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Corned Beef

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Serves fifteen.

For a classic St. Patrick's Day dinner, serve the corned beef with mashed potatoes and buttered cabbage. The thickness of your cut of beef will determine how long it needs to stay in the brine: A fat whole top round roast will take up to 2 weeks, but a relatively thin brisket will take only 4 days.

For the brine:
  • 2-1/2 lb. sea salt
  • 3 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coriander seeds
  • 24 juniper berries
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 12 allspice berries
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 6 bay leaves
To cook the beef:
  • 6-1/2- to 81/2-lb. piece boneless brisket, top round, or bottom round, trimmed of any fat
  • 2 large onions, peeled and halved
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and halved
  • 1 celery rib
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 parsley stems
Brine the beef:

In a large, lidded pot, bring 4-1/2 quarts of water to a boil. Add the salt and sugar and bring back to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan until almost smoking and throw in the coriander, juniper, peppecorns, allspice, cloves and cardamom. Take off the heat and let the spices toast, shaking the pan a few times so they toast evenly. Tie the spices in a piece of cheesecloth or a clean dishtowel, then drop into the boiling water. Keep the water boiling for 15 minutes to dissolve the salt and sugar and make the liquid very salty. Then remove from the heat, pour in 6 cups ice-cold water, and let cool.

Add the meat and bay leaves to the brine, making sure the meat is completely immersed, and cover tightly. Refrigerate, turning the meat every so often, until the meat is fully cured, about 4 days for brisket or up to 2 weeks for a whole top round roast.

Cook the beef:

When you're ready to serve the beef, remove it from its brine. Put it in a large pot with the onions, carrots, celery, peppercorns, bay leaves, and parsely stems. Add enough water to cover and bring to a rolling simmer. Cook for 2 hours, adding more water if needed to keep the beef submerged. Drain the corned beef, and slice across the grain.

Photo: Jason Lowe

I made this with an 8 pound brisket. The only change I made was adding additional juniper berries, cardamom, etc., while cooking the beef. All fifteen of us agreed. It was the best corned beef we had ever had!

pb2000 I used your recipe for cooking the corned beef... it was tender and flavorful. I think the initial browning and the 30 minute bake was was a perfect idea. Boiled corned beef never tasted right to me.

not sure about the sugar in the brine but my traditional Jewish recipe says to brine in salt water at room temperature for at least 48 hours. The brine should be salty enough "to float a potato", and i've never used rump roast. Always a brisket and its wonderful.

Although this may be a traditional recipe, it will never give you good results. I have been experimenting for years and have found that if you treated the corned (brined) beef more like a potroast, it will do much better and not be dried out. So, I brown the roast and then slow braise it, not just in water, but in beer/water/pickling spice mixture. Once it is tender I glaze it with brown sugar and mustard and bake for 30 minutes at 325. Delicious!!

i began with a 2 2/2 lb eye round roast because it looked the best and the butcher filling the case thought the eye round would work for the recipe. I made half the brine because of the smaller piece of meat and brined it for 4 days. Simmered the meat for 2 hours which produced a very dry overcooked piece of meat. Granted it was overcooked but even the "corned" flavor was dull. Fortunately, the carrot, potatoes, and onions were good. I had them in the broth about 30 minutes and finished them in the oven and broiler to brown. The simmered Brussel Sprouts which we cooked while the meat was resting were excellent. Oh well, it was the first time in 35 years of cooking that we threw meat in the trash! Was it the cut of meat? How long should a smaller piece of meat be cooked?

I started the brine and placed my meat in a bowl and covered it with the cool mixture. First the roast floats - any sugesstions? Secondly, I am using an inside round oven roast - 1.5kg (a Canadian member) and would like to know how to figure out how long the meat sits in the brine? How can I tell it is 'done'? jamesymi

ABMouse: I'm the web site editor, and yes, the amount is correct. Corned beef is preserved by brining it in a strong brine; though it's worth noting that not all of that salt is actually absorbed by the meat.

ABmouse: yes indeed the salt to sugar racial in this recipe is about right for aprox. 6 qts of water.... Takes a lot of salt to preserve a 6-1/2- to 81/2-lb. piece of boneless brisket .........

ARE YOU SURE THAT 2-1/2 POUNDS OF KOSHER SALT IS THE RECIPE - THAT SOUNDS LIKE AN AWFUL LOT OF SALT -- MAYBE 2-1/2 CUPS NOT POUNDS!!!!!!! PLEASE REVIEW AND CONSULT THE ORIGINATOR OF THE RECIPE TO CONFIRM THE PROPER INGREDIENTS! THANKS -- anniebartol@comcacast.net MY RATING IS STILL PENDING.

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