corned beef

From Brisket, to Corned Beef, to Pastrami

by Anne Maxfield on March 13, 2014

Accidental Locavore Corned Beef and CabbageIf you have a piece of brisket, the Accidental Locavore knows there’s a lot you can do with it. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and in honor of nothing in particular (maybe that I can finally access my smoker?), here’s how to take that brisket and turn it into corned beef and/or pastrami. It’s very easy, you just need to give it some time to brine and if you’re looking for corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day, get to work! This is from Michael Ruhelman’s Charcuterie. Weights are given here, because if you have a food scale, this is a really good time to use it. If you don’t, go buy one! If the thought of all this corned beef or pastrami is too tempting, you can use a smaller piece of meat and halve the brine ingredients (but it freezes really well!). I’ve also make pastrami using beef tri-tip or lamb shoulder, both equally delicious.

For the corned beef brine:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 2 cups/450 grams kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup/100 grams sugar
  • 5 teaspoons/25 grams pink salt*
  • 1 tablespoon/8 grams Pickling Spice plus 2 tablespoons/20 grams for cooking the corned beef
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-5 pound brisket, well-marbled

Accidental Locavore Corned Beef in Brine WeightedCombine all the ingredients except the brisket in a pot big enough to hold them and the brisket (and fit in your refrigerator). Bring to a simmer, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat and cool to room temperature. Place the brisket in the brine, with a plate or something to keep it submerged. Refrigerate for 5 days.

Remove the brisket from the brine and rinse it thoroughly under running water. Place the brisket in a pot just large enough to hold it, add water to cover the meat and add the additional pickling spice. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 3 hours until the brisket is fork tender. Make sure the water always covers the meat, if not add additional water until it does. Remove the cooked corned beef from the liquid, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Pastrami SandwichNotes: I usually forget about making corned beef and turn it into pastrami. To do that, add ½ cup dark brown sugar and ¼ cup honey to the brine. Brine the meat in the same way, but only for 3 days. Remove the brisket from the brine, rinse very well and pat dry. In a small frying pan toast 1 tablespoon coriander seeds and 1 tablespoon black peppercorns over medium heat, until they are just starting to be fragrant. Grind them in a spice mill or coffee grinder until coarsely ground. Rub evenly over the meat.

Hot-smoke the meat to an internal temperature of 150°; on my smoker it’s about 4 hours. Preheat the oven to 275°. Place the meat on a rack in a roasting pan filled with 1” of water. Bring it to a simmer on the stove-top, then cover with aluminum foil and cook for 2-3 hours until it’s fork tender. Serve and enjoy!

*Pink salt is a curing salt and not the Himalayan pink salt you might come across.




Accidental Locavore Carnivale

This week at the 199th Blogging Boomers Carnival The Accidental Locavore has the honor of hosting (hostessing?). In the meantime check out how I did with the latest Charcutepalooza challenge: corned beef. Did it pass the fussy locavore taste test?

The rest of the Blogging Boomers want you to know:

Do we become more resilient in midlife?  Do we face life’s challenges in a different way?  Here’s the Midlife Crisis Queen’s take on these questions.

SoBabyBoomer tells us that most boomers will never see themselves in the current crop of retirement ads.  There are two reasons why.

Dan, the Early Retired Man, tries to get a mortgage. But the rules are a lot more stringent than they used to be. Read more at The Boomer Chronicles.

Seaweed, an antidote to Japan’s reactor cloud? Read more at Vaboomer

Over at Contemporary Retirement, Ann has a video of a 90-year-old who is not only still skiing – she’s a ski instructor too!

And here at the Accidental Locavore, I was recently a winner of a contest to write a haiku about a dinner party disaster. The prize, a dinner catered by Chef Michael White, and the world’s biggest goodie bag. Check it out on next week’s blog. Don’t forget to print out this week’s cook-along recipe for blueberry caramel sauce.

What’s your favorite carnival blog this week? Please comment on the blogs and let everyone know what you think, we love the feedback!




Charcutepalooza March Challenge: Brining Corned Beef

by Anne Maxfield on March 14, 2011

Accidental Locavore Corned Beef and Cabbage

How do you feel about corned beef? The Accidental Locavore is usually not a huge fan of brisket or corned beef, however this month’s Charcutepalooza challenge is to brine either chicken,  pork, or for the advanced challenge, to make corned beef. I’ve brined a lot of local chickens, a turkey or two, and various cuts of pork, so Charcutepalooza members, watch out! It’s time to tackle corned beef!

Corned beef is one of those things I eat to be polite. Many friends of mine swoon over the idea of a corned beef or brisket dinner, not me. It’s the preparation; brisket is usually cooked to death (except for my friend Leslie’s…secret ingredient: a can of soda). Corned beef and cabbage or New England boiled dinner, the smell of the cabbage lingering for days…no thanks.

Accidental Locavore Charcutepalooza-smallSo when I saw this Charcutepalooza challenge I knew that at the end of five days, there would be a pot of goodness containing an amazing corned beef! Even before the brine cooled, good friends were invited for dinner. I’m thinking if I put a pot au feu twist on this, it should be delicious.

After clearing a rather large piece of real estate in my refrigerator, I set the pot with the brisket to brine for five days. Along with the Accidental Locavore Corned Beef in Brine Weightedplate to weigh it down, which seemed to just float in the pot, I added a 2 ½ pound weight from my dumbbell (what a good excuse not to use it for five days, right?).  Yesterday it was removed from the brine, thoroughly rinsed and simmered until tender.

What emerged? A beautiful piece of corned beef that might make a believer out of me. After the meat was removed from the pot, I added ½ an enormous (really enormous) cabbage cut into wedges, and some of the last of the local potatoes from my farmer and let them cook in the flavored stock for about 20 minutes. On the side, two kinds of mustard, and some of my homemade pickles from the summer.

Accidental Locavore Corned Beef SlicedThe verdict? My husband said it was the best corned beef he’s ever had. Our friend BJ seconded his vote, and would have had seconds but is on an only-one-serving diet. What about the locavore non-believer? It was awfully good, and except for needing way too much room in a New York City apartment refrigerator, certainly easy to make. Next step? When the weather gets warmer, smoking one…that’s pastrami if you haven’t been paying attention.

Check out the Friday blog for the recipe for the blueberry caramel sauce I served over vanilla ice cream for dessert. 4 ingredients guaranteed to put a smile on your face (and don’t forget, blueberries are a super food).