Friday, March 20, 2009

St. Paddy's Beef: How To

John Ardolino, though he received inspiration from the Internet for his brining solution, added some personal touches to the process. I can't speak enough about how good this homemade corned beef is. Try it at home, and, like John said, let it marinate for the full seven days. You won't be disappointed!

Do you have a favorite brining recipe? Let me know about it by leaving a comment!

(Thanks to John for all of the pictures of this process!)

John Ardolino's Home Brine for Corned Beef


1 (8-10 lb) beef brisket
4 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in thirds

The Brine
2 quarts water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup white vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon peppercorn
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 pinch ground cloves

The Simmering Liquid
1 teaspoon peppercorn
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 bottle Harp or lager of your choice

The Vegetables
10-12 large carrots, scrubbed and cut into thirds
10-12 medium-sized russet potatoes, peeled and halved
2 large cabbages, quartered

Combine the brining ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then cool completely.

Place the beef brisket, the cooled brine, and 4 garlic cloves in a huge plastic roasting bag. Do not use a garbage bag. Plastic roasting bags can be purchased from your local grocer or butcher.

Ensure that all of the meat is covered completely by the brine (cutting the brisket in pieces if you need to), tie off the bag tightly, and then bag it a again OR place in a pot large enough to hold it. Refrigerate for 7 days, turning occasionally.

After 7 days, remove brisket from the brine. Discard the brine.

Rinse the meat thoroughly, then place in a Dutch oven or large pot. Add enough water to come up cover the meat 2/3 or 3/4 the way. Add the simmering liquid ingredients, and bring to a boil. Remove any scum that rises to the surface. Add bottle of Harp or lager of your choice.

Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook, covered, for at least 3 - 4 hours. One hour before the meat is done cooking, add the carrots, potatoes, and cabbage.

Remove meat from simmering liquid and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Serve sliced into 1-1.5" pieces and with vegetables. Great for sandwiches, too.

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