What is Corned Beef?
Corning beef was a way of pickling or preserving beef in the days before refrigeration. As early as the mid 1600s recipes spoke of pickling or corning beef. Corn was another word for a small, hard, particle. The corn in corned beef refers to the coarse grains of salt used in the corning process.
Many companies produce corned beef now, but they use many different chemicals and preservatives. Sodium Nitrate,or salt peter, is one of the primary ingredients in even home corned beef, used to keep the meat a pink color. It is totally unnecessary to the taste or quality of the finished recipe.
Follow directions carefully. You can add a dried hot pepper to make the corned beef a little spicier, if you like. Give yourself at least two weeks curing time, three weeks would be even better.
Once the beef is corned, and you have drained it, you can freeze it or cook it in any corned beef recipe.
How to Corn Beef
- 4 quarts water
- 1 cup coarse sea salt
- 3 tbs brown sugar
- 10 lbs of beef brisket
- 15 garlic cloves, peeled and slightly crushed
- 1/4 c pickling spices
- 10 bay leaves
Bring the water to a boil. Add the salt and stir to dissolve. Set aside and allow to cool.
Put the brisket in a ziploc bag. You can also put it in a glass dish, or large crock but do not put it in aluminum or other metal. Pour the salt water over the meat and add garlic, sugar, pickling spices and bay leaves.
The meat should be submerged. You can use a jar, filled with water for weight, to hold meat under the pickling solution. Refrigerate for3 weeks. Turn the meat often if in a bowl, or flip ziploc a couple of times a day, giving it a good knead each time to drive the spices into the meat.
Drain and remove bay leaves before cooking.
Traditional Slow Cooker corned Beef & Cabbage
One of the traditional foods on St Patrick’s Day is corned beef and cabbage. It is simple to do in a slow cooker, and allows your homemade corned beef to reach flavorful perfection.
- corned beef brisket
- 10 large red potatoes, halved
- 2 onions, cut in wedges
- 1 head of cabbage,cut in wedges
- 1 lb carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
- 1 can dark ale, or strong beer
- 1/4 c brown sugar
Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until done.
Serve with Irish soda bread, a salad, and a sponge cake for dessert.
Making corned beef at home is an inexpensive, healthy, and delicious alternative to the high priced processed meats on the shelves. Try ti just once and you will want to experiment with it, make it your own signature dish, and create it again and again.