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pikestabber

Corned Venison / Venison Pastrami

15 posts in this topic

I found a recipe online a few years back that I have modified a bit here and there to suit my tastes. I just did 8 pounds of Pastrami this week (finished yesterday), and it came out better than ever. Pull apart tender and super juicy. It's smoky, sweet, and peppery. You could run it through a slicer, but I just use a good serrated knife and slab it fairly thick for sandwiches (toasted rye, Swiss, and brown mustard is hard to beat).


Thought I'd share the recipe for anyone who wants to make the best lunch meat money can't buy. I didn't do any as corned venison this time around (but that comes out equally well, and corned venison Reubens are killer), but the process is the same for both in terms of the brining and the initial steps. How you finish it determines if you get corned venison (boiled) or pastrami (smoked). Here's a final pic and a couple sample slices with some spicy brown mustard (actually, I had about 93 sample slices before the meat sweats started, then I put the remaining 2 ounces in the fridge). :grin:

 

 

Pastrami.jpg.71b05b2618ebf6a99b9b2d0154b

 

 

Corned Venison / VENISON PASTRAMI

 

  • 4 cups water

  • 3/4 cup Morton Tender Quick

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 3 T. pickling spice

  • 2 T. garlic powder

  • 12 cups cold water

  • 8 pounds boneless venison roast (shoulder or rump)

 

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in the curing mixture, brown sugar, pickling spice, and garlic powder; stir until dissolved then remove from the heat.

 

Pour in 12 cups of cold water and stir. Place venison into the brine inside of doubled-up gallon bags, then into a holding bowl/container in case of leaks; refrigerate.

 

Leave the venison in the refrigerator to brine for 5 days, shaking the bag/turning the meat over every day.

 

 

FOR CORNED VENISON:

Rinse the meat well, place into a large pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer for 4 hours. Remove the venison from the pot and allow it to rest for 30 minutes before slicing.

 

FOR PASTRAMI:

Rinse well, soak for 45 minutes in clean, cold water. Pat dry with paper towels and place on a rack at room temp for 1 hour. Coat well with dry rub* and allow to rest for 15 more minutes. Place in a dried out smoker and cold smoke (apple pellets) for 3-4 hours (smoke under 140 degrees), turning and rotating 1-2 times, or as needed to achieve desired color/bark. Remove pellets and crank temp to 225. Heat until meat reaches internal of 152. Cool on racks.

 

*Dry Rub (for up to 8#s)

  • 1 cup of brown sugar

  • 1 T. ground coriander

  • 1 T. black pepper

  • 1 tsp each:

    • garlic powder

    • onion powder

    • ground mustard

    • paprika

    • chipotle powder (can use cayenne as a substitute)

 

That's it! Obviously both the brine and the rub leave a lot up to interpretation and allow you to customize for your palate (I will try a spicier brine next time to see how that goes). Last year I did 3#s. This year I did 8#s if that is an indication of how much I like this stuff!

Edited by pikestabber

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I have a venison round sitting in my freezer awaiting this exact fate! Hopefully within the next couple of weeks.

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For pastrami a steam finish is popular in delicatessens, but I have wonderful luck with a pressure cooker.  When I do 3 or 4 at once I just use my pressure canner. Not only can you dial in the perfect tenderness, but you get a quart or so of excellent drippings which can be used to dunk a sandwich, or for a reheating liquid.

g132oej.jpg

 

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2 hours ago, thirdeye said:

For pastrami a steam finish is popular in delicatessens, but I have wonderful luck with a pressure cooker.  When I do 3 or 4 at once I just use my pressure canner. Not only can you dial in the perfect tenderness, but you get a quart or so of excellent drippings which can be used to dunk a sandwich, or for a reheating liquid.

g132oej.jpg

 

So pressure cooked after the smoke and to bring up to temp?

