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richw

Corned Beef At Home: Recipes, Tips, etc.

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We have found that adding the Guinness beer makes a huge difference! We discovered that trick a few years ago and have been using it ever since. It gives the meat much more flavor and makes it very tender. You certainly don't get a beer taste from it when the cooking is done so you can do it even if you don't like beer.


I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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Well it's that time again. Prepared corned beefs for sale in the supermarket. I often will smoke one using pastrami spices to make my own pastrami. I look carefully at the sodium content between brands. They can vary a lot. Some can have over 1600mg/4oz and others 600mg/4oz. That makes a big difference in how long you need to soak them to leach out the salt. When cooking a corned beef in liquid as it's intended, a lot of the salt is leached out during the long cooking process but if you are doing a short cook in a pressure cooker I would think that this would be a big detail to watch for.

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Bumping this thread up -- I'm about to take the plunge and corn my very first brisket, mostly because I'm jonesing for a good Reuben and some corned beef hash. I'm wondering, what other things are out there to make with corned beef? I'm not a fan of cooked cabbage, so about one meal of that should do me; one can only eat so many Reubens and hash-n-eggs. I know I can do meat pies, and that's a good potential. Other suggestions?


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I tried making corned beef for the first time and did not have good results. I used Alton Brown's recipe. The only change I made was my brisket was in the 3lb range. Is 10 days too long to cure it? After I cooked it is was very dry. It texture was more like jerky than tender corned beef. Any hints on what to do next time?

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/corned-beef-recipe/index.html

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First the quality of your brisket greatly influences the final product. even though briskets are not usually sold graded, i have used them from Select to Waygu grade and I can tell you that there are some select briskets that are just plain tough. Try to find a source such as Sam's Club that has good brisket from Choice or better animals.

Second, 10 days is likely not enough and I typically cure for about 3 weeks. I also use Saltpeter for color preservation but the lack of usage will not affect the quality.

Brisket needs to be cooked in liquid long and slow, at least 6 hours until you can visibly observe the fibers of meat starting to come apart. Good luck on your next try!-Dick

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It looks like the brining time is a little long. I follow the recipe of Polcyn and Ruhlman in their Charcuterie book and so far I haven't had any misses so far. I am sure the quality of the brisket matters but even an inexpensive cut will do. The recipe brines the brisket incorporating the herbs in the brine and uses some pink salt instead of saltpeter. Meat should be completely submerged and cooked for about 4-6 hours under very low fire with the liquid hardly bubbling. After the 3rd of 4th hour stick a fork into the meat and if you can twist the fork with little effort with the meat going apart, then it's done. the thing is you have to check and make sure that the brisket is always completely submerged in water, adding throughout the process as necessary. here's the topic list:

http://egullet.org/charcuterieindex


I'm a plant-rights activist... I only eat meat!

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I do it with a dry cure following the proportions in Julia Child's recipe from The Way to Cook. Add several cloves of garlic for Jewish style corned beef. I've done it both with and without pink salt. I usually cure at least two weeks, but if it let it stay for four weeks, it will keep for months, which I've done, and it doesn't change much after four weeks. If I know that I'm not planning to cook it for a long time (usually because I've bought a large amount of beef as part of a cooperative beef purchase, and making a corned beef saves some freezer space), I tend to use the pink salt.

If you do let it cure more than four weeks, you need to let it soak overnight or even for two days to de-salt it.

Then I usually simmer it until a fork slides in and out of the meat easily, but recently I made a pastrami by coating it with pepper and coriander and hot smoking it on the stovetop in a wok, and it was excellent. It took about three hours smoking with no additional cooking.

Brisket is a cut that shrinks a lot. I wouldn't bother with a brisket smaller than 4-5 lbs. That's usually the whole flat end or the "first cut" as it's sometimes called. The second cut is much fattier, but pastrami made from the second cut fries up nicely like bacon.

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In my opinion there is no reason to make your own corned beef as long as Fray Bentos are in business.

Quite apart from the fact that the product is quite delicious, there is the added foodie challenge of not severing a major artery when opening the tin.

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Thanks for the help guys. It sounds like I didn't cook it long enough (2-1/2 hours) and had it going in a nice steady simmer. I'll try cooking it in a low oven next time.

