Recipe: home-cured corned beef
Winter has been like a rude dinner guest, showing up three months late – but she’s that dinner guest that I forgive because I love her so much. Most of the Colorado mountains have been catching up on their share of snow in the last couple of weeks, as if winter were trying to make up for being such a slacker for most of the season. I love winter very much, but I’ll tell you what… I love winter in March because there are more daylight hours and the storms are bigger and everyone is jazzed because they know spring (skiing) is right around the corner.
even this guy (an abert’s squirrel) is in a good mood
Typically around this time of year, I’ll start to see corned beef briskets in the big refrigerator bins at the grocery store. You know what I’m referring to don’t you? It’s where they put the turkeys before Thanksgiving and Christmas, the hams before Easter, and giant racks of ribs before the Fourth of July. On occasion I’ve purchased a corned beef and boiled it at home, but this year I decided that it was high time I tried curing my own seeing as I had everything at home except for a brisket (easy enough to get) and pink curing salt.
my friends at savory spice shop had it (they have practically everything)
Pink curing salt isn’t necessary to enjoy corned beef and I debated omitting it altogether. However, it is responsible for that signature deep pink color as opposed to grey – which is the color of corned beef if you don’t use pink curing salt. It’s also supposed to help with the flavor. Don’t confuse pink curing salt with pink salt – one is edible (pink salt like Himalayan pink salt) and one is not (pink curing salt). The instructions on the package suggested 1 teaspoon of curing salt for 5 pounds of meat, but Elise’s recipe calls for 5 teaspoons for 4-5 pounds of meat. The spice shop staff and I discussed it at length while I consulted Michael Ruhlman’s recipe for a tie breaker. His version lists 4 teaspoons for 5 pounds of meat, so I thought Elise’s 5 teaspoons were legit. With my pink curing salt in hand, I was ready to cure some brisket. First up: make the pickling spice.
peppercorns, mustard seeds, cloves, bay leaves, allspice, cinnamon stick, ground ginger, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, red pepper flakes
place the peppercorns, allspice, mustard, cardamom, red pepper, cloves, and coriander in a frying pan
heat until the mustard seeds pop and the spices become fragrant
**Jump for more butter**