I know traditional pastrami is cooked to an internal temp where collagens fall apart, etc. (185-190+ I would guess), but with venison being so lean I feel a pull at 152-155 serves them well. Love the idea of the pressure cooker, though, and that wonderful looking juice.

reinhard1 likes this

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wait till the Pressure Cooker Police on here read this.  I used mine last week and thought I should put a hazmat suit on every time I came near the thing.  Somehow I survived.  Leech~~ has a great photo of a pressure cooker accident :)

 

That really really looks good.

ThunderLund78 and reinhard1 like this

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5 minutes ago, pikestabber said:

So pressure cooked after the smoke and to bring up to temp?

I know traditional pastrami is cooked to an internal temp where collagens fall apart, etc. (185-190+ I would guess), but with venison being so lean I feel a pull at 152-155 serves them well. Love the idea of the pressure cooker, though, and that wonderful looking juice.

Yes... the pressure step is following smoking.  When using corned beef brisket, I'll smoke it until it gets a nice color and reaches an internal temp of 155° or so.  Then it gets the pressure finish, and depending on the thickness, this is 35 to 40 minutes at 13psi and using natural release. The internal temp is usually around 200°, but I feel for tenderness by probing. On occasion I'll have to put the lid back on and bring it back up to pressure for 5 or 6 minutes.  The juice is a nice byproduct.  Sometimes we'll make Reuben soup with sauerkraut and potatoes and the broth is handy for that too.

Since your recipe calls for venison shoulder or rump, you would have a better feel for the doneness/tenderness of venison pastrami mainly because beef brisket, is tougher and really benefits from a finishing step.  If you are satisfied with your tenderness/moistness you might not need a pressure step.  Or if you want just a slight improvement in tenderness, you might only need 10 minutes (just a guess) of pressure time.  Or you might experiment with smoking it at a lower smoker temp and let the pressure cooker do the main cooking. 

The pressure cooker does soften the bark formed from my pastrami rub, but as it cools the bark firms up.  This photo was taken 20 or 30 minutes after pressure finishing.

CRL4IiI.jpg

 

 

 

Dotch likes this

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That looks absolutely yummy. My Mom used to use a pressure cooker on buttercup squash and to this day I can't match the flavor she got out of it using the microwave or baking. The consistency of the end product was incredible. That pressure cooker is still in existence although being a 1950's model would be afraid to use it. The gasket is likely suspect and not sure how the integrity of the pot itself would be after all those years. I have considered buying one but not sure where to start.

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13 minutes ago, leechlake said:

wait till the Pressure Cooker Police on here read this.  I used mine last week and thought I should put a hazmat suit on every time I came near the thing.  Somehow I survived.  Leech~~ has a great photo of a pressure cooker accident :)

 

That really really looks good.

Modern pressure cookers have safety devices, and some even operate at lower pressures (like around 10 or 11 psi).  My smaller ones have a blow-off valve and/or the rubber plug.  My pressure canner has a plug as well as the rocking weight which will begin venting about 1 psi before the particular weight (5, 10, 13, 15 psi).  I've been using them for many, many years and have never had any issues.  Most of my soup stock is made in a pressure cooker and 2 or 3 times a year I can trout or salmon, and do batches with 14 jars (1/2 pint) at a time... just love that stuff.

voi3iC9.jpg

5 minutes ago, Dotch said:

That looks absolutely yummy. My Mom used to use a pressure cooker on buttercup squash and to this day I can't match the flavor she got out of it using the microwave or baking. The consistency of the end product was incredible. That pressure cooker is still in existence although being a 1950's model would be afraid to use it. The gasket is likely suspect and not sure how the integrity of the pot itself would be after all those years. I have considered buying one but not sure where to start.

You would need a new gasket and rubber plug, but those are usually available and fairly cheap.  If it has a gauge, it needs to be calibrated and the county extension office normally does that for you. Actually the older pots usually have thicker bottoms which is a plus.

