It seems on St. Patrick's Day, everyone thinks of corned beef and cabbage. It is simple and perhaps more interesting to consider corned meats, such as bison brisket, elk brisket or wild boar shoulder in lieu of only planning for beef. The process of corning meat only takes time (our recipe suggests 10 days) as the meat is sitting in the refrigerator and very little prep or cook time. If you want to try something different and more adventurous, trying corning your own meat for St. Patrick's day or any other meal.
Corning is a term synonymous with curing or ''salting.'' About 1550, the manufacturers of gunpowders used the term `corned` to indicate that their product had been spread out and allowed to dry in single grains. Shortly thereafter, people applied the term to the sprinkling of grains of salt on meat in order to cure or preserve it. To this day, the word `corned` still stands to indicate the use of grains of salt in the curing of meat.''
The best method to cure meat in your kitchen is in a brine solution. Salt, sugar and saltpeter (sodium nitrate or potassium nitrate, available in some drug stores) dissolved in water provide the basic brine or ''cure'' to which can be added different spices and seasonings, depending upon personal taste and the meat you are curing.
The time it takes to cure meat depends on the type of meat and how salty you want it to be. The standard rule-of-thumb for most meat is a day of curing time for each pound. But since the curing we are talking about here is more for flavoring than preservation, much less time is usually sufficient.
Corned Meat (see meat ideas below)
Corned Wagyu Brisket
Recipe adapted from The Food Network - Courtesy of Alton Brown
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- 2 quarts water
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons saltpeter (sodium nitrate or potassium nitrate)
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 8 whole cloves
- 8 whole allspice berries
- 12 whole juniper berries
- 2 bay leaves, crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 pounds ice
- 1 (3 to 6 pounds) brisket*, trimmed (see below)
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
* You are not in Ireland. It does not have to be beef brisket. Other meats provide healthier and more intricate taste profiles. And variety helps expand your horizons and is better for the environment as we diversify protein sources and minimize the damages over production of one species can create. Try the following:
100% Pure Wagyu Brisket
- Place the water into a large 6 to 8 quart stockpot along with salt, sugar, saltpeter, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, juniper berries, bay leaves and ginger. Cook over high heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the ice. Stir until the ice has melted. If necessary, place the brine into the refrigerator until it reaches a temperature of 45 degrees F. Once it has cooled, place the brisket in a 2-gallon zip top bag and add the brine. Seal and lay flat inside a container, cover and place in the refrigerator for 10 days. Check daily to make sure the beef is completely submerged and stir the brine.
- After 10 days, remove from the brine and rinse well under cool water. Place the brisket into a pot just large enough to hold the meat, add the onion, carrot and celery and cover with water by 1-inch. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender. Remove from the pot and thinly slice across the grain.
Smoked Pastrami (with any corned meat)
- 4lb Corned Brisket Flat ( See Above Recipe)
- ½ cup Ground Black Pepper
- ¼ cup Sugar in the Raw
- 2 Tablespoons Granulated Garlic
- 2 Tablespoons Ground Coriander
- 1 Tablespoon Ground Mustard
- 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
- 2 cups Beef Broth
- Place corned brisket flat in large container and cover with cool water. Keep container in refrigerator for 12 hours changing the water every 4 hours.
- Preheat Smoker or Big Green Egg or other smoker/grill set up for indirect cooking. Bring temperature to 275⁰ and add chunks of hard wood like pecan and cherry wood to hot coals for smoke.
- Remove brisket from water and pat dry with paper towel.
- Combine Black Pepper, Sugar, Garlic, Coriander, Mustard, & Onion Powder. Apply rub mixture over entire surface of brisket.
- Place Brisket Flat on smoker and cook for 3 hours.
- Pour beef broth into half size aluminum food service pan. Place brisket flat on wire cooling rack in pan, insert probe thermometer and cover pan with foil.
- Cook until internal temperature reaches 202⁰.
- Remove brisket from pan and place directly on cooking grate for 15 min.
- Rest brisket for 20-30 minutes loosely covered with aluminum foil.
- Slice pastrami across grain into desired thickness.