“Piled high on rye
with kraut no doubt
worth the wait
’cause it’s freakin’ great”
So says Mr. Alton Brown and who am I to disagree? With St. Patricks Day coming up, many folks are bringing out the once-yearly Corned Beef recipe. Seasonal/holiday eating give us a sense of celebration and togetherness. Something else I can’t argue, especially right now. Let’s celebrate the things we have in common, the things that will bring us together and if that’s a big plate of Corned Beef, Cabbage and Baby Potatoes on March 17th, so be it!
Corned Beef from Alton Brown
- March 10, 2020
- Print this
- 1 quart water
- 12 ounces kosher salt
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons pink salt (see note)*
- 1 stick cinnamon broken into several pieces
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 8 whole cloves
- 8 whole allspice berries
- 12 whole juniper berries
- 2 bay leaves (crumbled)
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 3 pounds ice
- 1 4-5 pound beef brisket trimmed
- 1 small onion (quartered)
- 1 large carrot (coarsely chopped)
- 1 stalk celery (coarsely chopped)
- Step 1
- Place the water in a large 6-8 quart stockpot along with salt, sugar, pink salt, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, juniper berries, bay leaves and ginger. Cook over high heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved.
- Step 2
- 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 refrigerate for 5 days. Check daily to make sure the beef is completely submerged and stir the brine. I like to flip the bag and give the brine a quick massage everyday, but that’s just me…
- Step 3
- After 5 days, remove from the brine and rinse well under cool water.
- Step 4
- Place the brisket into a large slow cooker, add the onion, carrot and celery and (baby potatoes if desired) cover with water by 1-inch (about 2 quarts). Cover and cook on high for 8 hours.
- Step 5
- During the last 30 minutes, add chunks of cabbage to the broth and let cook until tender.
- Step 6
- Remove from the pot and thinly slices across the grain. Store any uncut leftovers in the cooking liquid.
*Pink salt aka Prague Powder #1, aka DQ Cure is a combination of sodium chloride, sodium nitrite and a bit of pink dye (supposedly to prevent it being confused for regular salt) is readily available via the internet, but may also be procured from your local butcher shop or kitchenware store. Technically, you can make corned beef without it, but the salt is what gives it that classic pink color.
If you wish to buy a pre-brined version of Corned Beef, just follow the directions starting from Step 4. No judgement here. Some of you might not want to spend 5 days brining a brisket and that’s Ok. I encourage you to do it at least once in your life though, for two reasons: 1. It really does make a huge difference in flavor and 2. just to say you did it.
Enjoy your holiday (if you’re celebrating) and enjoy this recipe. Here’s a link to the whole recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage from Alton Brown on Food Network.
Coming up: how to use your leftover Corned Beef to make the most amazing breakfast hash… Stay tuned, friends!