Brined and then boiled, this is the real deal.
You'll need a couple of 2-gallon zip-top bags.
Chef-restaurateur Cathal Armstrong likes to serve this corned beef with a warm white sauce flecked with parsley.
Make Ahead: The meat needs a total of 17 days to brine and cure. It can be refrigerated in its cooking liquid for up to 3 days, then reheat by cooking the meat in barely bubbling water until it's warm all the way through (about 20 minutes).
Where to Buy: Pink curing salt and/or Insta-Cure #1 are available through local butcher shops and various online purveyors, including Amazon.com.
Servings: 8 - 10
- For the brine and beef
- 2 quarts tap water, plus 2 quarts ice water
- 3/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon pink curing salt, such as sel rose or Insta-Cure # 1 (see headnote)
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons prepared pickling spice
- One 5- to 7-pound full brisket (with deckle intact)
- For the rub
- 3 large fresh bay leaves, torn into small pieces
- 9 cloves garlic, sliced or crushed
- 3 tablespoons yellow mustard seed
- 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
For the brine and beef: Combine the 2 quarts of tap water, the kosher and curing salts, brown sugar and pickling spice in a large saucepan over high heat, stirring, until the salts have dissolved. Add the 2 quarts of ice water.
Pat the brisket dry with paper towels. Place the meat in a 2-gallon zip-top bag, then place the bag in a deep mixing bowl or stockpot. Pour the brine into the bag; seal, pressing out as much air as possible. The meat should be submerged. Refrigerate (in the brine) for 10 days.
Rinse the beef well, removing all trace of seasoning. Discard the brine. Blot dry the meat on paper towels.
For the rub: Combine the bay leaves, garlic, mustard seed, black pepper, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and coriander in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the meat; place the meat in a (clean) 2-gallon zip-top bag and seal, pressing as much air out as possible. Place the bag in a baking dish and refrigerate for 1 week, turning the bag over once a day. Each day, you’ll notice that more liquid has leached from the meat.
On the day you wish to serve the beef, place the beef and all its accumulated juices in a large pot. Add as much water as needed to submerge the meat. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium; cover and cook for 3 hours, until fork-tender but not falling apart.
Drain the corned beef, place it on a cutting board and wait for at least 15 minutes before cutting it into 1/2-inch thick slices.
Adapted from "My Irish Table: Recipes From the Homeland and Restaurant Eve" (Ten Speed Press, 2014).
Tested by Toni L. Sandys.
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