Salt beef, more commonly known in the US as corned beef, is a type of beef that has been preserved in a brine solution. This method of food preservation has been known for centuries, and salt beef was once a staple of the British Navy. In the US this dish was originally introduced by Eastern European Jewish immigrants. It was later adopted by Irish immigrants as a traditional food to be eaten on St. Patrick's Day, usually with a side of boiled cabbage. If you would like to try making this at home, you can do so fairly easily. Keep in mind that, f you want to have it ready in time for March 17th, you'll need to start making it around the end of February because salt (corned) beef takes about three weeks to cure.
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Things you need
- 2 qt. Water
- 1/2 c.Salt
- 1/2 Tsp. Saltpeter (Potassium Nitrate)
- one 1.8kg . Beef Brisket
- 6 Garlic Cloves
- 1 1/2 tbsp. Pickling Spices
- 4 Bay Leaves
Bring the water to a boil. Stir in the salt and saltpetre until both are dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Place beef in a large crock plastic storage bag or plastic container. Pour the salt water over meat. Add the garlic, pickling spices and bay leaves.
Place a weight on top of the beef so it stays submerged. You can use a plate with a heavy can or jar on top to weight the beef down.
Refrigerate the beef for three weeks. Drain it, and remove the bay leaves.
Wash the beef under cold running water to remove the brine on the surface. Place it in a large pan, and cover it with water. Bring it to a boil on a burner set to medium heat. Turn the heat down to simmer, and let it cook for about four hours. Be sure to cook it until you can put a fork all the way through it, even if it takes a bit longer.
Serve the salt beef thinly sliced. You can eat it on a sandwich or by itself. Cabbage is a recommended side dish!
Tips and warnings
- Be sure to check on the beef as it cooks. You don't want to cook it too little or too much.
- Do not use a metal container for brining the beef. Metal will react badly with the saltpetre.