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I recently made pastrami with a similar, jerky-like texture. I am 95% certain that the culprit was not a too brief smoke (in the case of pastrami), but a too lean brisket. The briskets I have braised in the past -- for the same three or so hours as the Alton Brown recipe -- have consistently been tender. Lean briskets are the devil. :hmmm:

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Perhaps I should try a different cut? Ruhlman has praised corned beef short ribs.

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I bought some uncooked corned beef brisket at the supermarket yesterday and cooked it according to instructions. Absolutely vile fatty junkmeat. Barely even fit for hash.

So I want to corn my own. From what I read there are a lot of variables...

Saltpeter or not? I can't imagine brown corned beef but some recipes eliminate it.

What cut? Brisket is traditional, but is such an iffy cut in my experience. At least the stuff my local market has is iffy. How about london broil or chuck or round. Boars Head uses top round in some products.

After curing must it be boiled/simmered or can it be baked at higher temp than 212 F with spices rubbed in? That might be too salty, so could one soak it for a couple hours and then bake?


Edited by gfweb (log)

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Just in the process of making salt beef (corned beef) for the very first time - inspired by this article in The Guardian.

I have a 1.7 Kg of rolled brisket that has been in a cure for the last 5 days. I am planning on cooking it on the stove for between 2.5 to 4 hrs tomorrow.

The total curing time I am using is about half the time specified in the Guardian recipe, but seems sufficient from comments upthread and in other salt beef recipes. Is there were a rule-of-thumb that specifies curing time required for each Kg of beef?

Will post how it turned out.

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My first batch of corned beef (top round) tasted and looked right, but was so lean that it was too dry. Perhaps it was over-simmered as well.

I may sous vide the next batch.

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I did a (pre-corned, Wegmans brand) brisket sous vide last weekend - about 16 hours at 175 degrees. Wonderfully tender, as moist as corned beef is likely to be, and absolutely delicious.


Patty

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New batch of corned beef is just out of the sv and is vastly better than its simmered cousin. I did 60 degrees for 48 hours on a top round that had been cured for a week. It is tender and moist and flavorful. Thick slices can still be bitten through easily. I am really happy with this.

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I make my corned beef in the slow cooker. I start with commercial corned beef (usually Shenson's). The night before, open the package and remove and set the spice packet aside. Rinse all the goo off the meat, then I trim as much fat as I can from it. Next it goes into the pot with clear cold water and into the fridge for an overnight soak. This reduces the saltiness. In the morning pour off all the water and remove the beef. Sprinkle the spice packet contents on the bottom of the pot then put the beef back in, trapping most of the spice underneath. If I want carrots and/or potatoes with the corned beef these go in now and then fill the pot with cool water to just above the beef. Cook on low for 8 hours. For the last hour of the 8 I add in the cabbage. If the beef is good quality to start with, this method never fails to please.


Mark

My eG Food Blog

www.markiscooking.com

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I make my corned beef in the slow cooker. I start with commercial corned beef (usually Shenson's). The night before, open the package and remove and set the spice packet aside. Rinse all the goo off the meat, then I trim as much fat as I can from it. Next it goes into the pot with clear cold water and into the fridge for an overnight soak. This reduces the saltiness. In the morning pour off all the water and remove the beef. Sprinkle the spice packet contents on the bottom of the pot then put the beef back in, trapping most of the spice underneath. If I want carrots and/or potatoes with the corned beef these go in now and then fill the pot with cool water to just above the beef. Cook on low for 8 hours. For the last hour of the 8 I add in the cabbage. If the beef is good quality to start with, this method never fails to please.

wonder what your altitude is? recipe sounds really good,but water boils here at 202deg,so would have to make appropriate changes in times...

Bud

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I make my corned beef in the slow cooker. I start with commercial corned beef (usually Shenson's). The night before, open the package and remove and set the spice packet aside. Rinse all the goo off the meat, then I trim as much fat as I can from it. Next it goes into the pot with clear cold water and into the fridge for an overnight soak. This reduces the saltiness. In the morning pour off all the water and remove the beef. Sprinkle the spice packet contents on the bottom of the pot then put the beef back in, trapping most of the spice underneath. If I want carrots and/or potatoes with the corned beef these go in now and then fill the pot with cool water to just above the beef. Cook on low for 8 hours. For the last hour of the 8 I add in the cabbage. If the beef is good quality to start with, this method never fails to please.

wonder what your altitude is? recipe sounds really good,but water boils here at 202deg,so would have to make appropriate changes in times...

