"Corn"-It-Yourself Corned Beef, Brine Method
Rather than being granulated, the salt used in processing corned beef used to be pieces the size of a kernel of corn. Corned beef got its name because this method of preserving the meat was referred to as corning.
INGREDIENTS | YIELDS 1 (about 3-pound) corned beef brisket
- 4 cups water
- ½ cup kosher salt
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon saltpeter
- 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick, broken in half
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- 4 whole cloves
- 4 whole allspice berries
- 6 whole juniper berries
- 1 bay leaf, crumbled
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 pound ice
- 1 (3-pound) beef brisket, trimmed
- 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 stalk of celery, diced
Add the water to a 4-quart or larger stockpot along with salt, brown sugar, saltpeter, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, juniper berries, bay leaf, and ginger.
Stir and cook over high heat for 10 minutes or until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the ice. Stir until the ice has melted.
When the brine has cooled to 45°F, place the brisket in a 2-gallon zip-closure bag or large covered container. (The container you choose needs to allow the brisket to be completely submerged in the brine.) Pour in the brine. Seal or close the container, cover, and place in the refrigerator for 10 days. Daily turn the meat over in the brine, stirring the brine as you do so.
At the end of the 10 days, remove the meat from the brine and rinse it well under cool water.
Add the brisket to the slow cooker along with the onion, carrot, and celery. Add enough water to cover the meat. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours, or until the meat is fork tender. Remove the meat from the slow cooker to a cutting board; cover and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
To serve, thinly slice the brisket across the grain.
Tender and Juicy Corned Beef
Corned beef (or any slow-cooked beef or pork roast, for that matter) will actually be most tender if you allow it to cool completely in the cooking broth. Cool for an hour so that the meat and broth reach room temperature, and then refrigerate overnight. Either reheat the corned beef in the broth, or slice and reheat just the meat itself.