Black and Tan Corned Beef

March 2009 includes four house guests, marathon planning for three big April events (to feed more than 400 people!), a fashion show, an impromptu Whole Foods photo shoot, and way too many late night dinner meetings. How I long for the simplicity of March 2008. I had two house guests that month, but also the foresight and fridge space to tackle a cooking project I'd put off for far too long: making my own corned beef. These instructions are adapted from March 2008's Bon Appetit. I purchased both the brisket and the sodium nitrate (sometimes called pink salt or instacure #1) at the Paulina Meat Market. This March, I've tried to substitute the deli and salt-lick store-bought versions, but Nothing Compares 2 U, homemade corned beef.


5 cups water
3 12oz. bottles Harp Lager
1 1/2 cups coarse kosher salt
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons sodium nitrate
1/4 cup pickling spices
1 6- to 8-pound flat-cut beef brisket, trimmed, with some fat remaining

Corned Beef and Veg

2 12oz. bottles of Guinness Stout
6 large cloves garlic, crushed
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 whole allspice
3 cinnamon sticks
1 dried chile de árbol, broken in half (or sub 1 tsp. red pepper flakes)
Large Tea Infuser Ball or Cheesecloth and kitchen twine
16 unpeeled medium red-skinned potatoes
6 medium carrots, peeled
4 small onions, peeled, halved through root ends
1 2-pound head of cabbage, quartered

The Brining

Add water and beer to large deep roasting pan. Add coarse salt; stir until dissolved. Add sugar; stir until dissolved. Stir in sodium nitrate. Mix in pickling spices. Pierce brisket all over with tip of small sharp knife. Submerge brisket in liquid adding more water (or beer) to cover if necessary, then top with heavy platter to weigh down. Cover and refrigerate 4 days.

Remove brisket from brine. Stir brine to blend. Return brisket to brine; top with heavy platter. Cover; refrigerate 4 days.

Remove brisket from brine. Rinse with cold water.

The Cooking

Place corned beef in very large wide pot. Add stout and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Break bay leaves and add with coriander, allspice, and chile to tea infuser ball (or wrap all in cheesecloth - securing with kitchen twine). Add garlic, cinnamon sticks and ball (or spice bag) to pot with beef. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until beef is tender, about 2 1/4 hours. Transfer beef to large baking sheet.

Add vegetables to liquid in pot; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently until all vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to baking sheet with beef. Return beef to pot and rewarm 5 minutes. Cut beef against grain into 1/4-inch thick slices.

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