Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Home Cured Corned Beef Without Nitrates

I loathe corned beef, and that is not an exaggeration. My father was a wholesale food distributor and we ate tons of preserved meat over the years. I don't think I will ever eat another hot dog-I don't think I could.

My husband loves corned beef with the same intensity that I hate it. Once or twice a year I hold my breath, open the windows and make him a boiled supper. This year, I decided to see if brining my own would cut down on that god-awful smell. It didn't, but it was considerably healthier without the use of curing salt (it is optional in the recipe) and actually looked better without that fake pinkness that I associate with the stuff we were fed a consistent diet of growing up in Chicago (the hot dogs look the same). The colour was actually pretty good, even with the lack of curing salt. It wasn't pink, but it wasn't exactly grey either.

I found the recipe at The Bitten Word, and they found it at Martha Stewart. I'm linking to the guys at The Bitten Word because I like them better, and I still owe them for the rest of my life for that soaked coffee trick. They preferred corned beef pink and used the curing salt, but i won't hold that against them as they didn't grow up in Chicago with a father that was a food distributor. Have I mentioned I can't be in the same room with someone eating dill pickles? What can I say, good thing I moved, eh?

So the corned beef was enjoyed and appreciated (it had better be) by Mr. Eat The Blog, who you will remember, purchased the brisket for me as a mother's day gift because he couldn't find any mutton. I took a pass on it, but I don't think he will have any difficulty finishing it off.

Since this worked so well with brisket, I suppose the next logical project is tongue. Cured tongue is actually much better than corned beef, but I'm having difficulty convincing Mr. Eat The Blog of it. Anyway, if you have a corned beef lover at home this will pretty much knock their socks off, and if you have someone that can't tolerate a nitrate cure, this makes a good substitute.


ToniLen said...

You're cooking it wrong. Who boils Corn beef? In my family, we roast corn beef in the oven covered in foil for the first 50 minutes with half cup of water, fresh garlic cloves and potatoes & carrots around the sides of the glass pan -drizzle olive oil over meant and veggies.

After 50 min take the foil off and cook another 20 minutes. Very delicious!

Goody said...

I suspect the term, "Boiled supper" would reflect a number of people who boil a corned beef ;)

Now that you mention it though, your treatment of it sounds like my mother's plain old brisket, save for the olive oil which was only used for medicinal purposes in our corner of the world in those days.

Something to try though, so thanks for the directions.