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Lots of corned beef questions...

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, I've been researching how to cure corned beef brisket for awhile now (including searching through these forums) and it seems like the more info I get the more unsure I am of what route I want to go. Please help! Here are my questions...

Cut of brisket....I haven't been able to get a clear answer as to what cut to go with....point, flat, or the entire thing.

Wet/Dry Cure....I have the capability to do both but haven't been able to figure out if one method is better than the other.

Cure Time.....for both wet and dry curing methods I've seen times from as short as 2 days to as long as 3 weeks. Is there a general timeframe (1 day per pound, for example)?

And, when it comes time to boil/cook the corned beef, is it necessary to rinse the cure off the meat. And if it is, do folks then season the boil water?
post #2 of 12
I have to tell you, I also looked into doing my own corned beef cause it just seemed like a good idea. I got to locating all the ingredients and then I got to the saltpeter (potassium nitrate). Seems there aren't a lot of places to buy that stuff. Sure, you could do without it, but who wants a gray brisket?

Too easy to go to the store and buy the corned beef brisket and boil it up with the packet that comes with it.
post #3 of 12
No help here on the curing,

but -

Why would you boil it to cook it? Why not roast it or - even better - slow smoke it?

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Oh I am not against smoking it, believe me! It's my understanding that once it's cured, the only difference between corned beef and pastrami is boiling vs. smoking. That's why most of my questions are regarding the curing process.

We've got a grocery store here in town that does have Morton's Tenderquick, btw.
post #5 of 12
There's a little more difference than simply smoking. I've smoked a few corned beef briskets (I just buy the packaged ones) and they taste like - well - smoked corned beef. To make "cheater pastrami" you need to do a little more to it, like packing it (i.e. THICK rub) in spices in addition to smoking it. The spices start with ground coriander and black pepper and then whatever you do to zing it up. Plus, you need to soak a corned beef in clear water to draw some of the salt taste out of it before coating it and smoking it.

Additionally, pastrami is traditionally cold smoked.

If you haven't smoked a corned beef for dinner, you should definitely try it. Just buy a packaged one, smoke it at 225F for 1 hour per pound, foil it, and then back in for another 1 hour per pound at 225. Rest it and then just pass out from the velvety yumminess.

The one above started at 4.3 lbs in the package; I did it for 4.5 hours/4.5 hours (9 hours total) with hickory. Man was it great. Doing another one soon.
post #6 of 12
I use Ryteks corn beef cure recipe out of his book
you can use whole briskets or rump or top round roasts are whatever cut you like
once you have the corned beef done you can roast it and the slice it thin like deli meat for samies, or boil it for corn beef and cabbage , or season it up and smoke it for the best pastrami you have ever eaten!
the choices are endless.
Rytek's recipe for his brined corned beef is spot on and delicious!
post #7 of 12
I have to wet brine for corned beef and then you just smoke it for pastrami. Now I got the recipe off the food network for the wet brine and I let it soak for about 7-10 days the longer the better for me. I also use the whole entire brisket also or the corned beef.
post #8 of 12
You can turn any cut of meat into corned beef I use any Brisket on sale or Venison


5 qts Ice water
¾ cup kosher salt
1/3 cup instacure no 1
½ cup powdered dextrose
½ cup pickling spice

Submerge meat in brine and refrigerate Meat not over 3” thick will cure in about 3 days(72hrs.) add 24 hrs. for each additional inch of thickness.
By injecting brine it will cut the curing time . I usually inject to be sure.

To turn into pastrami I mix
1 tablespoon of coriander
1 tablespoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of black pepper. Or more.
Mix together and rub into corned meat.
Start at 130 for about an hour, then bake/smoker at 220 degrees till internal temp reads 175-180. cool at room temp for 1-2 hours, then refrigerate overnight and slice.
post #9 of 12
I have a brisket going at the moment for corned beef. I followed a great tutorial that Rivet did a while back.


Made the injection liquid and then rubbed with his spice mix and TQ. Only thing I changed was to add some ground juniper berries to the rub. Been in the fridge dry curing for 3 days now and smells great. Plan to go 7 days. This was a small packer and I separated the point from the flat, but am curing both.

Regarding cure time - that is a dry cure using a curing salt like TQ or Instacure 1, this has been posted many times on this forum. This version is from ShooterRick:

This is what I do. Total thickness of the meat top to bottom, as it rests in the pan. Divide this by 2 and now you have the radius. Radius / .25 = sum in days + 2= total days cure.

Translation LOL: Lets say radius is 2.50 inches. Divide this by .25 = 10 + 2 for saftety = 12 days cure. 10 days would be the absolute minimum for this thickness of cut.

This would be using a dry cure. Using a brine cure, I have seen curing times anywhere from 3 weeks to 35 days. I have not tried this. Maybe others can help here.

By the way, somebody mentioned saltpeter - nobody uses this (potassium nitrate) - it has been replaced by sodium nitrite or nitrate or both.

I have not worried about cooking the corned beef, as I will likely add a rub and smoke for Pastrami.

Hope this helps. Looking forward to my first one and hearing about yours.
post #10 of 12
If you wanna see some a really interesting and tasty looking cured corned meat for pastrami trial, check this out:

post #11 of 12
My dad would take any leftover roasts (boneless rump, rolled rib, briskets, even chuck roll) and put into the brine and let soak for 3 weeks then take out and sell for corned beef. You'd boil it with cabbage, carrots, potatoes, onions, etc. Yum!
post #12 of 12
Use sodium nitrite (cure 1, or prague powder 1)

We don't use saltpeter for years now.
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