Saturday, March 10, 2012
A Corning We Will Go . . .
Ah, tis the season when young Irish lads and lasses thoughts turn toward beef, corned beef!
Now those of you who've only had the day-glow pink corned beef from the grocery store are thinking "Why would I even want to think of that stuff?" Let me tell you the real thing is DELICIOUS!
Many years ago the family holiday assigned to me was St. Patrick's Day so I've been working on this meal for almost 20 years now!
So today I will show you how to "corn" your own beef at home! You know I can't help but love this recipe. It takes DAYS!!! If you don't have days and don't like beef you might consider some "corned" salmon instead. I tried it and think its delicious too.
THIS is the most important ingredient in this entire recipe. Corning was a method of preserving meat back in ye days of old. If you get enough salt in something even the bacteria say "Blech!" and go away. So the meat doesn't decompose!
Let's get corning!
It all starts with a rub! You'll need half a cup of Kosher salt. Kosher salt is flaky and light. You really can't substitute a similar amount of table salt and get the same results. Pour it in a bowl so you can get to mixing!
We've discussed my passion for bay leaves before right?
Grab around two and crumble them up! This is a nice opportunity to use the broken bits in your bay leaf stash! You've got a bay leaf stash don't you? Did you know that your bay leaves will love you more if you keep them in the freezer? They're very heat sensitive evidently!
They're so pretty! Do you think I could paint my house this color? I think I'll go to Home Depot and ask for Bay leaf colored paint . . . while my blessed oldest is standing by.
A tablespoon of black pepper! Fresh ground pepper is so fragrant and has so many lovely flavors in it. It's much milder than the pre-ground versions.
Oh thyme, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!
Maybe not right now though . . .
A tablespoon of thyme joins the party!
Mmmm, allspice. You smell like Jamaica . . . well you smell like jerk chicken, I've never actually been to Jamaica . . . I should demand to be taken to Jamaica immediately!
I saw a recipe that asked for 3/4 Tbsp of allspice. Who has a 1/4 Tbsp measuring spoon? There's 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon but that doesn't help me! What are they thinking? They shouldn't ask math teachers to participate in this sort of measuring!
So use a "scant" tablespoon of allspice. It's how I roll . . .
Now for a whole tablespoon of chili powder! Because I'm AMERICAN and it gives me license to take any other country's cuisine and screw with it anyway I please . . . this is a very mild chili powder but I think some spicy would be tasty too! Especially if you were going to go with salmon for your meat!
Everybody here's for the party, let's mix!
Look at it! So beautiful! It smells delicious too! Now we need some meat!
Woohoo! My husband scored on this one, 12 lbs of brisket for $2.18 a lb! He's a keeper!
It's huge! There's actually a name for each half.
On the right we have the "point." The point has lots of fat through out it making it juicy and flavorful. Because it's fatty and rounded it will stick up to the heat of my grill. Since I don't really need 12 lbs of corned beef, I'm going to cut this half off and freeze it for later! It would also make a lovely pot roast if there's no good grilling weather.
This is the "flat." In a wild case of obviousness it's actually the nice flat portion of the meat! Evidently an average working man could of named it. We're going to use it for our corned beef.
When I flip the meat over you can see it has a thick layer of fat on it. Very desirable when grilling. Not necessary for how I'm cooking this. In fact, that layer of fat will prevent proper corning! So, trim it off.
I'm using a VERY sharp knife. Do you own a very sharp knife? I have a knife sharpener! I could sharpen you knife for you. I sharpened my friend's knife once. There were many band-aids needed . . .
There it's trimmed! I should of been a butcher . . .
We're going to facilitate the "corning" process with this little device. You could use a skewer or any muscular fork.
This is a good time to think about things that make you angry like oh . . . politicians. You want little holes every half inch or so . . .
Then flip it over and start on the other side and think of your ex-boyfriend . . .
They have "Art" therapy! Why not "cooking" therapy?
Now we sprinkle on some of our spice rub! Be generous! I added several more tablespoons to this!
Rub it in! You want a nice thick layer on everything. Think happy thoughts! Lollipops, tulips, men who buy fabulous meat! Whatever makes you happy!
Flip it over and get the other side too!
Don't forget the sides! I used about half of the rub on the entire piece of meat. So now you need to wrap it up. I managed to get mine in a gallon sized Ziploc bag. But, I have skillz you see. You may want to go with the 2 gallon Ziploc.
I gathered all of the rub from the platter and stuck it in there too. You want to put it in a dish where it'll be safe. The meat will start out by giving up it's moisture. You want that moisture to turn into it's own little brine and soak back in! So keep it as sealed as possible!
I had this nice little plastic dish available.
Now to weight it down. I took my emergency 4 lb package of pintos and wrapped them up in another bag and used them as weight!
Now you put the whole thing in the refrigerator and you flip the meat over EVERY day for 5-7 days. Can you say pre-planning?
St. Patrick's Day we're on our way! Here's part 2, you know where you watch me boil meat and other complicated stuff like that!
1/2 cup kosher salt
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1 Tablespoon black pepper, coarsely ground
1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
1 scant tablespoon allspice, ground
1 tablespoon chili powder