Dotch likes this

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No gauge and am not certain of the manufacturer. Not terribly large, maybe 12" diameter and she didn't use it to can, only for a few select things like squash and maybe potatoes for mashing. As you mention it was heavy duty. I know there was what appeared to be a valve that screwed onto the top of the center of the lid and as the pressure built the center of that part of it was screwed down tight when in the pressure cooking process. I'll have to take a look at it next time I'm at the farm to see what makes it tick, maybe provide some pics. As I said, it's no spring chicken but if it was somehow deemed safe to use, I wouldn't mind having it. Thanks for your help. :)

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I posted a recipe for "Montreal smoked meat" from some NY Deli.   Basically pastrami the way they do it in Montreal. 

And here is some info about pressure cookers, stove top version, from cook's illustrated. 

Quote

Pressure cookers can be intimidating. Before I began testing them, I had heard countless stories about ­exploding ­cookers—usually ones belonging to someone’s grandmother. This made the whole enterprise seem mysterious and dangerous, or at least very messy. But after spending weeks testing 12 models of pressure cookers, I can report that they are as safe as any other cookware—and definitely worth getting to know. Pressure cookers are surprisingly simple to use and in less than an hour can produce food that tastes as if you spent all day over the stove. You don’t have to tell a soul that your savory, fork-tender pot roast, pulled pork, short ribs, or stew cooked in record time—and most of that time was hands-off. Dried beans are creamy and tender after just 10 minutes under pressure. Risotto needs just 6 minutes under pressure to reach the perfect consistency. Recipes once saved for weekends, or the slow cooker, can be started when you get home from work.

Pressure cookers function based on a very simple principle: In a tightly sealed pot, the boiling point of liquid is higher. As the pot heats up, pressure begins to build. This pressure makes it more difficult for water molecules to turn to vapor—therefore raising the boiling point from 212 to 250 degrees. Why does this matter? The steam generated in the cooker, which can be at temperatures up to 38 degrees higher than what's possible in a normal pot, makes food cook faster. And because the pot stays closed, cooking requires much less liquid than usual, and flavors concentrate. As a bonus, this method also uses less energy: Once pressure is reached, you cook with the heat turned down as low as possible, and cooking times are short.

Pressure cookers have been around for a long time. In 1679, French mathematician and physicist Denis Papin invented the “steam digester,” the earliest-known pressure cooker; still, it wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th century that smaller pressure cookers were introduced for home cooks. After World War II, demand boomed for pressure cookers, and some accounts note that unscrupulous manufacturers made shoddy cookers that were prone to explosions. Older cookers had “jiggle tops” that rattled and puffed while they cooked. Today’s models use spring-loaded valves, which are silent and vent mere wisps of steam when pressurized. In other words, today’s pressure cookers are quieter and simpler and have many more safety features than your grandmother’s cooker did.

Across-the-board improvements over the years didn’t necessarily mean that all models would work equally well, and we wondered what characteristics to look for in a good pressure cooker. They certainly look similar, resembling large metal saucepans or stockpots, but with heavy lids that have removable silicone rings, called sealing gaskets, around their inner rims. We selected sturdy, nonreactive stainless steel over aluminum cookers and came up with eight stovetop cookers—most with an 8-quart capacity—from a wallet-friendly $65 or so to a whopping $280. (We tested four electric pressure cookers separately. Ultimately, we preferred the stovetop models. See “Electric Pressure Cookers” under related content.) We used each of the models to prepare risotto; chicken stock; beef stew; Boston baked beans; and thick, meaty tomato sauce with pork ribs. Since plenty of recipes call for sautéing food in the bottom of the pot before sealing the lid for pressure cooking, we checked evenness of browning by cooking crêpes in the pan bottoms.

