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Salt (corned) beef - where am I going wrong?


&roid
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Hi,

This is my first post on here so looking forward to hearing people's thoughts on this problem.

I've been making salt beef (or corned beef depending on which side of the atlantic you live) to take back to the family for Christmas for the last few years and have seen a steady progression and improvement. Unfortunately, it's still not quite how I'd like it, I've done a good bit of searching but I'm still not sure what I should try next.

The problem I have is that although the taste was the best I've managed the texture was still a bit on the tough/dry side.

Here's what I did so feel free to suggest anything I might try next time:

brined in an 80:20 solution of water:prontocure (pre-made mix of nitrate, nitrite and normal salt) equal to half the weight of the 6.5lb brisket. I left the meat in for 7 days which was slightly too short a time (tiny area of grey meat in the very centre after cooking). I then rinsed the joint thoroughly in cold water and put it in a large stockpot with plenty of cold water, a couple of onions, some celery, carrot, cloves, juniper berries and put it on a very low heat, this took about 4-5hrs to get the water upto 65C, I then did another couple of hours at a slightly higher flame which brought the water upto about 75-80C. The internal temp of the meat was mid 70sC so I took it off the heat and cooled it in the brine before vac packing and taking it down for the holidays. It was very tasty but also very firm and needed to be sliced wafer thin to not be too chewy.

Sorry for the long ramble but any thoughts?

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Only thing I wonder about is whether the cut you are using has enough fat. The times I've made corned beef and been disappointed in past have been when the meat is so well trimmed that it lacks the fat that moistens the meat.

And by the way - welcome &droid. Great moniker!

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Hi Kerry,

you may have something there, certainly this was the leanest of all the pieces I have tried.  What sort of time/temperature combinations do you use?

Been quite a while since I last corned any beef - so I don't know that I'd be able to track down times or temperatures. Just know that lean has disappointed me in the past and fatty has been much better.

I'm willing to bet the last time I made this I probably used saltpeter - so I'm thinking it might be more than 20 years ago.

Edited by Kerry Beal (log)
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You need to start with a cut of beef equivalent to USDA choice or better with the fat cap left on. I don't know what that equates to in the UK.

I use simple canning salt, spices and saltpeter and usually corn for at least 3 weeks, followed by slow simmer for about 3-4 hours. I suspect its your beef.

Don't fall for the thinking that long slow cooking can make any cut/grade of beef tender because it just won't. I have made briskets from Waygu animals also which resulted in very nice results. I susally corn at least two whole briskets and smoke at least 6 per year on the 'Q.-Dick

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You need to start with a cut of beef equivalent to USDA choice or better with the fat cap left on. I don't know what that equates to in the UK.

I use simple canning salt, spices and saltpeter and usually corn for at least 3 weeks, followed by slow simmer for about 3-4 hours. I suspect its your beef.

Don't fall for the thinking that long slow cooking can make any cut/grade of beef tender because it just won't. I have made briskets from Waygu animals also which resulted in very nice results. I susally corn at least two whole briskets and smoke at least 6 per year on the 'Q.-Dick

Hi, I think the cut may have had too much fat trimmed off it and this affected the end result but the quality of the meat was beyond doubt - local artisan butcher that we have a really good relationship with and have always had outstanding meat from.

I would try getting the internal temp to 185-190f (85-90c) slowly - this has produced the best corned beef for me!

Interesting, I'll give this a go next time and see if I can produce better results.

thanks for all the input guys :)

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“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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