Sunday, March 11, 2012

Me and Mr.Brisket

I don't need an excuse to make corned beef. I'll happily eat it any time of the year but the craving does come on pretty strong in March.

I'm also a pretty big fan of heavy beer and Irish whiskey. So I guess the saying is true: "We are all a bit Irish on St. Patty's day", aren't we?

I sat down with the 12 lb brisket I bought today and it told me it wants to be dry brined (yes, food talks to me. No, I'm not coo-coo).

It wants to be treated a little differently than the traditional wet brined corn beef.

I can respect this Mr. Brisket, no problem, you have come to the right lady!

After a little telepathic conversation with Mr. Brisket, we have decided that a combination of pickling spices and a good dose of Kosher salt is just the kind of rub down he will need, then a nice long rest in the extra fridge where he won't be bothered for a week.

I feel you Mr.Brisket, I feel you.

After the week of resting we agreed that a nice low oven for many hours would produce the best results for a delicious St.Patty's Day feast of cabbage, potatoes and corned beef. And beer and whiskey, of course.


This is how we get there:

12lb brisket
1 1/3 c kosher salt
1/2 c pickling spices
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 sheet pan
1 wire rack
1 refrigerator with an empty shelf
5-10 days










The Pickling spice is a combination of bay leaf, coriander, mustard seed, cinnamon, allspice, black pepper, ginger, chilies, cloves, cardamon, juniper, and mace. You can combine your own if you want to but it's available at any grocery store in the spice isle. Since I am dry brining I gave the spices a quick wiz thru the spice grinder.




Combine the salt, sugar and ground spices in a large bowl and mix.



Lay your brisket in the sheet pan and generously rub half of the salt/spice mixture over the fatty side, patting it down so it sticks. Gently flip and rub the other half of salt/spice on the meaty side and around the sides.

Yeah, you like that don't you, brisket?


Move the brisket to the wire wrack and place it over (or in, if it fits) the sheet pan. Place in your refrigerator for 5-7 days.




Hello there Mr. Brisket! How was your refrigerated rest? You look great, and you've lost 2 pounds!!


First, rinse the salt off, then soak it in plain cold water for a 2 hours, draining the water and replacing it with fresh cold water every half hour.




Time for cooking. 

You will need:

1 large roasting pan
1 can of Guinness, or any dark beer you like
4 cups of beef stock
2 onions, quartered
3-4 carrots
2 sticks celery
1 lemon, halved
1/4 cup pickling spice
1 coffee filter

butchers twine
aluminum foil


First, made a spice sack. Put the pickling spice in a coffee filter, tie off with twine, set in roaster. You can also use a bit of cheese cloth for this part. Most people don't have cheese cloth on hand.

Add veggies, stock, Guinness, and lemon to your roasting pan.
(Note to self: replace your roasting pan already!!)
Then, place the brisket on top, fatty side up.
Cover with aluminum foil set into a preheated 350° oven.

After 2½ hours lower the oven temperature to 300º. Set a timer for 3
½ hours and go have a drink.

one for you, one for me...

After 2½ hours lower the oven temperature to 300º. Set a timer for 3
½ hours, have a drink.






It's time for your sauna Mr.Brisket!
And time for drinks for the husband and I!







6 hours ( and lot's o' drinks) later...



"...aww thanks lady, you did all the work!" 


 It's finally ready!
WOW! I have never had corned beef this flavor-packed before. As long as I live, I will never simmer another corned beef brisket in a pot again. 

 Mr. Brisket, you're amazing!





[Editor's note: We in SF are eager to try this with some local black beers, either the 21st Amendment Back in Black IPA or Southern Pacific Brewing Company's Black Ale. And if YOU'RE in SF remember that there is no better place in the city to pick up your own Mr. Brisket than the historic Drewes Brothers Meats.]