Corned Beef

Since I come from the line of barbarous folk that gave Hadrian good cause to build his wall, it’s a matter of pride that I cure my own brisket for corned beef. But seeing as it’s a little late now to get that done before St. Paddy’s Day this Thursday, here’s a recipe that you can use with a store-bought corned brisket to create that iconic Irish-American dish with a smoky twist.

Buy a 3 to 4 pound pre-seasoned corned beef brisket. Throw away the nasty package of seasoning that came with it, remove the brisket from the brine, and rinse with fresh cold water for at least 30 minutes.

Move the brisket to plastic container with a lid, or a large zip-top freezer bag, and cover with water. Store in the fridge at least overnight, and up to 48 hours, changing the water a couple of times.

Smoking

Set up your grill for an indirect cook that will burn for at least 5 hours at between 225 to 250°F. Add wood for smoke (I like grape vine for this dish).

While the grill is getting up to temp, remove the brisket from the water and pat dry. Season with a few grinds of black pepper. Cook at 225°F for about 3 hours, or until the internal temperature of the meat hits 160°F. Remove the brisket from the grill and let it rest on a cutting board.

Braising

1 medium cabbage, shredded
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 bay leaves
Enough water to come up about halfway on the cabbage

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

In a large Dutch oven, add the cabbage, garlic, spices, and water. Bring cabbage to a boil over high heat. Cook uncovered until cabbage has started to wilt (about 5 minutes). Remove pan from heat and lay the brisket on top of the cabbage. Add enough water so that it comes half way up the brisket. Cover the dutch oven and move to the oven. Braise until the cabbage is tender and the meat is very tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Remove the corned beef and slice thinly across the grain. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cabbage to a large platter. Lay the sliced meat over cabbage and ladle over with a little of the remaining liquid. Serve with boiled potatoes.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
While my nephew didn’t care for it (his loss), I thought it was a tasty dish – tender flavorful meat on a bed of savory cabbage with a salty/smoky broth. Yum! The only thing better than corned beef and cabbage is the corned beef hash and Reuben sandwiches that I’ll be making later this week with the leftovers.

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