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Tropicalsenior

Homemade Corned Beef and a plea for help

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At Groundhog's Day each year I start hunting for a good piece of meat to make corned beef for Saint Patrick's Day. I found the perfect piece yesterday and I have the perfect recipe (I found it 20 years ago on Food Network).

I'm all set except that I have a small problem. My recipe calls for saltpeter and my supply is running low. I'm all set for now  but saltpeter is impossible to find in Costa Rica. I usually have my grandson bring some when he comes but he almost always has a panic attack when he does it. I just can't imagine why he gets so nervous just bringing a little white bag of powder through customs. However, I can buy curing salt here. I've been on Google trying to find a pundit  who can give me an amount substitution for curing salt and saltpeter. They all said that it can be done but no one seems to have a clear idea of how much to use and by how much I need to adjust the salt in the recipe. Because we have some real experts among our members I'm hoping someone can give me an idea about how to do this. Please, I need your help.

Homemade Corned Beef

I started my Saint Patrick's dinner yesterday. I used a homemade corned beef recipe that I have had a lot of success with. Corned beef is totally unheard of in Costa Rica so it is homemade or nothing. I love it so much that I make it at least two or three times a year.

My biggest problem has been finding the meat that I need. The only type of cattle raised here are a big Brahma cross and they are all pasture-raised. The meat is lean and stringy and they always cut the brisket into small strips to be used for soup. To get a brisket you have to go to a slaughterhouse and buy the full brisket. Recently, I found a cut of meat that is not sold in the supermarkets or in the 'boutique butcher' shops. It is considered peasant food and it is wonderful. It is called giba (HEE-bah) and it is the hump of the Brahma bull. It's nice and marbled and very tender. They only sell it in the small local butcher shops and usually they have to order it for you.
My two pound piece of meat ready to go.
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In the brine.

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Two weeks to go but it's going to be worth it.

If anyone would like the recipe, I will post it on Recipe Gullet.

Update: The recipe is here.


Edited by Tropicalsenior addition (log)
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I can understand your grandson's lack of enthusiasm in bringing a bag of white powder through customs. Because it is also a component in gun powder, even if they knew for sure what it was, it would still be a little dicey. I have been using Morton Tender Quick to make corned beef for years, with great success. I think that if you, or your grandson could get your hands on some of that, there would be much less concern at customs. It's worth a try.

HC

IMG_2086.thumb.JPG.82671614ae427c997ac9f60c5b1e3a71.JPG

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@HungryChris Thank you. I'm going to post my recipe in Recipe Gullet. I do have some Tender Quick. Do you have any idea what proportions of change I should make in my recipe?

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3 minutes ago, Tropicalsenior said:

@HungryChris Thank you. I'm going to post my recipe in Recipe Gullet. I do have some Tender Quick. Do you have any idea what proportions of change I should make in my recipe?

 

 

The answer to any question about sharing recipes is always YES. 

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When I use it, I make the brine. One and a half cups of TQ and 6 cups of water, simple as that. I inject the meat with the solution and brine for at least 2 weeks.

HC

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8 minutes ago, demiglace said:

 

The answer to any question about sharing recipes is always YES. 

Just posted the recipe.

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33 minutes ago, HungryChris said:

When I use it, I make the brine. One and a half cups of TQ and 6 cups of water, simple as that. I inject the meat with the solution and brine for at least 2 weeks.

HC

Thank you. Does Tender Quick give the meat that nice pink color?

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6 minutes ago, Tropicalsenior said:

Thank you. Does Tender Quick give the meat that nice pink color?

Yes, it does. Saltpeter is part of the mixture.

HC

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2 hours ago, Tropicalsenior said:

However, I can buy curing salt here.

 

What exactly is it?

Percent nitrite/nitrate?

 

 

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3 minutes ago, DiggingDogFarm said:

Percent nitrite

 

3 minutes ago, DiggingDogFarm said:

Percent nitrite/nitrate?

Only one person has been able to tell me percentage. As for nitrite/nitrate, he had no idea. He just said it was 6%. So I bought it from him. he's a little man in our Central Market that sells spice in bulk. I have used it to make ham and it worked perfectly.

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It'll work, the issue is that if the concentration is too high there can be health repercussions. 

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20 minutes ago, chromedome said:

It'll work, the issue is that if the concentration is too high there can be health repercussions. 

Thank you. I am aware of that, hence my questioning of the purveyors. This is obviously not a commercial product and here they seem to think that if a little is good, a lot is going to be a lot better. I did inherit some pure nitrite from a friend who made his own sausage but I hesitate to use it. I have read the 6 ounces of nitrate to 1 lb of salt is an adequate proportion but that only comes out to 4% solution. I've also read that it should be only six parts to 100. That is a 1% solution. Also, the only salt that I can get here without iodine is a very coarse kosher salt that I would have to grind before I could use it, and I'm not sure that my kitchen scale is accurate enough for safety. I have a good one but when it comes to this, I just don't want to take chances.