Sizing Them Up

While 6-quart cookers are popular, we soon realized the value of more capacity. First, you must never fill a pressure cooker more than two-thirds of the way (lines indicate the maximum level), which limits the available space. Some recipes don’t fit in 6-quart cookers, including ours for chicken stock (for our test, we had to cut down the recipe). And if you can make 3 quarts of stock in the same time it takes to make 2 quarts, why not buy a pot that allows you to produce a bigger quantity?

The shape of the pot was equally important. Low, wide cookers provided a generous cooking surface, helping food brown thoroughly and efficiently before the cook closes the pot. Wide pots also let us brown meat in fewer batches. And testers found this shape easier to see and reach into while ­working. The narrowest among our cookers was a mere 6 1/8 inches across; most were around 7 1/2 inches, but the best performers had interior cooking surfaces of 9 inches in diameter—almost as much space as you get across the bottom of a 12-inch skillet.

But shape plays another role: Stovetop pressure cookers are made with a thick metal disk base (an aluminum disk covered by stainless steel, attached to the pan bottom) to retain and regulate heat. Every manufacturer warns that you must keep the heat source directly under that disk, since flames licking up the sides of the pot will damage the locking mechanisms in the handles and the sealing gasket around the rim. Trouble is, because that disk base is expensive to make, manufacturers keep it as small as possible: In many of our models, the disks were even smaller than the bases of the pots, which ballooned out over the burner. In these models food routinely scorched wherever the base did not shield it from direct heat, and later we spent more time scrubbing those pots clean. Using a smaller flame under a smaller disk also means the pot heats up more slowly, taking minutes longer to reach pressure—minutes that you’ll need to wait by the stove. Straight-sided pots with broad disks performed best in our cooking tests, and cleanup was easier with them.

This leads us to the next point: steady heating. With stovetop cookers, you bring the contents up to a boil, wait for the pressure indicator to show that it’s at high pressure, and then turn down the heat as low as possible while maintaining pressure. This operation was dead easy with some pots but tricky with other models, in which the pressure tended to drop after we turned down the heat, forcing us to hover, adjusting it up and down like a yo-yo. Cookers whose pressure dropped too readily produced meat, beans, and rice that were not sufficiently tender by the end of the cooking time; after tasting these, we had to close the pot and bring it back to pressure for several minutes to finish the job, introducing guesswork. What made the difference? The bottom thickness of the cookers ranged from 4.64 millimeters to 7.24 millimeters. The top two performers were the thickest, both more than 7 millimeters thick. These cookers’ wide, thick bottoms retained heat well, resulting in quickly reaching pressure, followed by steady, hands-off cooking.

In pressure-cooker recipes, cooking times begin only after you reach the desired pressure, which is indicated with a pop-up stick or button on the cooker. Maddeningly, some manufacturers set these indicators deep in a hole, making us lean over the cooker to see them, while others were confusing to interpret. The best models had pressure indicators that were brightly colored, prominently raised, and easy to read at a glance from several feet away.

Getting Steamed

Pressure cookers always require a minimal amount of liquid in order to generate the steam that cooks the food. As the cookers heat up, valves in their lids generally release a trickle of steam right until the moment they come to pressure, but a few continued venting lightly throughout cooking. Cookers that allow less evaporation are less prone to scorch during cooking from loss of liquid. Though evaporation loss didn’t affect the final quality of the particular dishes we tested, it can be an issue in recipes that call for only a small amount of liquid. Therefore, we gave points to models with little evaporative loss. When we heated 32 ounces of water for an hour at high pressure, the average loss was just more than 2 ounces. But one model lost 5.6 ounces—more than 1/2 cup of water, or 17.5 percent of the total. Many of our preferred models, on the other hand, evaporated only 0.8 ounce.

