How To Cure Corned Beef: Time to Cook!

How To Cure Corned Beef: Time to Cook!

Faith Durand
Mar 16, 2009

My home-cured corned beef has been sitting in its brine for a little over a week, and guess what? Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, so it's time to pull out the corned beef and get it ready to cook. This is the first time I have ever cooked corned beef (let alone cured it) so this is all new for me. Are you cooking corned beef today or tomorrow? What's your method? I am actually going to split mine up and cook it two ways, for the sake of scientific experimentation.

I took the corned beef out of its brine bag today and washed it all off. I rinsed the meat several times in cold water, hoping to rinse off most of the extra salt. I also cut one of the pieces in half; you can see how pink it still is inside.

Method 1: Slow Cooker
Half the brisket is going into the slow cooker — my favorite way of cooking brisket. The long, slow cooking helps really make the brisket soft and tender. I put in a few extra spices, similar ones to the brine's mix: bay leaves, juniper berries, mustard, black pepper, and coriander. I also layered in a chopped onion, celery, and a carrot. I poured in a cup of cold water, put on the lid, and set for 10 hours on low. I'll add a quartered cabbage in the last two hours of cooking.

I did, however, shave off a few thin slices to fry — just to see how they tasted. The flavor of the warm curing spices did come through, deliciously, but the meat was also very salty. Uh-oh. I am hoping that cooking mellows the salt taste somewhat, and that the cabbage will also absorb some of the excess salt. But I thought I'd try a second method, while we're at it.

Method 2: Soak all night, simmer tomorrow
I read that one way to remove some excess salt is to soak the rinsed meat for 24 hours before cooking. So I put half the brisket back in the refrigerator in a fresh change of cold water. I'll let it soak overnight, then simmer on the stove it in the traditional way tomorrow.

How do you cook your corned beef, and how do you deal with any excess salt?

How To Cure Corned Beef
How To Cure Corned Beef (In Time for St. Patrick's Day)
How To Make Corned Beef: An Update

(Images: Faith Durand)

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