Homestead Life Without the Homestead: Corn Your Own Corned Beef

by Susan Berry.

I went on a search last year for a “grey” corned beef like my mother used to get. I never really knew why she preferred grey corned beef but all I knew was I couldn’t find one. All I could find were red brisket in cryovac packs with a packet of spices in it. I tried one of those and well let’s just say THEN I knew why my mother always insisted on grey corned beef. I still did not understand what made them grey but I knew I needed to find one or there would be no corned beef and cabbage dinner for St Patrick’s Day. Being half Irish that was NOT an option. The other thing I discovered about the cryovac briskets is they are loaded with preservatives and chemicals. Well, being an organic farmer, that also was not an option.

I knew that to cure a ham took months, so as I sat down with my laptop to Google how to make a corned beef I was pleasantly surprised to discover this is not the case with corning beef.

After reading a few articles on the procedure and getting an idea of a curing brine recipe I set out to create an ideal corned beef. If you have never corned your own beef brisket you have no idea what you are missing. It is incredible!

brisket

Corned Beef Recipe

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups kosher salt*
½ cup sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons pickling spice
1 5-pound beef brisket*

Directions:

In a pot large enough to hold brisket, combine one gallon of water with kosher salt, sugar, garlic and 2 tablespoons pickling spice. Bring to a simmer, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.

brisketbrine

Place brisket in brine, weighted with a plate to keep it submerged; cover. Refrigerate for 5 days.

After day five I removed the cover from the pot and lifted the plate off. The aroma of the brine was so yummy, I could have drank it. As I lifted the brisket out…VOILA!! It was GREY!  Now I knew what made it grey.

Next……

Remove brisket from brine and rinse thoroughly. Place in a pot just large enough to hold it and vegetables that will be added later. Cover with water and add remaining pickling spice.  Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer gently until brisket is fork-tender, about 3 hours, adding water if needed to cover brisket.. After first 2 hours add potatoes, carrots and cabbage and cook with vegetables for last hour or until veggies are cooked.

I hope you will try this and enjoy homemade, preservative free corned beef.

* I was not able to get one brisket that was five pounds so I got two smaller ones that equaled five pounds, roughly.

Susan Berry is a Horticulturist/ Farmer and Homesteader.  She and her husband Don live on a ¼ acre aptly named Itzy Bitzy Farm with their two dogs and twelve hens. Susan raises organically grown heirloom asparagus crowns till established at three years old and raspberry plants to sell to home gardeners.  You can follow Itzy Bitzy Farm’s blog by signing up at www.itzybitzyfarm.com

 

About eSS&SC

The South Shore and South Coast has been home to hunting, gathering, fishing, farming––and great eating––for over 10,000 years. We are committed to identifying, devouring, and sharing all that Southeastern Massachusetts has to offer today and preserving local options for future generations.
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2 Responses to Homestead Life Without the Homestead: Corn Your Own Corned Beef

  1. Nicole says:

    wonderful article. I’m going to try this!

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