Updated April 21, 2009
SOURCE: Adapted from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
YIELD: Approximately 8 servings
for the cure:
1/2 c. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. cracked black peppercorns
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. paprika (or try smoked paprika)
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 lb. beef brisket, trimmed
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns
1 Tbsp. whole mustard seeds
1-1/2 lbs. baby red or baby yukon gold potatoes
1-1/2 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
1 2 lb. head of cabbage, cut into 8 wedges
Spicy deli-style mustard, for serving (I prefer Koscuisko brand for it’s sharp horseradish-y flavor)
1. Cure the brisket. Mix all the salt and spices together in a small bowl. Spear the brisket 30 times on each side with a meat fork or metal skewer. Rub each side evenly with the salt mixture then place it in a ziplock bag, forcing out as much air as possible. Put the brisket on a rimmed baking sheet and cover with a second one. Tape or tie the whole thing together and weigh it down with two bricks or large cans. Refrigerate, weighted, for 5 to 7 days. Rinse and pat the meat dry before cooking.
2. To cook the brisket, add the corned beef, bay leaves, peppercorns, and mustard seeds in a large dutch oven or pot and cover by a 1/2 inch of water. Simmer for 2-3 hours until a fork slides easily into the center of the meat.
3. Transfer the meat and 1 cup of liquid to a baking dish and keep warm in a 200 degree oven while you cook the vegetables. Add the potatoes and carrots to the cooking liquid left in the pot and simmer until they begin to soften (10 minute). Then add the cabbage and simmer 10-15 minutes more or until all the vegetables are cooked.
4. To serve, remove the meat from the liquid and slice against the grain. Arrange the meat on a platter with the cooked vegetables and moisten with additional cooking liquid. Serve with spicy mustard on the side.
Note: Spearing and weighting down the brisket are essential steps for proper curing. I tried this once forgetting these steps and the cure didn’t take so the brisket became rancid. Not pretty nor edible.