Thursday, March 10, 2011

Corned Beef

Will and I caught an episode of Alton Brown's show on Food Network around this time last year.  He was making his own corned beef.  We decided that the next (this) St. Patrick's Day would be a great chance to try making our own corned beef.  Well, yesterday I made the brine and trimmed the massive 8.5 lb brisket we bought from the commissary.  It's insanely easy.  The biggest issue for us was the fact that our commissary isn't very well stocked with herbs and spices, so we had to go looking at the German store, Real.  We love Real, but spices have VERY different names in German than they do in English.  We spent a good twenty minutes in the spice aisle before we left with the correct spices. 

We're celebrating St. Patrick's Day a couple of days after the 17th because I'm going in for another sleep study on the actual holiday.  The beef needs to sit in the brine for 10 days.  I'll be posting a follow-up once it's done in the brine and it's been cooked and served.  It's a five star recipe on Food Network and it has 57 reviews.  Pretty impressive, Alton ;) 


  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons saltpeter  *We used Morton's Meat Tenderizer*
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 8 whole allspice berries
  • 12 whole juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 pounds ice
  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) beef brisket, trimmed *In my case, 8.5lbs, so I did 1.5 of everything in the recipe*
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped


Place the water into a large 6 to 8 quart stockpot along with salt, sugar, saltpeter, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, juniper berries, bay leaves and ginger. Cook over high heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the ice. Stir until the ice has melted. If necessary, place the brine into the refrigerator until it reaches a temperature of 45 degrees F. Once it has cooled, place the brisket in a 2-gallon zip top bag and add the brine. Seal and lay flat inside a container *I had to use a rubbermaid container and use a smaller container to weigh down the meat because it wouldn't fit in any ziplock bag*, cover and place in the refrigerator for 10 days. Check daily to make sure the beef is completely submerged and stir the brine.
After 10 days, remove from the brine and rinse well under cool water. Place the brisket into a pot just large enough to hold the meat, add the onion, carrot and celery and cover with water by 1-inch. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender. Remove from the pot and thinly slice across the grain.

*My notes in asterisks

Side Note:

Will brought these home for me yesterday :)  Such a sweet thing to do.  I am spoiled.

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