[Sca-cooks] Corned beef

Jennifer Carlson talana1 at hotmail.com
Mon Mar 17 17:43:49 PDT 2008

I've just pushed back from a St. Patrick's meal of colcoannon, buttermilk cornbread, and my first home-cured corned beef.  I am sated and happy, and already anticipating the next time I make corned beef.  I also have a question for the list.
To corn a 9.5 lb brisket, I brined it in a gallon of water and 2 cups kosher salt; 1 cup brown sugar; 4 tablespoons saltpeter; 2 cinnamon sticks; 2 teaspoons each mustard seed, black peppercorns, whole allspice, and juniper berries; a dozen cloves; a couple of bay leaves; and a teaspoon ground ginger.  I let it brine ten days before cooking half the meat. The rest is in the freezer.
It came out beautifully, with that lovely red color and a spice taste that didn't overwhelm.  The only issue is the amount of salt - not the taste, but the sodium level.  The husband has to monitor his blood pressure, and this recipe produces what can be only a rare treat for him.
My question is: is ten days necessary to properly brine the meat?  Can I get away with less salt in the brine?  What experiences have others had with making corned beef?
I am SO looking forward to corned beef hash tomorrow morning!
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