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Unread 10-13-2012, 06:12 PM   #1
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Join Date: 04-28-12
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Default Easy Corned-Beef & Pastrami Tutorial Part 1

This is an easy one that anyone can pull off with no special equipment and just a few common ingredients. We're trying to burn up the rest of our last steer to make room in the freezer for the next one, and the brisket has been LONG gone. Luckily, you can corn just about any cut of beef. Since I'm the only one at my house that likes a RARE beef roast, I thought I'd corn up a couple of rump roasts. The curing brine is an average of a few different recipes I've found, then I bumped up a few of the spices for a little extra character. The recipe makes a gallon of brine which is enough for two 5-7# cuts. I usually do two at a time, one corned beef and one smoked for pastrami. One roast goes in each 1-gallon ziploc bag with half of the brine mix. The brine is:

4 qts. water
2-1/4 cups kosher salt
1-1/4 cup brown sugar
4 tsp mustard seed
4 tsp peppercorns
4 bay leaves
5 tbsp pickling spice
10 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar

Some may note that I omitted the nitrates. I don't believe they add much/anything to the flavor, but they are what gives corned beef the classic pink/red color. I can live without that for one less additive in my diet. I digress, the process. You have to get the salt and sugar to dissolve which is easiest in hot water. I don't want to wait for a whole gallon to cool before adding the meat, so I add the salt and sugar to half (2 quarts/8 cups) of the water on the stovetop, heat it until dissolved, then cool it down to at least room temp in the fridge before proceeding. When things are ready, I open a 1 gallon ziploc bag, put in one roast, and drop it into a tupperware pitcher to hold it upright while I add half (4 cups) of the salt/sugar water, half of the spices, and another 4 cups of cold tap water. Then I remove it from the pitcher, zip it shut while removing the air. Then I double bag it, do the same thing with the other one, and swish them around a bit to evenly distribute the spices and pop them in the bottom of the fridge (preferably in a drawer in case they drip a little bit) for 2 weeks until ready to prepare. You should shake them up and turn them over every few days also.

The trimmed roasts; I trim off the fat for better flavor penetration into the meat.

Meat in the bag in the pitcher with half of the salt/sugar water.

Add half of the spices into each bag, then add 4 more cups of cold water (not pictured)

Ready for two weeks in the fridge.

See y'all in a couple weeks, thanks for looking!
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