Sunday, February 12, 2012

Home-cured Corned Beef

IMG_0377Years ago, when we first met, I’d announced to the Monkey that we were having corned beef for dinner. He’s pretty much an omnivore, but at the sound of that, he turned quite pale and sad. It turns out that where he grew up, corned beef is typically nasty stuff from a can. Little did he suspect that anything else, let alone a home-cured beef was possible.

Fortunately, it is. And it was a revelation to him. Even more fortunately, it’s completely easy to make. Given that, why on earth would someone choose meat from a can? And why reserve corned beef for St. Patrick’s day only? Life’s little mysteries..

Corned beef

1 beef brisket (about 4 lbs)
1 oz pickling spice – each brand has a different spice mix. I look for one with a few red chiles in it to give it a slight kick
2-3 Tbsp kosher salt
1 week

Coat the beef evenly with teh pickling spice, then salt thoroughly.


Place the beef in a large ziplock bag or in a glass baking dish and cover tightly. Refrigerate at least 5 days so that the flavors infuse.

To cook, rinse off most of the spice, so that it’s not too crunchy or salty. Pat dry with a paper towel. Cover and bake at 325 degrees F for about 2 hours or until fully cooked. You can optionally glaze the beef with mustard or with red currant jelly, baking uncovered a bit so that the glaze, well, glazes.


Home-cured beef is just a tad drier than the kind you buy at the grocery, as it isn’t pumped through with saline. You can see below that it is still plenty juicy. However, you might want to serve with some sort of sauce – my fave is horseradish and sour cream, but let your taste guide you on that.


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