Home made corned beef is definitely better than what you can buy…so much more flavour! I was short on a couple ingredients from what was suggested so I improvised. It was still great served warm, and will be great in sandwiches!
5 lb (2.5 kg) beef brisket
4 litres (1 gallon) water
2 cups (450 g) salt
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
1 ounce (25 g / 5 tsp) pink salt (cure #1; sea salt with 6.5% sodium nitrate)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tb pickling spice (see below)
Pickling spice (master mix)
2 Tb black peppercorns
2 Tb mustard seeds
2 Tb coriander seeds
2 Tb hot red pepper flakes
2 Tb allspice berries
1 Tb ground cardamom
2 cinnamon sticks, crushed into small pieces
24 bay leaves, crushed into small pieces
2 Tb whole cloves
1 Tb ground ginger
For the pickling spice, dry roast in a medium hot pan the first 5 spices until you can see the coriander and mustard seeds browning, about 5 minutes. Mix with the rest of the spices and store in a cool, dry place.
For the brine, heat the water and mix the salt and sugar until dissolved. Take off the stove and mix the rest of the ingredients, let cool in the fridge until chilled (this is best done overnight). Add the meat to the brine, either in a container with a weight to keep the meat submerged, or in a plastic zip-bag with all the air space removed. Store the brining meat in the fridge for 5 days.
After 5 days, remove the meat from the brine and wash thoroughly with cold water. Place the meat in a boiling pot with enough water to cover the meat, add 2 Tb pickling spice, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 2.5 to 3 h, until the meat is fork tender. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold. Yum either way!