After my musings on charcuterie, I thought this would be a good year to corn my own beef for St. Patrick’s day, so I turned to the internet to find out exactly how to do it. It turns out, there is no exactly how to do it. There are so many vastly conflicting recipes out there, that it seems like no matter what you do, you’ll be more or less on track with someone’s recipe.
Or to put it another way, you can’t screw it up too badly.I found this comforting when I discovered it, because I can’t lie — I was just a little nervous about leaving meat in the fridge for ten days in a plastic bag of greenish liquid and then planning to eat it. But that’s what I’m doing.
After consulting a number of recipes, (I mostly drew from this one, this one, and this one) I began with the above setup. That’s about a cup of kosher salt, a half cup of pickling spices (from the “pickling spices” jar in the bulk spices — I didn’t customize), some carrot and onion, a cup or so of celery juice (apparently a natural alternative to adding nitrates for preserving some pinkness), a cup or so of whey (drained from one quart of yogurt), and about three pounds of beef brisket, all in about four cups of water.
The size of the brisket meant that I couldn’t use a gallon-sized brisket, so I bought the next biggest bag I saw that wasn’t a trash bag. A roasting bag? I did not know such things existed. Looks like a kind of gross way to cook a turkey. But one of them is holding my brisket in the fridge for the next week and a half, and I have another to experiment with. Check back after St. Patrick’s Day to see how it goes!