Homemade Corned Beef

By Beacon Staff

With St. Patrick’s Day just ahead of us and the images of the oddly pink piece of meat we have come to know as corned beef coming to mind, I wondered about the roots of the dish we have all come to love and the old world technique used to flavor and cure the meat used in creating it.

With a little research, I discovered that the overly salty and heavily preserved grocery store variety of corned beef has a delicious and hearty close relative.

With a little planning ahead this easy to make recipe shows what a good healthy meal this can really be.

You need to start about five to seven days before you plan on serving this for dinner and it turns out great. Begin with a fresh, Montana-grown, beef brisket and follow this recipe for a great homemade corned beef dinner.

For the Brine:

  • 10 cups water?
  • 1 1?2 cups kosher salt?
  • 1 cup granulated sugar?
  • 2 tablespoons dry English mustard?
  • 3 tablespoons pickling spice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh Montana grown beef brisket, 7 to 9 pounds

Combine water, salt, sugar, mustard, spices and three cloves minced garlic in an 8-quart nonreactive stock pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Remove from heat and set aside to cool. While the liquids cool, trim your brisket of as much excess fat as you can.

When the liquid has cooled, add the brisket. You may need to transfer the liquids and the brisket to a larger container or bowl, just make sure it is nonreactive. If necessary, add more cold water to cover the beef.

Using a heavy pottery bowl or a few small bowls, weigh the corned beef down so it will stay completely coved with liquid.

Cover and refrigerate for 5 to 7 days. Take out once a day to stir lightly and turn the beef as needed.

On the sixth or seventh day, remove the brisket from the brine and rinse well with cold water.

Set aside while you gather together the following ingredients.

For cooking:

  • 3 ribs celery, cut in 2-inch pieces
  • 2 large onions, cut in wedges?
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Place the brisket in a large (8-quart or larger) pot.

Add all ingredients and enough cold water to cover.

I like to use a pint of ale with the water, but this is optional.

Bring to a boil; skim off any scum, which develops on the surface.

Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer for 3 hours.

At this point, uncover the pot and add:

Garnishing Vegetables:

  • 6-8 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cut in quarters?
  • 5 carrots cut in 2-inch lengths?
  • 2 small rutabagas cut in 2-inch chunks
  • 1 large head of cabbage quartered, cored and cut into pieces

Cover the large pot and cook until the meat and vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Remove beef and let rest for 10-15 minutes.

Slice and serve with vegetables, broth and a nice crusty bread.

Irish soda bread or sourdough work well.

This dish is almost better the second day.


Josh Auerhammer is the chef/owner Culinary Design Studio in Bigfork.

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