I like to make my own from scratch and you know, it’s not so difficult? Sure, it takes some patience and specific ingredients, but with pre planning, you will be so happy making a batch for your family to enjoy.
So here’s step by step instructions and I will make and post hash tomorrow.
The most difficult thing that ‘I’ve found about making corned beef is actually buying a brisket. I like to use a fresh one because I believe the flavour of the finished product is far superior and I think freezing destroys some of the vitamins found in fresh meat. The Brisket is actually the muscle that you will find between the animals’ two front legs, or sort of the chest muscle. (Cow, Heifer, Steer, beef.) It’s a tough cut and you just can’t slap it in a pan and expect to get your teeth through it, so most butchers chop it up for stewing beef. Properly cooked though and it has oodles of flavour. I go to a local farmer’s market and they have them there. You will have to ask though, they’re not likely to have them out in the counter.
My recipe calls for about a 4 lb brisket and that is what I have pictured here. My one cup measuring cup is in the pictures so you can gage size. If you think that’s a lot of meat, it is, but I always give some to my friends. (They never turn it down!)
I also never use preservatives in my corned beef. You can do what’s in your heart, but I find I don’t need it, I’m really careful to not contaminate my food and we eat the stuff so fast! There’s lots of recipes on YuTube and Google that give you the amounts of preservatives and what they’re called.
First get your brine going. You can trim your meat while the brine is heating.
In a sauce pan mix:
1,1/2 quarts water (use bottled or something that doesn’t have chlorine in it.)
1 cup Kosher, or pickling salt, (regular salt has iodine and won’t be nice.)
1/2 cup cider vinegar, (Cider keeps the meat pink)
4 tbsp brown sugar (the darker the better)
3 tbsp pickling spice (adjust to your taste, I make my own. Yes... later post)
A couple of bay leaves.
Bring to a boil and stir, stir, stir to dissolve the salt. Take off stove and pour in about 2 cups of ice cubes to cool quicker. Put in frig until cold. (Keeps meat pink.)
Preparing the meat:
Trim as much fat off as you can. The brine won’t penetrate it anyway. The next pic is after trimming. Cut the big piece into two or three smaller ones so they’re easier to handle.
Mix the two together:
Pop trimmed meat in a big good quality zip lock baggie and support in a bowl so it won’t tip over in your frig and leak. Some folks like to just use a plastic container, but for me, the baggie is easier. Pour your cold brine over. Dick sometimes helps for an extra set of juggling hands. Slowly squeeze the baggie’s top until you have the air out and zip it! Kind of massage the bag until you think the meat has been touched by the brine and tuck the bowl away in your frig.
Every day, take the baggie out and massage it some more. ( I usually forget, but they all say to do this, so I’m passing it along...)
Leave it in your frig for seven days.
Take your baggie out of the frig and dump the whole lot into a big pot. I use my Dutch Oven. Pour some more water over to cover. I always throw some more pickling spice in for good measure. Turn the burner on and simmer for 4 hours.
Voila! You have made yourself corned beef!
Now, I let the pot-full just sit out until it’s lukewarm and then pour it all back into another zip lock baggie and put it back in the frig until I want to cook it. Because we work , I’m generally simmering it on Sunday afternoon and making hash the next night. I like to pour the liquid back in because I think it keeps it juicier, but suit your self!
It shrinks quite a bit, so I've taken an after shot with the measuring cup.
Tomorrow... I’m making hash! Yay!