Homemade 'Corned' Beef Brisket (A Quicker, Low-Sodium Version)
Serves 6 to 8
I love corned beef, but even the lower sodium varieties are high in sodium and preservatives. If you want to brine your own beef in the traditional manner, you still need to add a lot of salt to prevent spoilage. So, as I have done with other foods, such as sauerkraut, sausage and the recipe for hot dogs in the similar and related recipes links, I decided to create a healthier corned beef recipe using all of the traditional seasonings. The meat is not technically 'corned' and, therefore, the resulting texture is not quite the same, but the flavor is just like regular corned beef. If you are on a low-sodium diet or, like me, you just prefer to use less salt, give this a try. By the way, instead of a ten day brining process, this beef takes less than three hours to prepare. What's not to like?
- One beef brisket, about 4 pounds
- One bottle (12-ounces) dark beer (optional)
- Water to cover
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 10 whole cloves
- 10 juniper berries
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dill seeds
- 2 small pieces dried ginger root, or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 6 whole allspice berries, or 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 6 cardamom seeds, or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
Place the brisket in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the beer, water to cover, brown sugar and salt, stirring to combine. Place all the seeds, berries and bay leaves in a piece of cheesecloth and tie with a piece of cooking twine. (If using any ground spices, just stir them into the liquid.) Add the cheesecloth. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer until the meat is fork tender, about 2-1/2 hours. Remove from the pot and thinly slice across the grain. Serve as is with some of the juices and your favorite mustard or horseradish sauce. This also makes wonderful sandwiches.
Notes: If you want to add vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, parsnips and/or cabbage, add them after the meat is tender and simmer for another 30 minutes, or until tender. Use this method to make a traditional corned beef and cabbage dish.