Make Your Own Corned Beef

The perfect brisket.  I had to cut it in two to fit my pot.

The perfect brisket. I had to cut it in two to fit my pot.

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, my mind turns to Corned Beef for the traditional NEBD (New England Boiled Dinner).   I began searching for brisket (the cut that is used in corned beef) a few days ago and found a real beauty, about five pounds with no fat to speak of.  Corning your own brisket is supremely easy with advance planning being the only requirement, as it takes ten days for the beef to fully absorb the flavor of the corning liquid.  Forget those bright red chemically enhanced versions found in the supermarkets and try this.  The corning liquid is nothing more than a brine, to which many of us have become accustomed as it is a very popular procedure for tenderizing meats, especially poultry.

Ready for ten days in the refrigerator.

Ready for ten days in the refrigerator.

I’ve adapted this recipe from one given me by my friend Terrie who died of Lymphoma several years ago.  I enjoy making it each year, and as I do, my mind is filled with memories of Terrie.  She was an extraordinarily gentle person, a fellow birder and a writer.

Corned Beef

1 beef brisket, about five pounds

2 quarts water

1 C. coarse salt

1 C. brown sugar

2 tsp. Juniper berries

1 tsp allspice berries

2 bay leaves

3 garlic cloves, crushed

With a fork, pierce the brisket all over.  Whisk the remaining ingredients together until the sugar dissolves.   Put the brisket in a non-reactive container and pour the brine over it being sure it is covered with liquid, cover and refrigerate for 10 days.  Turn the meat every two or three days to be sure all surfaces get equal brining.  After ten days, remove the meat and rinse it thoroughly.  Place in a stock pot with fresh water, simmer for one hour then pour off the water and replace with fresh cold water.  Simmer until the meat is very tender, two or three more hours.  Slice thinly.

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