Finally, we measured the temperature reached by each cooker at high pressure—after all, temperature correlates directly with pressure. “High pressure” for a pressure cooker is considered to be 15 pounds per square inch (psi) above atmospheric pressure, which is reached when the liquid in the cooker is boiling at 250 degrees. The majority of pressure-cooker recipes call for this standard. But most of these cookers never achieved that temperature. We boiled water for 30 minutes at high pressure with each model and measured the internal temperature. We found that our three top-performing cookers reached or came closest to 250 degrees, but as we went down the lineup, cookers’ top temperatures steadily declined: The lowest reached only 230 degrees, which is 6 psi. (The bottom-ranked cooker was the exception—it failed on other factors.) It was no great mystery, then, why we’d found the cooking results less satisfying in our bottom-ranking models. Food wasn’t fully cooked at the designated time in these pots, forcing us to close the lid and repressurize, unsure how much longer to cook. (One took 10 extra minutes, adding almost 50 percent to the original cooking time.)

After testing was complete, we had a clear winner. Sturdily built, with a low and wide profile, steady heating, an easily monitored pressure indicator, a convenient automatically locking lid, and low evaporation, this cooker was a pleasure to use and produced perfect finished dishes. It was also the only cooker in our testing to reach 250 degrees, or 15 psi, at high pressure, so it should perform accurately in all standard pressure-cooker recipes. But at its price, it’s an investment. Our Best Buy performed nearly as well at a fraction of the price. It is similar in shape and size to our winner, and while it’s not as expensively constructed (it is lighter and feels more “economy”) and its peak temperature under pressure fell slightly short of the 250-degree target, its cooking results were very good. Above all, it’s easy to operate, even if you’re new to pressure cooking.

METHODOLOGY:

We tested eight stovetop pressure cookers. They are listed in order of preference. All were purchased online.

Weight: We measured the total weight of each cooker with its lid.

Bottom Thickness: We measured the thickness of the bottoms of the cooking pots. Thicker bottoms generally held more heat for steadier cooking under pressure.

Cooking Surface Diameter: We measured inside across the bottom, indicating actual space for cooking.

Highest Temperature: We measured the temperature inside the cooker under high pressure for 30 minutes and noted the peak temperature reached. Because temperature is directly related to pressure, this indicates the pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure generated by each cooker. Since recipes calling for “high pressure” are designed to cook at 15 psi, which is achieved at 250 degrees, pots that could reach 250 degrees were rated higher.

Cooking: We prepared our pressure-cooker recipes for risotto, Boston baked beans, chicken stock, a meaty tomato sauce with pork, and beef stew, rating the dishes’ tastes and textures and the cookers’ steadiness of heating and evenness of browning (which we also checked by making crêpes). 

Ease of Use: We evaluated shape, size, weight, and handle comfort; the design of locking mechanisms, pressure indicators, and steam-release mechanisms; cleanup; and other features that enhance user-friendliness.

Evaporation Loss: We added 2 pounds of water to each cooker, weighed the whole cooker with water inside, and boiled it at high pressure for 1 hour, checking the weight at 20, 40, and 60 minutes to determine the amount of water that had evaporated. Cookers with lower evaporation levels rated higher.

 

Winner
Highly Recommended
Fissler Vitaquick 8½-Quart Pressure Cooker

Fissler Vitaquick 8½-Quart Pressure Cooker

 

Solidly constructed, with a low, wide profile that made browning food easy, this well-engineered cooker has an automatic lock and an easy-to-monitor pressure valve. The only cooker to reach 250 degrees at high pressure, it cooked food to perfection in the time range suggested by the recipes.

 

 

  • Weight
    8.95 lbs.
  • Bottom Thickness
    7.24 mm
  • Evaporation Loss
    (0.8 oz)
  • Highest Temperature
    253 degrees
  • Cooking Surface Diameter
    9 in
Model Number 600 700N 08 079
 
Best Buy Highly Recommended
Fagor Duo 8-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker

Fagor Duo 8-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker

 

Performing much like our winner at a fraction of the price (though lighter and less smooth to latch), this cooker has low sides and a broad cooking surface; its pressure indicator and dial are easy to monitor. Falling just short of the 250-degree target, it performs well nonetheless.

