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How to Make Delicious Corned Beef

March 16th, 2012 Cooking

If you eagerly anticipate St. Patrick's Day every year, the idea of sinking your teeth into a tasty corned beef sandwich probably brings a smile to your face. After all, there are few things better than a delicious slice of the salt-cured meat with a little bit of mustard in between a couple slices of bread. But have you ever wondered how corned beef is made?

If you have a few hours, you can prepare your own from the comfort of home! Note that corned beef does take about 10 days to make all the way through, but the vast majority of that time is inactive on your part. You'll be preparing a brine in which the meat rests, soaking up all of the flavors, after which you'll remove it and cook it.

Here's a simple recipe, courtesy of Food Network.

Ingredients 2 quarts water 1 cup kosher salt 1/2 cup brown sugar 2 tablespoons saltpeter 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 (4 to 5 pound) beef brisket, trimmed 1 small onion, quartered 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped

Begin by putting the water, salt, sugar, saltpeter, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, juniper berries, bay leaves and ginger in a large pot of water. Turn the heat up to high and allow the mixture to cook until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat and add ice. Continue to stir the pot until all of the ice has melted. Using your thermometer, wait until the brine drops down to a temperature of about 45 degrees. You can place it in the refrigerator if need be, but the ice does a good job of bringing down the heat.

Once the brine has sufficiently cooled, take your brisket and place it inside a large, two-gallon plastic bag, then cover it with the liquid. Seal the bag and lay it flat inside a container, which you will cover and place in the fridge for 10 days.

When those 10 days are up, remove the brisket from the brine and give it a good rinse under cool water. Next, place it into a pot that's just large enough to hold the meat, then add the onion, carrot and celery. Add enough water so that everything is about an inch submerged. Now, place the pot on the stove and turn the heat up to high, allowing the mixture to reach a boil.

Reduce the heat to low and let everything simmer for between two and three hours. You can check to see if the meat is tender with a fork every now and then. Once it's finished, remove the meat, allow it to cool a bit and slice it into thin strips, cutting across the grain.

You're done! You can enjoy corned beef on its own without a problem, but if you'd like to spruce things up a bit, give corned beef hash a try - it's an incredible breakfast food that may quickly become a favorite within your household. It also works quite nicely in a Reuben sandwich. You may be surprised at how satisfying and complex the taste is after trying this recipe, and the beef could become a huge hit at your next St. Patty's Day party.