We didn’t eat much corned beef growing up.
I am Italian, after all.
As an adult, it seems like a lot of the people I really enjoy in life have Irish heritage, so I’ve been forced to learn a little bit about Irish cuisine. Happily forced, that is.
Now, it turns out that corned beef is not a traditional Irish dish, but it was introduced into the cuisine by a melding of Irish and American culture, where the cured beef was substituted for bacon by Irish-American immigrants in the late 19th century.
It then became a quasi-traditional dish to eat on St. Patrick’s Day (today, that is). Corned beef is usually eaten with potatoes and cabbage.
Corned beef is basically pickled brisket. Not THOSE kind of pickles, but cured brisket, simply stated.
You can purchase it pre-cured and reheat for tonight’s homage to all things Irish, or you can make it yourself!
1 (4 to 5 lb) beef brisket
2 quarts water
1 cup sea salt
1/2 cup raw cane sugar or organic brown sugar
1 stick cinnamon or about 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1 Tbs mustard seeds
1 to 2 Tbs black peppercorns
1/2 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp allspice berries (optional)
1 Tbs coriander seeds
1 tsp juniper berries (optional)
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaf
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 to 3 bay leaves, crushed
In a large, heavy stockpot, combine water, salt, sugar and spices; stir until dissolved.
Heat to a simmer; remove from heat and let cool by using two cups of ice if needed.
Refrigerate until very cold. Brine must be chilled through before it is used for the meat.
Trim the brisket, and place inside a 2-gallon, zip-top bag. Add brine. Make sure brisket is covered completely and totally surrounded by liquid. Place bag inside a smaller bowl if needed to help conform to a shape that keeps the meat fully submerged in liquid.
Place bag in the refrigerator, and let sit for 3 to 5 days. Every day, flip bag and move brine around.
After the brisket has finished brining, remove from bag; rinse well in warm water.
Place in a slow cooker, and cook on low for 8 to 12 hours.
Slice and serve with cabbage and potatoes.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 576, Calories from Fat: 164, Fat: 18 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 253 mg, Sodium: 11774 mg, Carbohydrates: 11 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 7 g, Protein: 87 g.
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