Corned Beef Brisket (from Scratch)

Corned beef brisket is tasty all by itself, and it's a great base for so many wonderful dishes. Here's how to "corn" your own beef brisket. This recipe comes from David Bulla's article, Corned Beef Cowboys.
  • 1 beef brisket, slightly trimmed of excessive fat (not all fat) about 5-8 pounds
  • 1-1/2 gallons fresh water
  • 3 cups kosher salt, may require more after testing
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled
  • 1 large onion, rough chopped
  • 2 tablespoons whole mustard seed
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 3 tablespoons whole peppercorns
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon thyme, whole leaves
Use a large enameled or stainless steel (not aluminum or cast iron) roasting pan or crock. Mix the salt and the water and stir for several minutes until all the salt is dissolved.

To test the cure for the proper amount of salt, place an uncooked egg into the brine. If the egg does not float, dissolve about cup of salt at a time, testing with the egg after each addition to see if the egg floats. When the brine passes the egg float test, combine the remaining ingredients and add the brisket. Submerge the meat using a heavy object such as another stainless steel pot or a non-porous ceramic plate or two.

You want to make sure the brisket remains completely submerged at all times. Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 12 days, turning the brisket once every other day. The thicker the brisket is, the longer it will take to fully cure.

If you run out of time, you can just go ahead and cook it with reasonable results after about 4 or 5 days. Remember, this technique was designed to preserve the meat, and that may not necessarily be the goal today.

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