 

 

  • Weight
    6.85 lbs.
  • Bottom Thickness
    7.15 mm
  • Evaporation Loss
    (0.8 oz)
  • Highest Temperature
    246 degrees
  • Cooking Surface Diameter
    9 in
  • Model Number
    918060787
 
(lower rated ones not posted)

 

reinhard1 and Dotch like this

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Of all the stuff I have made over the years this is one thing I haven't made yet.  I'm going to do this right after my Canadian Bacon is finished this week.  That Pastrami looks wonderfull!!!  good luck.

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That is a thorough article, and one area they failed to address is the fact that pressure cookers are very handy at high altitudes.  Early on the article references the boiling point of water at 212°, which is correct for sea level... but at my house (5400'), water boils at   202°.  If I lived at the top of Pikes Peak (14,000'), water would boil at 187°.   So for me, two of my pressure cookers raise my boiling temp to around 240°.  I have one that operates at a lower maximum psi, but still gives me something like 225°.  To compensate, the basic formula is "for every 1000' above 2000', cooking time is increased by 5%.   

For pressure canners, when used for canning, the same is true and there is a correction factor to use for standard recipes. For example,  I adjust my pressure to 13psi  when a proven recipe calls for 10psi.

Edited by thirdeye
reinhard1 likes this

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The new issue of cook's illustrated had article on home made corned beef.  Without further ado, here it is.  Might be in a few installments. 

Quote
landscape_hero_desktop_2x_CAN_Corned_Bee
Once you find the right curing method, corning beef requires no work, just time. And the results are superb.
detail_SFS_home_corned_beef_with_vegetab
Get the RecipeHomemade Corned Beef

What Success Would Look Like

  • Well-Seasoned, Evenly Cured Meat

  • Easy, Hands-Off Preparation

  • Flavorful, Crisp-Tender Vegetables

The trick would be figuring out just the right curing formula and length of time to produce tender, well-seasoned meat.

You can make a decent corned beef dinner by buying a corned beef brisket, simmering it in a big pot of water for a few hours, and adding carrots, potatoes, and cabbage at the end of cooking so they soak up some of the seasoned liquid. But you can make a superb corned beef if you skip the commercially made stuff and “corn” the meat yourself. (The Old English term refers to the “corns,” or kernels of salt, used to cure the meat for preservation.) When this curing process is done properly, the meat isn’t just generically salty (or overly salty, as commercial versions often are). It’s seasoned but balanced, with complex flavor thanks to the presence of aromatics and spices. And although the process takes several days, it’s almost entirely hands-off.

I’d never corned beef but had always wanted to try. In addition to having an easy one-dish meal for serving a crowd, I could use the leftover corned beef in sandwiches and hash. The trick would be figuring out just the right curing formula and length of time to produce tender, well-seasoned meat.

In Search of a Cure

I knew I’d be using a flat-cut brisket, the most common cut for corned beef. As for the curing method, I had two options: wet or dry. Wet curing works much like brining: You submerge the meat in a solution of table and curing, or “pink,” salt (more on that later) and water along with seasonings. Over time, the salt penetrates the meat, seasoning it and altering its proteins so that they retain moisture. Dry curing works more like salting: The meat gets rubbed with the salt mixture and seasonings, wrapped in plastic wrap, and weighed down with a heavy plate or pot. As the meat sits, the salt draws water out of it, creating a superconcentrated brine. To expose all of the meat to the brine, the meat is flipped daily. Whichever approach you use, the cured brisket gets simmered in water to break down its abundant collagen, the connective tissue that converts to gelatin during cooking and coats the meat fibers so that they appear more tender and juicy.

In one of her earliest tests, associate editor Lan Lam tested both dry- and wet-curing the brisket to see which method was easiest and most efficient. In one of her earliest tests, associate editor Lan Lam tested both dry- and wet-curing the brisket to see which method was easiest and most efficient.

