After 6 days in brine the brisket was ready for cooking and the photo above does not begin to do justice to this corned beef. If you could only taste it! The ready-to-cook corned beef you buy in the store has nothing on this version in terms of flavor. There’s no way you get as intense a flavor from them. The cloves, allspice, and bay leaves in the brine layer each with each bite with interesting flavor. To be perfectly honest, I can’t wait to get a smoker this summer so I can take this same recipe and smoke the brisket instead for some pastrami or Montreal style smoked meat.
Knowing we would end up coming home hungry after a day of bouncing around pubs and bars I cooked the corned beef in the morning on St. Patrick’s day before we left. I also shredded and made some red cabbage instead of the traditional boiled cabbage. Don’t get me wrong, I like the boiled green cabbage, carrots, and potatoes, but I wanted something which would complement the salty spiciness of the corned beef. So I went with the old rule of thumb: pair a salty dish with a sweet one. The cabbage recipe came out of my mom’s recipe books and is not cloyingly sweet like some can be. It’s more of a subtle sweetness and the cabbage has just the right amount of sweet and sour to balance out the corned beef. I don’t think I need to tell you returning home to this Sunday dinner was immensely satisfying!
Side Roam: In addition to the satisfaction I get from making food like this particular corned beef from scratch (well, I didn’t butcher the cow…yet) I think it’s great to show you can do these simple things at home. Sure, it takes time, but with all of the not-so-good stories regarding processed food it’s good to have the ability to know what’s going into your food. I think this recipe is a good example of how doing it yourself doesn’t take much effort and with just a smidgen of planning you end up with a way better product than going the quick and easy route purchasing a commercially processed alternative. Ok, rant over, let me get back to the leftovers.
Corned Beef (from Ruhlman’s Charcuterie)
- 4-5 lb brined beef brisket (see part 1)
- 2 Tbs pickling spice
Remove the brisket from the brine and rinse under running water. Place in a large pot big enough to hold the brisket. Add enough water so the brisket is covered by a couple of inches. Add the pickling spices.
Bring pot to a boil on the stove. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 2 ½ – 3 hours, until brisket is fork tender.
Remove from pot. Serve your corned beef hot or allow to cool to room temperature. Pair with the red cabbage recipe.
- 3 lbs of cored and shredded red cabbage (1 medium-sized head)
- 1 ½ C water
- ½ C firmly packed brown sugar
- ½ Cider vinegar
- 4 Tbs butter
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients except salt in large pot.
Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 75 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
Add salt to taste.