Serves 8 – 10
Corning is an old English term that refers to pellets of salt called corns. It has nothing to do with corn the vegetable. If you’ve ever looked at the ingredient list on commercially corned beef there are way too many chemicals and preservatives used plus the quality of the meat typically isn’t very good. It’s easy and so much more delicious to do your own. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. The only uncommon ingredient in this recipe with the pink salt which is available in spice shops and on-line. It’s not the same as Himalayan pink salt. It accounts for the deep red color or the beef and gives a distinctive flavor. Do not use in place of regular salt.
1-1/2 cups kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
4 teaspoons pink salt (sodium nitrite), optional
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons pickling spice
1 gallon water
1 5-pound beef brisket, well trimmed
To cook: Carrots, onions, celery, fennel, potatoes and cabbage
In pot large enough to hold brisket, combine 1/2 gallon of water with kosher salt, sugar, sodium nitrite (if using), garlic and 3 tablespoons pickling spice. Bring to a simmer, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat, add remaining 1/2 gallon water and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.
Place brisket in brine, weighted with a plate to keep it submerged and cover. Refrigerate for 4 – 5 days. Remove brisket from brine and rinse thoroughly.
To cook the beef, place in a pot just large enough to hold it. Cover with water and add remaining pickling spice, carrots, onions, celery and fennel. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer gently until brisket is fork-tender, about 3 hours, adding water if needed to cover brisket. Add potatoes, cabbage and whatever else you like the last 20 minutes of cooking.
Keep warm until ready to serve. Meat can be refrigerated for several days in cooking liquid. Reheat in the liquid or serve chilled. Slice thinly and serve on a sandwich or with additional vegetables simmered until tender in the cooking liquid.