I tried both methods, wet-curing one 5-pound flat-cut brisket for seven days and dry-curing another for 10, the average length of time for each method that I found in recipes, to see how the flavor of the cured meats would differ. (For now, I left out the pink salt and seasonings.) I placed each in a Dutch oven with water and simmered them for 5 hours, which was a bit fussy since I had to adjust the stove dial to ensure gentle heat. The briskets tasted virtually the same, so I moved ahead with the wet cure, which was considerably faster and easier, with no need for daily flipping.

(Not Just) Pretty in Pink

Now for the pink salt. This specialty product (which is dyed pink to distinguish it from conventional salt) is a mixture of sodium chloride (table salt) and sodium nitrite. Only a small amount, combined with conventional table salt, is needed for curing. Nitrites prevent the oxidation of fats, which would otherwise lead to off-flavors and certain types of bacterial growth, especially Clostridium botulinum. Hence, their preservative effect. They’re also responsible for the attractive pink color of cured meats.

Since I wasn’t relying on the pink salt for preservation, I wanted to confirm that it improved the flavor of the brisket, not just its color. I cured one with pink salt and one without and then offered both up to blindfolded tasters. The results were close, but the majority of tasters preferred the flavor of the pink salt batch. Plus, once the blindfolds came off, every single taster preferred the rosy-hued meat. With that, I knew pink salt was a must.

Can You Taste the Pink?

landscape_hero_mobile_CAN_Corned_Beef_16
 
portrait_two_up_mobile_CAN_Corned_Beef_0
portrait_two_up_mobile_CAN_Corned_Beef_0
 
 

Pink salt (a mixture of table salt and sodium nitrite and, depending on the type, also sodium nitrate) has been used since the early 1900s to cure meat and is also what gives the meat its rosy color. (Prior to this, saltpeter, or potassium nitrate, had been used for curing since the Middle Ages.) But does it make the meat taste better? When we blindfolded tasters and asked them to sample briskets that had been cured with and without pink salt, most preferred the pink salt sample. Its flavor was “cleaner,” whereas the other batch tasted more like plain “boiled beef.”

About the safety of pink salt: Nitrites have gotten a bad rap in recent years for being unhealthy. However, the Centers for Disease Control reports that more than 90 percent of the nitrates we consume (which convert to nitrites in the body) occur naturally in vegetables and our drinking water.

 
 

Finally, the seasonings: garlic cloves, allspice berries, bay leaves, coriander seeds, and brown sugar— the flavors of which truly put the meat a notch above commercial corned beef.

As for how long to cure the meat, I’d been following recipes from my research that called for seven days, but others called for as few as four—and both seemed rather arbitrary. I wanted a more precise method to determine when the meat was thoroughly cured, and I realized that the pink salt could help.

I started another batch and removed a sample of the core from the brisket each day, simmering them (the meat’s color only changes when it’s cooked) and looking for the point at which the center of the meat turned distinctly pink. The pink crept inward about ¼ inch per day. For the 2½- to 3-inch briskets I was using, that meant a six-day cure was the answer.

Calculating a Cure to the Core

By removing and simmering a core sample of the brisket each day, we learned that the pink color—the indication that the meat was cured—moved inward ¼ inch per day on all sides. Thus, a brisket that was 2½ to 3 inches thick required six days to thoroughly cure.


CornedBeef_6-days.gif`
 
 

Slow and Steady

I wanted to try simmering the brisket in the oven, a method we often use when braising meat because the heat is more gentle and even. Waiting for the water to come to a boil in the oven would greatly prolong the cooking time, so I added the meat (rinsed first to remove the loose spices) and brought the water to a simmer on the stove before moving the pot to a 275-degree oven.

Three hours later, the brisket was fork-tender, at which point I transferred it to a platter to rest, ladling over some of the cooking liquid to keep it moist. Then I moved the pot back to the stove and cooked the vegetables in the meaty liquid: carrots and red potatoes (added first so they cooked through) as well as cabbage wedges. As they simmered, I sliced the brisket thinly against the grain to ensure that each bite would be tender.

