Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Laudble Corned-Beef

What came first the Corn Beef or the Pastrami? This one is easy to answer if you know anything about meats and curing. The corned beef came first of course. You cannot have Pastrami without the Corned Beef. 

When I think of corned beef I am reminiscent of my childhood. And I am not talking about the Irish version with cabbage, carrots and potatoes either. Don't get me wrong I love and adore the Irish version but my child memories involve Deli Food and more specifically Katz Jewish Deli food. The Irish version (Americanized Version) and it's non-history with the Irish can be found here "Ireland: Why WE Have No Corned Beef & Cabbage Recipes".

I decided to make corned beef (again and again) for the plain simple reason that I have made so many Pastramis that I would be remiss had I not attempted to make Corned Beef (again). Not that the Corned Beef is keeping track but I for every Corned Beef I have made I made three Pastramis. Of course I am going to Sous-Vide the beef. If you are interested in my Pastramis CLICK HERE. I decided to purchase a brisket from QFC for two reasons. It was convenient and they carry Certified Angus Beef. I know Costco is cheaper but I am not a fan of their meat unless it's prime.  

Here is the brisket all trimmed up. I ended up trimming off about 2 pounds of fat.

I combined the salt and Cure#1 and rubbed it into the meat thoroughly getting into every nook and cranny. 

Instructions for Cure


I took the whole spices and herbs, (Bay leaf, Grains of Paradise, Coriander, Juniper berries, Whole cloves and mustard seeds) and placed them in a dry pan and applied a little heat to them to bring out their essential oils. I then grounded them up in a spice grinder. 

I combined the the ground up spices with the remaining ingredients and applied them to both sides of the meat thoroughly. 

Vacuumed Seal up to cure. Place in refrigerator for 2 weeks flipping it everyday.  

If my previous experience has taught me one thing about brisket and Short Ribs you need to cook the hell out of them. Cooking the hell out of them means what exactly? With my Pastrami's I always use 149˚ƒ for 48 hours (not perfect yet). That being said I knew I was going to smoke it, then steam it.

With Corned Beef I knew I wanted to slice it for sandwiches or use it for Corned Beef Hash. These types of meat have a lot of collagen. You need to find that right combination of heat/time to accomplish your goals. For me it's the breakdown of the collagen, retaining as much moisture as possible and having that perfect texture to slice.

What I found is the time needed to tenderize a piece of meat becomes augmented as the temperature gets lower. In a nutshell increase temp and reduce time. Sounds great right? Not so fast. Increasing temp squeezes out all those juices we love. What to do? We experiment a bunch and eat a whole lot of food. So what to do? If you want a flakier hunk of Corned Beef just cook it at a higher temp for a shorter time. 

If your preference is dense moist meat shoot for a lower temp and more time. So what did I do? Well, I recently made a BBQ Brisket at 135˚ƒ for 48 hours and it was the Bomb!!!!! Well be truth be told I tried this a few weeks ago with my Corned Beef and although it was good it was not perfect. Before that I Sous-Vide my Corned Beef at 149˚ƒ and it was just ok. Similar results to my Pastrami but again not perfect. I wanted a Corned Beef I could call Laudable. Ahhhh.... I took the means of 135˚ƒ and 149˚ƒ and came up with the perfect temp of 142˚ƒ. 

All rinsed and ready for the next step.

Vacuum sealed!!! Ready for the long cook. Sous-Vide set at 142˚ƒ for 48 hours. 

All done, results and review at the bottom. 

Review- Just amazing. I finally did it. At 149˚ƒ it squeezed out too much moisture, at 135˚ƒ the meat was too dense. 142˚ƒ is the perfect temp. The meat was moist and the texture was perfect. Of course the cure was perfect. It was simply the Nirvana of Corned Beef. 

Update 05/19/2017-  still love 142 ˚ƒ but no longer than 40-44 hours.