Corned Beef (Home Cured)
1 large (4-5 lb) flat cut brisket
2 quarts water
2 lbs ice
1 package Inland Empire Spice Corned Beef Seasoning & Cure
Special Mix of Spices:
1 tsp fresh chopped ginger
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3 bay leaves
2 inches cinnamon stick, broken in pieces (Indian flat cinnamon preferred)
12 whole juniper berries
8 whole allspice berries
3 whole cloves
1 star anise star
Vegetables to cook with the corned beef (optional--not needed if you're making corned beef to slice for sandwiches, great if you are making corned beef for dinner.)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1/2 head cabbage, coarsely chopped
To make the brine:
Place 2 quarts of water in a 6-8 quart stock pot and start to heat. Add the corned beef seasoning and quick cure from the IES pouch and stir. While this mixture heats, crumble the special mix of spices into a small bowl and mix together. Add these to the brine. Heat the brine until all the salt and sugar from the seasoning mix have dissolved, and the brine is gently steaming. No need to bring to a full boil. Remove from heat and add ice, stirring until all the ice melts. Place the pot with the brine in the refrigerator and continue to cool until it is below 45 degrees F.
Prepare your brisket by rinsing under cold water and trimming excess fat. (Leave some fat on the "fat side" of the brisket, to help keep the meat from getting tough.) Use a fork to poke holes through the fat on the fat side, so the brine can penetrate more easily. Place the brisket in a 2.5-gallon ziplock bag, and pour the chilled brine in as well. Zip seal the bag very well. Place the bag in a large plastic container with a lid (to catch leaks from the bag.) Cover and refrigerate for 10 days, flipping once daily to ensure that the brine concentration stays consistent and all parts of the brisket remain submerged.
After 10 days, it's decision time. Are you making corned beef to slice for sandwiches? Or are you making corned beef and cabbage as a traditional St. Patty's Day Meal?
While you are deciding, remove the cured brisket from the brine and discard the brine. Rinse the brisket under cold water. If your brisket is HUGE, or you are indecisive, cut it in two pieces and make BOTH versions below.
If you want corned beef for sandwiches, put the brisket in a large stock pot, cover with water until covered by at least one inch, and heat to boiling. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for three hours. Remove the corned beef to a cutting board and let it rest for about 10 minutes, then slice as needed for sandwiches.
If you are after falling-apart tender corned beef and vegetables, add the brined brisket to a slow cooker and cook on low all day, a minimum of 8 hours. For the last 2 hours, add any vegetables you want, such as those listed above. When everything smells and looks done, remove the corned beef and slice, then serve immediately with the cooked vegetables.