Brine-Your-Own Corned Beef!
I’m not much of an entertaining-type gal.
I’m just not very good at it. So, traditionally, there’s only once a year that I have people over (besides a casual dinner invite).
St Patty’s Day!
(Click here to skip directly to the instructions)
My crockpot makes I make a pretty awesome corned beef from commercially cured brisket. This year I’m going to brine my own, however!
I’ve decided to do one this week so 1. you can decide if you want to do one too and have enough time and 2. if it is awful, then I won’t be inflicting said awful-ness on my guests on the 17th.
I’ve used a similar process to what I found at the Nourished Kitchen (one of my favorite blogs). The main difference is I’m using the “whole juice” of celery that I can make in my Ninja 1100 blender, which is essentially celery juice pureed and pulverized until the pulp is as fine as baby food. Have I mentioned I adore my Ninja? Maybe once once or twice
This is what juiced celery looks like with the pulp, out of the Ninja 1100.
Why celery in corned beef?
Celery is actually a natural source of nitrates that will help the preservation and give it that pink color that we have come to expect from corned beef.
Okay, I realize I said “without nitrates,” but I don’t mind using something natural like celery where I juiced/processed it myself, as opposed to using saltpeter A.K.A. Pink Salt that most recipes call for.
How to brine corned beef – the process
Anyway so – this is kind of a long-ish process. Brining a corned beef can take almost a week to 10 days in the fridge, although I’m going to do it like Sally Fallon recommends in her awesome book Nourishing Traditions and let it brine on the counter at room temp for about 3 days. I also had to take a day in advance to make yogurt so I could drain it for whey, so to make this you are looking at about a week’s notice minimum.
By the time I’m done (on Friday), you’ll have plenty of time to decide if you want to home-brine your corned beef, pick up a brisket, make the yogurt, drain it to get the whey, brine the beef, and cook it up!
Making the Corned Beef Brine
- 3lb brisket (or other cut of roast, really)
- 1/2 cup flaked pickling salt
- 1/2 cup pickling spices
- 2 cups whey (not from powder)
- 1 whole bunch celery, juiced/pureed
- 2 cups extra water
- I rinsed the beef well, and coated it with a mix of the salt & spices.
- I then set the beef inside the crock of my crockpot (which is UNPLUGGED), then I added the whey and celery juice puree. You can strain out the puree if you want, but I didn’t want to bother.
- At this stage you can add water if you need to (the liquid must cover the meat completely). I needed to add 2 cups extra water.
- The way I put the beef it will stay covered, but you may need to weight yours down with a plate or something.
- I’ll need to turn the beef every day so it cures evenly, but I’ll probably do it twice a day since I’m taking the “short room temp” method.
Oh and I’m using my crockpot for convenience – it’s a nice ceramic crock with a lid, and I’m not planning on using it in the meantime. You can use a glass bowl with some sort of lid if you don’t have a crock to use.
Here you can see me rubbing the spices and salt into the meat. I stick my hand into a plastic baggie when I do this kinda stuff so I keep my hands clean.
Here’s everything in the crock – the meat, with the celery pulp/juice, whey, and water.
When the beef is ready to be cooked, then I’ll just empty the crock (into the compost bucket, of course), give it and the meat a quick rinse, then put the meat back into the crock to slow cook. I always do my corned beef at 8-10 hours on low… it has traditionally been awesome that way. Easy peasy!
I’ll update this process on Saturday (probably late in the day after din-din) but in the meantime I’ll be posting a recipe for homemade dark-mint truffle ice cream that is PRIMAL compliant for those of you interested, and simply fabulous for those of you who don’t care.
It’s one of my favorites… I don’t make it much for obvious reasons. And you can make it GREEN for St Patrick’s Day!
**Update – read the VERDICT here**
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