Corned beef at the beginning of the process

I think this heat is frying my brain. I’ve been thinking about what I can make at the next muster and have been toying with the idea of even entering the  cooking contest at Davy Crockett birthplace in three weeks. I remember when I judged it and the winner was chicken soup. I tasted some amazing things but other than disgusting Scotch eggs (they were good, just the whole idea of hardboiled eggs wrapped in some kind of force meat and fried turns me OFF), nothing is different. Well you know me, I’m game to try anything.

I’ve got two venison roasts sitting in Mike’s freezer begging to be cooked. I got a wild hare and thought- CORNED VENISON. What’s more period than preserving one’s own meat?  I’m going to try it with the smaller piece and see if  it works. The only thing is I can’t find salt peter anywhere or even Morton’s pink salt. Nitrates aren’t necessary to corn a piece of meat but it gives the meat that distinctive red color. I’m sure there’s a way around it and I ‘ll let you know how it’s coming.

For the recipe, I am relying on Food Channel’s cooking guru, Alton Brown’s recipe. He uses salt peter but I’m going to leave it out. I’ve read other recipes and the key is the salt to break down the protien and draw out the water in the meat .

Corning the Beef Brisket

1 (4- to 5-lb) beef brisket, trimmed
2 quarts water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
8 whole cloves
8 whole allspice berries
12 whole juniper berries
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 pounds ice (optional)

Place the water into a large stockpot along with salt, sugar, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, juniper berries, bay leaves and ginger. Cook over high heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved. The aromatic fragrance of the spices is simply amazing.

Remove from the heat and add the ice.  Stir until the ice has melted.  Ice is added to cool down the solution but you can totally skip this and just refrigerate the brine until it reaches a temperature of 45 degrees F.

Once it has cooled, place the brisket in a 2-gallon zip top bag and add the brine.  Seal and lay flat inside a container, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 10 days.   Check daily to make sure the beef is completely submerged and stir the brine. If you don’t have a huge zip top bag, brine the brisket in a large tupperware container and make sure to flip the brisket each day to make sure that all of the brisket comes in contact with the brine.