Sunday, March 4, 2012

On Corned Beef Adventures

When I was young and my sibling younger, I smuggled some slices of boiled corned beef on a tiny plate with a dollop of ketchup into the bedroom we shared. He had caught the wrath of our parents for a change and had wisely retreated to his bed. As much as I wanted to stay under the radar, I couldn't bear the thought of him being hungry and unhappy. I remember setting his plate onto the steps of the bunk bed then crawling up to my bed. I peered over the edge of the mattress and waited until I saw a little hand pluck a slice of meat off the plate, dab it in the ketchup, and disappear.

Jesus H, blogging is so much cheaper than therapy.

You see, Doctor, the point I am trying to make here is that even with that awful memory rattling around, I still love corned beef.

Good Lord, I love corned beef.

I find corned beef spices attractive. Like, really attractive.
How YOU doin'?
I love it enough to risk $5 of beef to the briney deep in case this doesn't work out. And you know how much I hate losing money I don't have on bad food I can't eat.

But first: math.
According to my infallible calculations, my 1 lb, 1 5/8 ounce brisket would be a 1:3 ratio to America's Test Kitchen's recipe for a 3 1/2 lb brisket. I added up the amounts of their carefully tested and meticulously chosen spices and divided by 3. Then just used that amount of premixed Penzey's Corned Beef spice. And since I wasn't in the mood to divide out 1/2 cup of salt by 3 I used my kitchen scale to convert the 1/2 cup of salt to ounces: 2 7/8 ounces. Then, because I am quite lazy, I rounded up to call it 3 ounces. Willikers, 3 ounces divided by 3? I didn't even need to wash the beef juice off my knuckle to operate my iPhone calculator for that. But only just.

Now, the scary part. Seal it up and let it sit in the coldest part of your fridge--somewhere between the milk and Narnia--and let it be for 5-7 days. Frankly, I almost chickened out at this point, telling myself that I didn't have the proper zip-top bags to seal this up properly. And then discovered I had a quarter of a roll of FoodSaver bags in the machine. Which made me happy and annoyed.
Happoyed. Anappy?

No, I have never used this for sous vide cooking. But I might. If I can be bothered to buy more bags.

As a brilliant food blogger, I am starting this experiment a month too late and posting it as an experiment as we go. But let's be honest: you're not here for the brilliance. Besides, when I cook this next Saturday, you'll still have a whole week to a) find a real recipe to corn your own beef, or b) buy a pre-corned one for St. Patrick's Day.

Either way, as long as there is corned beef in your near future, things are looking up.

(Beer doesn't hurt either.)

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