Corned Meat

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Another Method for Corned Meat

For 10 to 12 pounds of meat you will need 1 and a half cups of coarse or non-iodized salt (kosher salt is good to use but regular granulated salt without the iodine works just as well), 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, a generous tablespoons of cracked black peppercorns, 2 teaspoons of allspice berries, cracked, five or six sprigs of fresh thyme, a teaspoon of powdered sage, a teaspoon of paprika, 7 or 8 bay leaves, broken into small pieces, a small coarsely-chopped onion, a small chopped rutabaga, a chopped carrot, and 6 cloves of garlic, either crushed or finely minced. For pork, add two tablespoons of fresh juniper berries, broken with the flat of a knife. If you are only doing one tongue or roast, reduce the amounts of ingredients accordingly.

The corning process can be done in a large stone crock but is really much easier if you use freezer zip-lock bags. Assemble enough bags to hold all your different cuts of meat, one cut to a bag. Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl, except the juniper berries. Place all the meat in a roasting pan and cover all sides with the salt mixture, rubbing it in well. Put each piece of meat into a bag and divide the remaining salt mixture among the bags. If you are doing a piece of pork, add the juniper berries to that bag. Remove as much air as possible from each bag and seal. If you have one of those vacuum sealers, this is a perfect use for it. You want the meat to be bathed in the salt mixture at all times. Pack all the bags into a large bowl or crock and weight them down under a plate and about 10 pounds of weight (use canned tomatoes or the like). Place in the bottom of the fridge. Check the bags in a few hours. The juice should be running freely from the meat. Massage each bag to work the cure into all the crevices of the meat. Repack into the container, re-weight and return to the fridge. Turn the bags and massage daily to make sure the cure is getting into all sides of the meat. If a bag breaks, transfer the meat into a new bag with all the juices and about a quarter cup of salt. Leave the meat to cure for at least two weeks, three is better, before cooking one. Before cooking, you will have to soak the meat in several changes of fresh cold water to remove the excess salt. The longer the meat is cured, the longer it will take to soak. Twenty-four hours should be enough. The meat will lose its rubbery texture and begin to feel like fresh raw meat again. Because there is no saltpeter in this curing mix, the meat will not be bright red. Don't worry, you didn't do anything wrong, this is what it should look like. If you really want it to look like purchased corned meat, find saltpeter at a pharmacy and add a half-teaspoon to the cure, but this is not necessary and only adds questionable, perhaps carcinogenic, substances to your food. There is no good reason to add nitrates to your food other than asthetic ones. Get used to grayish-brown corned beef, it is better for you!

Put the refreshed meat in a pot and cover with water. Add a carrot, some celery stalks with tops, a small onion, several sprigs of Italian parsley, some sprigs of fresh thyme, 4 bay leaves, and 5 cloves of garlic, flattened with the side of a knife. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Skim off any foam that rises for the first few minutes then cover partially with a lid and cook at the simmer until the tongue or roast can be pierced easily with a fork. This will take 2 to 3 hours, depending on the size of the meat cut. If you will be serving the corned beef or tongue cold, allow to cool in the cooking liquid. When cool, the tongue should be removed and the rough skin carefully peeled off. It will usually come off in one or two large pieces and this is MUCH easier if the tongue is still slightly warm. Discard the skin. Also remove any small bones from the large end of the tongue and discard. Put the meat in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Tongue or corned beef should be sliced thinly and served with good rye bread or rolls with mustard. Either corned tongue or other cuts of beef can be heated and served as hot sandwiches too.

Special Note:

Before cooking, do you soak the meat in several changes of fresh cold water to remove the excess salt. The longer the meat is cured, the longer it will take to soak. Twenty-four hours should be enough. The meat will lose its rubbery texture and begin to feel like fresh raw meat again.
How much saltpeter are you using when curing? Some people question the use of saltpeter, some feel that nitrates are not good to digest, everyone has there own say these days. The grayish-brown corned beef is better for you.

Corned Beef Fritters

8oz Corned Beef, cut into slices inch thick
2oz Plain Flour
1 Egg, beaten
2 tbsp Milk
Salt and Pepper
Oil for frying

Heat the oil until hot.
In a bowl, mix together the flour, egg, milk and seasoning and beat to form a smooth batter.
Dip the slices of corned beef into the batter and fry on both sides until crisp.
To serve - drain on kitchen paper and serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables of your choice.

Some of the information in the section is from: Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices by George Leaonard Herter and Berthe E. Herter, 1969

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