Texturally, the meat and vegetables were spot-on, but both components tasted a tad washed-out, so I added a cheesecloth bundle of more garlic and curing spices to the cooking liquid (the cheesecloth meant I didn’t have to pluck out any stray spices). This added subtle but clear depth to the dish, which was as impressive-looking as it had been easy to prepare—and so very worth making from scratch.

Keys to Success

  • Well-Seasoned, Evenly Cured Meat

    The brisket cures in a mixture of water, table salt, pink salt, brown sugar, garlic, and spices for six days, which gives the seasonings enough time to penetrate to the center.
  • Easy, Hands-Off Preparation

    Unlike a dry cure, which requires flipping the meat regularly to expose it to the small amount of brine, a wet cure doesn’t require daily maintenance.
  • Flavorful, Crisp-Tender Vegetables

    While the corned beef rests, we briefly simmer cabbage, potatoes, and carrots in the meaty cooking liquid, which seasons them thoroughly.

 

And now, ta da, the recipe.  

Probably get merged but I tried.....

Quote

ingredients

Corned Beef

1(4 ½- to 5-pound) beef brisket, flat cut
¾cup salt
2teaspoons pink curing salt #1
6 garlic cloves, peeled
6 bay leaves
5 allspice berries
2tablespoons peppercorns
1tablespoon coriander seeds

Vegetables

6 carrots, peeled, halved crosswise, thick ends halved lengthwise
1 ½pounds small red potatoes, unpeeled
1head green cabbage (2 pounds), uncored, cut into 8 wedges
 
 

instructionsServes 8 to 10

Pink curing salt #1, which can be purchased online or in stores specializing in meat curing, is a mixture of table salt and nitrites; it is also called Prague Powder #1, Insta Cure #1, or DQ Curing Salt #1. In addition to the pink salt, we use table salt here. If using Diamond Crystal kosher salt, increase the salt to 1 1/2 cups; if using Morton kosher salt, increase to 1 1/8 cups. This recipe requires six days to corn the beef, and you will need cheesecloth. Look for a uniformly thick brisket to ensure that the beef cures evenly. The brisket will look gray after curing but will turn pink once cooked.

1. FOR THE CORNED BEEF: Trim fat on surface of brisket to 1/8 inch. Dissolve salt, sugar, and curing salt in 4 quarts water in large container. Add brisket, 3 garlic cloves, 4 bay leaves, allspice berries, 1 tablespoon peppercorns, and coriander seeds to brine. Weigh brisket down with plate, cover, and refrigerate for 6 days.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 275 degrees. Remove brisket from brine, rinse, and pat dry with paper towels. Cut 8-inch square triple thickness of cheesecloth. Place remaining 3 garlic cloves, remaining 2 bay leaves, and remaining 1 tablespoon peppercorns in center of cheesecloth and tie into bundle with kitchen twine. Place brisket, spice bundle, and 2 quarts water in Dutch oven. (Brisket may not lie flat but will shrink slightly as it cooks.)

3. Bring to simmer over high heat, cover, and transfer to oven. Cook until fork inserted into thickest part of brisket slides in and out with ease, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

4. Remove pot from oven and turn off oven. Transfer brisket to large ovensafe platter, ladle 1 cup of cooking liquid over meat, cover, and return to oven to keep warm.

5. FOR THE VEGETABLES: Add carrots and potatoes to pot and bring to simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until vegetables begin to soften, 7 to 10 minutes.

6. Add cabbage to pot, increase heat to high, and return to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until all vegetables are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

7. While vegetables cook, transfer beef to cutting board and slice 1/4 inch thick against grain. Return beef to platter. Using slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to platter with beef. Moisten with additional broth and serve.

 

reinhard1 likes this

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