The Perfect Homemade Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

When St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, there’s nothing quite like the classic combination of corned beef and cabbage. While you can easily buy pre-brined corned beef, why not take on the challenge of making it from scratch? Homemade corned beef is not only incredibly flavorful but also surprisingly easy to make. Plus, it allows you to customize the spices to your liking. So why not give it a try?

The Art of Curing and Pink Salt

To make corned beef, you start with a brisket that is salt-cured with a delicious blend of spices. The name “corned” beef actually comes from the coarse salt grains that were traditionally used to preserve and tenderize the meat. These grains were referred to as “corns of salt.”

There are two methods of curing: wet brining and dry brining. While many recipes call for a wet brine, we opted for a dry brine for both practical and flavor reasons. Dry brining takes up less space in the refrigerator, and it allows the meat to sit in its own liquid, resulting in a more concentrated flavor. To ensure proper curing, we recommend using pink curing salt, also known as prague powder. This special salt prevents the growth of unwanted bacteria, enhances the flavor, and gives the corned beef its characteristic color.

The Perfect Spice Blend

When it comes to the spice blend, feel free to get creative and tailor it to your taste preferences. While we provide a recipe with a mixture of spices, you can certainly experiment and add your own favorite ingredients. Toast the spices in a dry skillet to intensify their flavors and then grind them to a coarse consistency. Combine the spice blend with kosher salt, curing salt, and brown sugar, and rub the mixture onto the meat. Seal the brisket in a plastic bag and let it sit for a week to allow the flavors to meld.

Further reading:  The Irresistible Magic of Lawry's Creamed Corn

Simmer to Perfection

After the curing process, it’s time to cook the corned beef. Rinse the brisket thoroughly to remove excess salt and spices. Place it in a pot and cover it with water. Add onions, garlic, and a mixture of spices for extra flavor. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the brisket, but checking it every hour and adding more water if needed will ensure a tender result.

Serving Suggestions

When it’s time to serve the corned beef, don’t forget the classic accompaniments. Cook cabbage, potatoes, and carrots in the flavorful broth alongside the brisket for the last 30 minutes of cooking. This allows the vegetables to absorb the delicious flavors. Another popular side dish is colcannon, a traditional Irish mashed potato dish with kale.

Leftover corned beef can be used in various ways. Try making corned beef hash or reuben sandwiches for a delicious twist. You can also save the cooking liquid in the freezer to use as a flavorful base for soups and stews in the future.

So why not take the plunge and make your own homemade corned beef this St. Patrick’s Day? It’s a rewarding and surprisingly simple process that will impress your friends and family. Get started on this culinary adventure and enjoy the irresistible flavors of homemade corned beef and cabbage.

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