisket and placed in in a slow cooker, covered it with water and added a tablespoon of pickling spice. I let the roast slow cook for 8 hours. Final Thoughts: Yes, it looks grayish-brown and not florescent pink, but I didn’t mind. I shredded up this beauty and made Reuben sandwiches for the hubs and I. I was praying I’d go into labor soon after because I could not imagine a better meal to finish 9 months of eating for 2. It was perfect! The flavor was excellent and it was not at all too salty as I had feared. I honestly think I will never buy another pre-brined, store-bought corned beef roast again!