Sunday, March 3, 2013

Holy Shit it's Corned Beef Season

If you are like me, and I believe you are, there is nothing finer than corned beef. Except maybe pastrami. But considering what month we're in I think corned beef is the way to go. And I think you should corn your own beef because it is stupid easy and better than anything you can buy pre-corned.
Seriously. This is all you need. I've got 2 pounds of beef brisket, 1/4 cup kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons of corned beef spices.
Actually, it's only one tablespoon of corned beef spices and one tablespoon of pickling spices because I ran out of corned beef spice and know what? I don't think there's a damn difference. If there is I can't tell.
Now, we salt the living hell out of it. Seriously. A metric shittonne of salt. So much salt, it won't even stick. You'll have to stab the meat with a fork a few times and let it sit a few minutes so some juices escape so you can continue. Remember, we're salting to cure, not to season.
In fact, you will have to be creative when it comes time to apply the spices because they won't want to stick to all that salt. Sprinkle the spices all over, and I like to use the bag it will be living in for the next week to help make them stick to the meat and not to your hands. Just sprinkle down the side and rub the plastic up against the meat.

I swear I'm not trying to be vulgar.

It just comes naturally.
And ideally you have a ziptop bag to store this mess in but when fresh beef was first corned it was to preserve it and they didn't have ziptop bags either. This will leak, eventually, so I'm wrapping it up in cling wrap. Sidenote: If you buy festive red cling wrap for the holidays you will never, ever go through a whole roll before the new year.
See? How nicely wrapped your meaty present is. The next step is to keep pressure on the package while it cures. I have two big casserole dishes that I never use because there are only two people in this house and casseroles on the whole suck butt anyways so I won't miss them during the next 7 days.

Place the meat in the large dish, place the small dish on top, fill the small dish with some heavy condiments and keep everything perfectly straight and level. 

Perfectly straight and level.

Now, we wait. Let this cure for one week. If you can be bothered, turn it daily. If not, whatever. It will still be awesome. This is a good Sunday activity because it takes 5 minutes to prepare, you can do it drunk on brunch mimosas or your 9 AM Guinness, and next Sunday's dinner is not only figured out, but ready to dump in a crock pot and ignore for 8 hours.

See you next weekend. *hic*


  1. Oh, I love corned beef. Not as much as Montreal Smoked Meat, but a close second for sure. My problem is that I've never seen a brisket for sale that wasn't already cured. I have never actually looked, mind you, but nothing has ever jumped out at me, so it doesn't exist. If I do find one, I am totally trying this.

    Boo on the captcha!

    1. You've never found a brisket that's not precured? Wow...that stinks. I live in the middle of nowhere and can usually find them weekly for for Sunday pot roast. What is Montreal smoked meat?

  2. This post really makes me wish I liked corned beef more, honestly. It sounds super easy, and curing your own meat at home is definitely exciting. Plus, MEATY PRESENTS. :) Maybe I'm just not that into it because the store-bought stuff is crap?

    1. I'm too much of a corned beef junkie to turn down the store bought stuff but homemade definitely has a better texture. It's firmer, less rubbery and never slimy. And if you buy separate spices to make your own mix (America's Test Kitchen has a good recipe broken down) you can leave out whatever you don't like. I hope you try it; I bought a regular 4 lb brisket and braised half as regular pot roast and corned the rest, so you don't have to make a big commitment. Then be sure and crock pot it for like 8 hours. If you skimp on time it'll be too chewy :)

  3. I have totally been wanting to do this...i do believe i'm going to have to go find a brisket now! You make it look so easy, AND have such stylish cling wrap!

    1. Hooray! It is seriously easy, all you have to do is salt profusely and wait. And I think I'll be enjoying my stylish cling wrap through next Christmas.


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