© 2011 cochrancj. All rights reserved. 16.68 lbs. of pure beefy goodness

Just In Time For The Green Beer Holiday: Corned Beef — Charcutepalooza Challenge #3

16.68 lbs. of pure beefy goodness

For this charcuterie challenge, I bought the largest hunk of beef I’ve ever purchased in my entire life. I walked into my local favorite butcher’s (Laurenzo’s Italian Market in North Miami Beach) for a 5.5 lb. beef brisket, and walked out the proud owner of 16.68 lbs. of solid beefy delight.

Why, you might ask? My butchers are great guys. I’ve been frequenting Laurenzos for about 3 years now, and I will never go back to buying regular grocery store meat. These guys consistently have better quality than the large regional chain in this area, and they love what they do; they are passionate about the meat they sell and happy to teach you what to do with it. And that, my friends, is something I can get behind fully. We talk about how I’ll be preparing the meat I’m buying, discuss the pros and cons of any particular cut I may be eyeing, and my butcher knows what kinds of cuts I prefer; he always picks out the leanest cut closest to a pound without even having to be asked. They can also special order just about any critter under the sun if I need it; usually in a week. 5 lb. standing rib roast in the height of the Christmas season? No problem! Give them a week and you’ll have the most beautiful standing rib roast on the block.

So, when the butcher suggested walking out with (gulp!) over 3x the meat I requested, I listened. When buying the whole kit & caboodle, the price was $2-something a pound. If I wanted just the first cut (the brisket part), it would be over the 5 lb. I wanted and over $5 a pound. They suggested just getting the big piece and freezing what I don’t need for later. Buying the big piece not only saved me money up front, I now have enough brisket to corn, and 2 more briskets to BBQ.

Followers of this blog will notice that this is not the place I bought the pork belly for fresh bacon from. Why? I’m impatient and thought pork belly was lying about on trees. I know better now.

On to the corning.

Enough for corned beef and two types of brisket :)

Corned beef-to-be

Another angle of the corned beef-to-be: nicely marbled and tasty looking already

The first thing I did was take my lovely hunk o’ beef and broke it down into smaller packages. 1 big roughly 5-6 lb. slab to corn and 2 smaller roughly even portions to BBQ later.

Note: This hunk of beef was so frickin big, it took not 1 but 2 cutting boards to hold it :) Now that’s beefy love.

The brine I used to cure the beef consisted of store-bought pickling spice (I couldn’t for the life of me find the mace called for in Ruhlman’s home made recipe), my new friend pink salt, my old friend kosher salt, sugar & garlic.

In the pot, and ready for it's soak

Submerge beef & wait (patiently if possible) 5 days and viola! A hunk of vaguely creepy-looking drowned beef.

Not as drowned-looking as I had feared. I can see how this will be good.

Rinse, re-cover with water, add some more pickling spice & slow simmer for 2-3 hrs. until fork-tender and you’ve got some of the tastiest and tender corned beef I think I’ve ever had.

Back in the pot; cook low & slow for 3 hours. The smell will be maddening.

The full recipe for this method of corning can be found on page 67 of Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing.

I served the inaugural taste of this heavenly beef with a side of simple roasted purple potatoes and onions and it was devine. Screw cryo-vac corned beef. Next up: corned beef hash and sandwiches.

Roasted purple potatoes and onions make great sides for this tender, juicy beef

Just In Time for St. Patty's Day: Corned Beef on Punk Domestics


  1. Echo Evjen
    Posted Jul 7 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    sounds delishh but a great deal of work.. I might try that with my convenient dandy crock pot. I noticed you have the majority of the Asian country recipes but nothing in the Phillippines. Did you have any Filipino food just before? Just wondering…you might just like some. Have a great one! Echo Evjen

    • cochrancj
      Posted Jul 7 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      I love Asian food, but have found that Filipino food is somewhat hard to come by here. I’m curious to try it, though, and if you have any suggestions of good dishes to try I’d love to hear about them!

  2. Posted Mar 16 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    I love your huge slab o’beef! Good for you being adventuresome enough to follow your butcher’s advice and take the whole kit and kaboodle! Your corned beef looks like it was delicious…I know mine was.