Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Brining Corned Beef

Brining a brisket
Each year I make corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day (my birthday). I have had issues in the past with corned beef that is too fatty. So, this year I decided to brine my own corned beef. It takes 10 to 14 days so if you are going to brine your own corned beef, now is the time. I picked out a nice beef brisket and trimmed off the fat. For the beer, I used an Irish ale. I think a lager, brown ale, pilsner, or Scottish ale would pair nicely as well. I added red pepper flakes to the brine so my corned beef would have just a touch of spice. I hope that was not a mistake. (It wasn't)

6 Cups (1,440 ml) of Water
1 1/2 Cups (12 oz/360 ml) of Irish Ale
1 Cup (135 g) of Kosher Salt
1 Cup (218 g) of Light Brown Sugar
6 Cloves of Garlic
1 Tsp of Ground Ginger
1 Stick of Cinnamon, Broken into Pieces
1 Tbsp of Red Pepper Flakes
4 Tbsp of Pickling Spices
2 Bay Leaves
1-2 3 lbs (1.35 kg) Briskets, Trimmed of Fat

Place all of the ingredients except the ice and brisket in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Boiling the brining liquid
Dump several cups of ice into the brining liquid to reduce the heat.
Cooled brining liquid
Pour into a nonreactive container and add the brisket. Place a plate or bowl on top of the brisket so it is completely covered by the brine. Stir every couple of days. Allow to brine for 10 to 14 days.
Brining brisket to turn it into corned beef
The bottom line: will I do this again? Yes. It was better than store bought. It wasn't spicy at all. I cooked it in beer (see Corned Beef and Cabbage Cooked in Beer) This time I used an anchor steam clone that we brewed. The results were delicious. I am so glad that I brined two briskets. The briskets are going to have a grayish pink because artificial coloring was not added. That is normal.

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