Bud

We're a couple of hundred feet above sea level.


Mark

My eG Food Blog

www.markiscooking.com

My T shirt site: Guy Bling

My NEW Ribs site: BlasphemyRibs.com

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I make my corned beef in the slow cooker. I start with commercial corned beef (usually Shenson's). The night before, open the package and remove and set the spice packet aside. Rinse all the goo off the meat, then I trim as much fat as I can from it. Next it goes into the pot with clear cold water and into the fridge for an overnight soak. This reduces the saltiness. In the morning pour off all the water and remove the beef. Sprinkle the spice packet contents on the bottom of the pot then put the beef back in, trapping most of the spice underneath. If I want carrots and/or potatoes with the corned beef these go in now and then fill the pot with cool water to just above the beef. Cook on low for 8 hours. For the last hour of the 8 I add in the cabbage. If the beef is good quality to start with, this method never fails to please.

wonder what your altitude is? recipe sounds really good,but water boils here at 202deg,so would have to make appropriate changes in times...

Bud

We're a couple of hundred feet above sea level.

OK that will make a substantial time increase,right now I do it in the pressure cooker for an hour...

Thanks, Bud

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I'm testing out some short rib corned beef based on the recipe on ruhlman's website. I'm wondering if the amount of prague powder in the brine depends on the amount of water in the brine or the amount meat? The recipe says 4tsp pink salt, 1 gallon water, and 5 lbs meat. I used 1/2 gallon water, 2tsp prague powder, but not much meat. Maybe 1lb or less. Think it'll be ok? I plan to sous vide it after 5 days in the brine. Still deciding between 80C for 10 hours or 56-57C for 48.

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If you assume that the meat reaches equilibrium* with the brine, then you would base your prague powder (and salt, for that matter) quantity based on the total sum of water plus meat. The easy way to do this is to scale everything by the weight of the meat. Ruhlman's recipe is for 5lbs of brisket. So if you have 2.5lbs of boneless shortribs, make half the amount of brine (maintaining the right ratios of water to salt, prague powder, etc) and you should be good.

By cutting the amount of meat to less than 1 lb, you're going to slightly increase the amount of salt and nitrate in the meat, but not by much. A half a gallon of water is 4 lbs. The expected 2.5lbs of meat contributes about 75% of its weight in water, so there's a total of about 5.9lbs of water in the recipe as Ruhlman writes it. By cutting the meat to 1lb, you're only contributing 0.75lb of water to the system, for a total of 4.75lbs. The result is that you're increasing the effective concentration of salt and nitrate in the final product by almost 25%. Since you're cooking the meat sous vide, there won't be a big pot of boiling water to remove some of the salt during cooking, so you might wind up with something that's saltier than expected.

This is all theoretical though. Someone's probably tried it and can report on their results.

*Of course, assuming equilibrium is a big assumption. But without more data to go on, it's hard to figure out how close to equilibrium we get.

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Thanks for the info. I did a 5% brine for the salt/water ratio (not counting the prague powder) which ruhlman advises if you aren't going to boil the meat (10% brine otherwise). I'll double check the weight of the meat tonight and maybe add some more water. I put the meat in the brine about 12 hours ago.


Edited by rob1234 (log)

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I'm not sure I ever ate corned beef warm/fresh before, but reading this thread made me curious. I happened to walk by a display of uncured (scam!) ready to cook corned beef at Trader Joes and got me one, made it last weekend. Without having any reference, it turned out great! Interesting to note, all the spice were in the brine, not in a package. They had permeated the entire piece of meat with a great spiced flavor. I cooked it in the slow cooker on high for 5 hours, could probably have gone a bit shorter. It was falling apart tender, wonderful rosy like a rare steak. Now I'm really tempted to make this again myself! Instructions said nothing about removing foam. The foam looked pretty icky, but once I tried to skim it off I noticed that I'm removing all of the floating spices, so I just left it, figured I won't use the liquid for anything anyway. And it all sank to the bottom! Meat came out nice and clean.

I'd even buy this package again, even if it's not authentic, it tasted really good. And maybe it is authentic, I have no reference and can't just travel across the country to try the NY benchmarks. Nor do I know of a Jewish deli where I'm at.

We got 3 meals out of this meat, two dinner, one lunch. Not bad!


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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