13 March, 2006

Monday Corned Beef

Time to make the Corned Beef. I started with a brisket weighing just under eight pounds. The recipe from the Charcuterie book called for simmering the salts and spices in four liters of water. I knew I would have to add more because the amounts called out were for a 5 lb cut of meat. Anyway combine everything together in a pot big enough to hold the brine and the beef. A pot big enough...I started imagining the meat floating about(certainly not laying flat) inside a stainless steel pot. I had already come to the conclusion that I was going to use a two gallon Ziploc for the curing(it worked perfectly for the bacon), but I was not going to fit a gallon-plus of brine and 7 pounds-plus of beef in to the suddenly shrinking 2 gallon Ziploc.

I realized that I wanted(and needed) to do a dry rub. This would make the process more similar (familiar) to dry rubs for barbecue and curing bacon. I looked at the corned beef recipe in The Best Recipe, by the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, and they use a dry rub process. So I was in luck. The main difference between the wet cure and the dry cure (other than the water) is that a lot less salt is used for the dry cure. The Charcuterie book claims that a wet brine does a better job of infusing the aromatics into the meat. The Best Recipe, reports the opposite. We will see.

Eventhough it looks small in this picture, It is just under eight pounds.

The Basic Dry Cure (recipe from Charcuterie)on the right consists of Kosher Salt, pink salt (6.25% sodium nitrite, it is colored pink so it isn't mistaken for regular salt), and sugar. In the middle, Pickling Spice mixture from the Spice House.

One Brisket rubbed and ready.

With a couple weights, the brisket goes into the fridge until Saturday. I'll flip it everyday.


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