1 each fresh beef brisket,untrimmed
1 ( 8 to 12 pound brisket)
8 quart water (or more)
3 cup kosher salt (to 5 cups)
1 each egg
6 each garlic cloves; sliced
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon mustard seed
4 each bay leaves; crumbled
8 each sprigs fresh thyme or
1 teaspoon dry thyme; crumbled
2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
If you want to corn a smaller piece of meat than 8 to 12 pounds, buy a chunk of brisket from the fatty side that includes the cap. Do not trim fat from the meat; in fact, the meat should only be trimmed, if at all, after it is both cured and cooked.
Use a pot, bucket or crock large enough to hold brisket, leaving room for it to float in brine. (Place brisket in pot and cover with about 2 gallons of water to test the amount of water needed and whether container is large enough.) Remove brisket from pot and add a little less than 3 cups of kosher salt to the water. Stir to dissolve salt.
Put an uncooked whole egg in the brine. If the egg sinks, continue to add salt until egg floats. It could take as much as 2 cups more salt. Remove egg. (Variables here are size of beef and container, which will determine amount of water and salt. The egg test makes recipe foolproff and truly consistent.)
Once the right amount of salt has been added, add garlic, cloves, mustard seed, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and red pepper flakes. Return brisket to brine and place plate or similar object on top to weight down brisket, keeping it submerged. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 10 to 12 days. (Once you have made one batch, you may vary flavorings to suit your taste. Be sure to use the same container to perfect this recipe.)
After 10 to 12 days, remove brisket from brine and store in tightly sealed plastic bag. Discard brine.
Meat may be cut in half and used for separate meals. Cured meat will keep for quite a long time, but use within 2 weeks for maxiumum flavor.
To cook: Wash brisket under cold running water to remove surface brine. Place brisket in a very large pan and cover with several inches of cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and skim off foam. If desired, add a few bay leaves, black peppercorns, whole allspice, thyme, garlic or other seasonings. Cover, and allow to simmer about 1 hour per pound or until a fork can penetrate to center. If desired, add potatoes, carrots, onions and cabbage during the last 20 minutes of cooking time.
Always slice corned beef very thin, diagonally across the grain.
NOTE: Kosher salt is widely available in larger supermarkets. if it's not stocked with other salts, check the store's kosher food section or bulk bins.
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