I'm confused, The internet at times can be so frustrating. Everyone's an expert and no one seems to know anything. that's why I knew I could trust the people here.


Edited by Tropicalsenior addition (log)

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I use coarse salt for brines, I just dissolve it in warmed water and then chill it before I add the meat. Of course, in my neck of the woods that just means putting the bucket out on my back step (yesterday the wind chill was -29C). :)

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@chromedomeI do use coarse salt in my brining, in fact it's the only thing I use. I was just worried about mixing it with a nitrite powder. When we first moved down here, I was delighted to find a coarse salt in a package in the grocery store. I came home and set up a batch of dill pickles, which we couldn't get down here either. Within 2 days I had the most vile mess that you've ever smelled. I read the label on the package that I had bought and it was called Sal Inglaterra (English salt). When I was finally smart enough to read the dictionary I found out that I had bought Epsom salts. Not recommended for dill pickles!

BYT, it is supposed to reach 85 degrees here this afternoon.


Edited by Tropicalsenior addition (log)
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6 minutes ago, Tropicalsenior said:

@chromedomeI do use coarse salt in my brining, in fact it's the only thing I use. I was just worried about mixing it with a nitrite powder. When we first moved down here, I was delighted to find a coarse salt in a package in the grocery store. I came home and set up a batch of dill pickles, which we couldn't get down here either. Within 2 days I had the most vile mess that you've ever smelled. I read the label on the package that I had bought and it was called Sal Inglaterra (English salt). When I was finally smart enough to read the dictionary I found out that I had bought Epsom salts. Not recommended for dill pickles!

BYT, it is supposed to reach 85 degrees here this afternoon.

 

LOL Rather you than me. That's about 10F higher than my personal comfort level. Right here along the Bay of Fundy, I get that a couple of times per summer. 

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8 minutes ago, chromedome said:

That's about 10F higher than my personal comfort level

 I live in a nice solid concrete house so it's about 10 degrees cooler inside. Never need air conditioning and there's no such thing as a furnace in this country. There are times that I envy you your cool weather, though, because there's no way that I could ever cure dry sausage or hang anything to dry cure or dry age. And I do miss the winter fruits. They all have to be imported and I might as well be buying gold. Other than that, for me, snow is a four letter word.


Edited by Tropicalsenior Editing correction (log)

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Here is a calculator by Dr Greg Blonder on making a brine with prague powder #1. http://www.genuineideas.com/ArticlesIndex/nitritecuringcalculator.html Prague powder is 6.25% sodium nitrite and  93.75% sodium chloride with usually some red food coloring so it has a pink color (so you don't confuse it with table salt, not to make the meat red).  Prague powder is easily ordered on line and it's also known as pink curing salt, but it is not the same as Tender Quick.


Edited by mgaretz corrected sodium nitrate to sodium nitrite (log)
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1 minute ago, mgaretz said:

Here is a calculator by Dr Greg Blonder on making a brine with prague powder #1. http://www.genuineideas.com/ArticlesIndex/nitritecuringcalculator.html Prague powder is 6.25% sodium nitrate and  93.75% sodium chloride with usually some red food coloring so it has a pink color (so you don't confuse it with table salt, not to make the meat red).  Prague powder is easily ordered on line and it's also known as pink curing salt, but it is not the same as Tender Quick.

 

This is the stuff I use. But as part of a rub rather than a brine. Why a rub? stronger flavor with less spice use and easier to fit in the fridge

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33 minutes ago, mgaretz said:

Here is a calculator by Dr Greg Blonder on making a brine with prague powder #1. http://www.genuineideas.com/ArticlesIndex/nitritecuringcalculator.html Prague powder is 6.25% sodium nitrate and  93.75% sodium chloride with usually some red food coloring so it has a pink color (so you don't confuse it with table salt, not to make the meat red).  Prague powder is easily ordered on line and it's also known as pink curing salt, but it is not the same as Tender Quick.

Thank you. This is exactly the type of information that I have been looking for. I am going to be reading all the information that they have to offer. I do make all my own hams. And this is going to help me a lot.

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35 minutes ago, gfweb said:

 

This is the stuff I use. But as part of a rub rather than a brine. Why a rub? stronger flavor with less spice use and easier to fit in the fridge

@gfwebIs it possible to make corned beef with a dry rub?

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39 minutes ago, Tropicalsenior said:

@gfwebIs it possible to make corned beef with a dry rub?

 

I do it all the time. Haven't soaked it in years.

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