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Classic Corned Grass-fed Beef

February 16, 2022 • 0 comments

Classic Corned Grass-fed Beef
Corned Beef, a centuries-old means of preserving meat, is a wonderful example of a “peasant" food's becoming an internationally acclaimed gourmet dish. In case you're wondering, no corn (as we use the word today) is involved in this preparation! Rather, “corn” is an Old English term for small nodules, pebbles, or grains, and refers to the many whole spices (such as peppercorns) supplied in our Pickling Spice Mix on which this recipe is based.
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Ingredients

  • (1 large stalk) Celery
  • (2 quarts) Chicken, Beef, or Vegetable Stock
  • (10) Small Irish Potatoes
  • (1 large) Cooking Onion
  • (5) Carrots
  • (1 small head) Cabbage
  • (1.5-3 lbs) Beef Brisket
  • (1 1/2 tablespoons per pound of beef) Our Pickling Spice
  • (4 tablespoons per pound of beef) Kosher Salt
  • (2 tablespoons per pound of beef) Brown Sugar

Directions

1. Thaw a grass-fed beef brisket (ours typically weigh 1.5-3 lbs) for 48 hours in the refrigerator, or 4 hours in cold water, or until completely thawed.

2. Make the brine. Combine 2 quarts water and the Pickling Spice Mix we provide (use 1 1/2 tablespoons per pound of beef, making sure to include the pink salt) with 4 tablespoons kosher salt and 2 tablespoons brown sugar per pound of beef in a large pot. Bring to boil for five minutes; remove from heat and add a quart of ice to cool the brine.

3. Brine the beef.  Place the grass-fed beef brisket and the cooled brine in a leakproof container and refrigerate for 5-10 days. (A 2-gallon heavy-duty zip-lock bag will do, but large, flat, leak-proof plastic sealable containers are best.  Unless you know it is high-quality stainless steel, avoid metal, as brine may damage it and create an "off" flavor.)  Make sure the meat is completely immersed. Turn and gently shake the container daily to stir and distribute the brine.

4. Cook the beef.  After brining, remove the beef and rinse under cold water. If only cooking the meat, place in a just-large-enough pot. (If adding vegetables later for a “Boiled Dinner,” use a pot large enough for those and stock, as explained in Step 5.) Chop and add one each: onion, carrot, celery. Add enough water to cover the brisket by one inch.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and gently simmer (barely bubbling) until fork tender (usually 2.5-3.0 hours.)  Remove from pot and slice across the grain.

5. Add side dishes.  The traditional Irish boiled dinner includes corned beef, potatoes, onions, carrots, and cabbage. Prepare the meat as above, using an extra-large pot (for adding additional ingredients). When the beef is approaching the fork-tender stage (typically after simmering 2.0-2.5 hours), bring 2 qts of low-salt stock (chicken, beef, or vegetable) to a boil in a separate large pot. Add 15 small Irish potatoes, a large cooking onion, coarsely chopped, 5 chopped carrots, and 1 small head cabbage cut into wedges, and return to boil. (Brussels sprouts make a nice substitute for the cabbage, if you like them.) Once boiling, transfer the entire pot to the simmering corned beef, cover and continue simmering (barely bubbling) until potatoes are tender through, and beef pulls apart easily with a fork.

6. Serve the Meal. Serve the sliced beef on a plate with your favorite spicy coarse-ground mustard as a condiment. Add vegetables dusted with parsley or other herbs as sides. Cornbread compliments this meal, as do big red wines or robust beers.

7. Use the Leftovers.  Chop the beef and vegetables and add stock to make soup, or crisp meat and vegetables in a skillet to make corned-beef hash to serve with eggs.

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