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Corned Beef help needed

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I am over-seas and I want to make my own corned beef. The problem is that I no longer have access to the "cure" that I used back home. Please don't give me a brand name to use because they woun't have it here. What I need is the name of the chemical that both cures the meat and keeps it red during cooking. Also, the amount needed to cure the meat would be helpful. Thanks
post #2 of 4
"Corned Beef" isn't made today the way it was in the beginning. I understand what you mean about avoiding suggestions of brand name items. That can be aggravating when you're in an area where a specific brand doesn't mean anything to the locals.
http://www.recipeland.com/recipe/31229/ has a recipe for corned beef that doesn't make brand name ingredients. Also, it doesn't call for those nasty chemicals.
You might also get something out of these sites:

http://www.kitchenproject.com/history/CornedBeef.htm

http://waltonfeed.com/old/brine.html
My failures in life are few. The most blatant of these is my attempts at retirement. I've studied the process carefully but cannot begin to understand how it is done.
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My failures in life are few. The most blatant of these is my attempts at retirement. I've studied the process carefully but cannot begin to understand how it is done.
Reply
post #3 of 4
I don't have a recipe, but the name of the chemical that keeps the meat pink is sodium nitrate.

From what I understand, saltpeter (potassium nitrate) will perform the same task, but it's a little trickier to use.

There are loads of recipes floating around. I have yet to find one that I'm happy with. All I want is a supermarket style corned beef and all the recipes I come across add ingredients that aren't in the stuff I buy in the store- namely garlic and brown sugar.

I think it's just brisket, salt, sodium nitrate and pickling spices, but how much, I have no idea.
post #4 of 4

Corned Beef

While I have used my mom's recipe for corning beef in brine in a crock, we have largely switched over to Julie Child's recipe ("Julia Child & Company", 1978) or its modification by the Cook's Illustrated folks. It does its curing in a plastic bag in the 'frig and does not include the nitrite/nitrate mixture used to preserve color and prevent bottulism (the latter is avoided by the refrigeration).

Julia's cure mixture calls for 1-1/3 cups kosher salt, 3 tbsp granulated sugar, 1 tbsp cracked peppercorns, 2 tsp each powdered allspice and thyme, and 1 tsp each of powdered sage, paprika, and bay leaf. This is enough for 10 to 12 pounds (4.5 to 5.5 kilos) of beef. She also likes to use with this an optional mixture of 1/2 cup each minced rutabaga, onion, and carrot, and 2 large minced garlic cloves.

In brief, one rubs the spice mixture well into the meat and places each piece in a sturdy plastic bag, squeezing out the air and adding the optional veggies. Place the sealed bag in a dish (leakage insurance), weight it down, and pop it into the refrigerator. Turn the bag(s) and massage each day, curing for a minimum of two weeks, but up to a month (this is skiwer than a "wet" cure). Before cooking rinse and soak the meat to remove excess salt.

The meat will be brown or sort of gray. If you must have red, you should really buy a cure mixture (like Morton's), not mix your own, as the nitrate/nitrites are poisonous in the wrong quantities. Also, these chemicals can generate carcinogenic nitrosoamines on cooking, though boiling--the usual corned beef prep--is less likely to do so.
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