Let’s face it: St. Patrick’s Day is not the most #jlf holiday. First, in a lot of US cities, it most centers along beer crawls, heavily gluten and sugared Irish Food, and overindulgence — all things that make our tummies cringe. But, we have found a way to celebrate the holiday without any digestive worries!
For those of you who have never picked up that pre-packaged corn beef and read the ingredients, we will enlighten you. ALL corn beef that we have found includes SUGAR, and lots of other suspicious ingredients (nitrates, soybean oils, etc.). In an attempt to avoid this, but also to enjoy some corn beef for the holiday celebrations, we tried out corn beef from scratch. And let us tell you: we will never go back! Not only is this one of the easiest recipes, it is the most flavorful, tender, juicy, amazing corn beef we have ever tasted!
The only hitch: you have to brine the meat for a week — so, this is no last minute recipe. But it is worth it! While most corn beef is made out of beef brisket, Jordan typically gets a London Boil cut from Esposito’s, in the local Philadelphia Italian Market. So, you get the market experience with your meat buying! 😉
(this recipe is adapted from MyCrankyGut. Thanks Damion!)
For the Brine
- 1 (4 to 5 pound) beef brisket, trimmed.
- 2 quarts water
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 8 whole cloves
- 8 whole allspice berries
- 12 whole juniper berries
- 2 bay leaves, crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 pounds ice (optional)
For cooking the meat:
- 1 small onion
- 1 large carrot
- 1 celery stalk
- (or you can use any similar veggies)
To Make the Brine: In a large stockpot, put the water, salt, honey, cinnamon, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, juniper berries, bay leaves and ginger. Bring to a boil and cook until salt is dissolved. Keep stirring until you do not see the salt anymore. This took me around 20-30 minutes. You can leave it for a while and just come back to check on it.
Allow the brine to cool to room temperature (if you are in a rush, put it in the refrigerator). The key is that you do not want to put the meat in the brine while it is warm because it will start to cook the meat — no good!
Once the brine has cooled, place the brisket and the brine in a container that can be tightly closed. We recommend glass or plastic tuperware. You want enough space for the brisket to be completely covered by the brine. And, enough space to allow for you to stir the brine and flip the meat once a day. Seal the container and allow the meat to brine in the refrigerator for at least 7 days but no more than 10 days. At least once a day, flip the brisket and stir the brine.
To Cook the Meat: On day 7 or 10, chop the veggies into large pieces. You can use any veggies you want — they will soak up the flavor of the meat while it cookies nicely! We recommend sturdier veggies (i.e., potatoes, turnips, carrots, etc.). You do not want the veggies to turn into mush.
Remove the meat from the brine and rinse it well with cold water. Place the meat and veggies into a large pot and cover completely with water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer until the meat if “fork tender’ (i.e., you take a fork and the meat basically falls apart! Delicious!). This is approximately 3 hours (a little longer does not hurt it).
Then, remove the brisket from the water and slice it across the grain. We pulled out the carrots and onion (we omitted celery because we forgot it!) and put it with the meat on the plate.
The numerous comments from our #jlfcrew test kitchen included: “Amazing;” “So tender;” “Delicious” — well you get the picture. For the record, we agreed with all of them!
We paired this #jlf Corn Beef with delicious brussels sprouts, our mashed cauliflower, biscuits, and wine! Overall, a very Irish and very #jlf meal to celebrate St. Patty’s Day!
J & L