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The Weekend Chef

Homemade Corned Beef, a Paddy's Day treat!

Posted 4:15pm on Thursday, Apr. 12, 2012

Is it already March? That means Saint Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. Time for me to wear some green and corn me a brisket.

Corning your own brisket is easy to do and taste way better than store bought corned beef. You just have to plan ahead, it takes at around 7 days for the brisket to cure into corned beef.

But first things first, you need to pick a nice tender brisket, preferably from the left side of the cow… What!? Don’t know how to pick a brisket, or which side it comes from? No problem, check out my earlier post here that explains my brisket picking process. Of course this is for picking a whole brisket, which is kind of large for a corned beef. I just cut the whole brisket up into 3 pieces and make 3 corned beefs. Once cured the corned beef can keep for 6 weeks in the refrigerator.

If you don’t want to mess with a whole brisket, then just buy a 3 to 5 pound store cut brisket.

Next we need a meat cure, this will give the brisket that red coloring similar to ham and bacon, which are also cured. The easiest one to use is Morton’s Tender Quick. Kroger’s carries it in the spice isle.

We also need some pickling spices. I like Penzeys Spices Corned Beef Spices mix. There is a Penzeys Spices store in Arlington in the Highlands shopping center. Central Market also carries pickling spices in the bulk area, or you can find it in most supermarkets in the spice isle.

I also use a little brown sugar and some garlic powder, but the Tender Quick and the pickling spices is really all you need. So let’s get started.

Dry Cured Corned beef

  • 8 to 12 pound Brisket cut into 3 to 5 pound pieces
  • Or 1 store cut 3 to 5 pound brisket
  • Large resealable plastic bags or vacuum seal bags

Per 1 pound of Brisket

  • 1 tablespoon Morton Tender Quick® curing salt (my local Kroger carries it)
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spices
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Rinse brisket with water and pat dry with paper towels.

Trim fat from brisket, leaving an 1/8 inch of the fat cap.

If using a whole brisket, cut into 3 to 5 pound sections and fix each section as a separate brisket. I had a 9 pound brisket that I cut into (3) 3 pound briskets. Mix Tender Quick, brown sugar and garlic powder to make the cure rub. Be sure to mix in small batches for each brisket if fixing more than one. For a 3 pound brisket that would be 3 tablespoons of Tender Quick, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder.

Take a large fork and punch holes into both sides of the brisket.

Take half of cure mixture and rub it into one side of the brisket.

Turn brisket over rub the rest of the cure mixture in.

Rub sides of brisket with any leftover cure that came off the top and bottom.

Now coat brisket with pickling spices, pressing them in until they stick to the sides. Seal brisket into vacuum-sealed bag or a large resealable plastic bag with all the air forced out.

Place bag with brisket into a pan (in case the bag leaks) and place in refrigerator and let cure for 7 days, flipping the bag once a day. If brisket is the thick point end, give it an extra 5 to 7 days of cure time. As long as you keep the bag sealed the corned beef should keep for 6 weeks, just keep flipping the bag.

When ready to cook, remove beef from bag and rinse salt and spices off under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels and you are all set to use with your favorite corn beef recipe. I’ll post my corned beef and cabbage recipe next week after I open one of these babies up.

Be sure to check out the slideshow above for step-by-step pictures.

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