Salt (Corned) Beef

In this country we are used to corned beef out of a tin. The corned beef I am making is more like an unsmoked version of Pastrami. It gets its name from the 'corn'; grains of coarse salts used to cure it. Traditionally made with brisket it can also be made with other cuts – in this case a piece of topside weighing about 3lb.

The corned beef

The cure used is:

Ingredients
Water 1500gm
Salt 180gm
Light Brown or Demerara Sugar 180gm
Cure 1 (Prague Powder 1) 48gm
Juniper Berries 10
Cloves 2
Black Peppercorns 6
Parsley Stalks 2
Thyme Sprigs 2
Bay Leaves 1
Coriander Seeds 6

Method
Crush spices roughly and boil in water with sugar and salt. Cool and add cure. Pump with 10% of the meat's weight of cure and immerse in the remaining cure for 5-6 days.

I put this in to cure on New Year's Day. The meat weighed 1480gm, so was injected with 148gm of cure. Today, I have washed the meat in cold water and put it in a casserole with a chopped onion, carrot and a celery stick, along with about ½ pint boiling water. I shoved it in the oven for 2½ hours at 160°C.


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There are 29 comments

John Byrne

Nice recipe, thanks

John Byrne, - 02-01-’09 20:05
Lenny

Hi, I have one question. On the Cure #1(Prague powder) I have, it states on the packet to not use more than 2.5g per Kg of meat. This contradicts the amount shown in your recipe. I am a little confused!! Which is correct?

Lenny, - 25-07-’12 11:22
Phil

Ah yes, it can be confusing. The 2.5gm amount is for dry curing and assumes that the meat will absorb all of the cure – it then gives a level of 150 mg/kg in the meat which is the main EU limit. The cure injection will give the same level (well actually 148 mg/kg).

The method of calculation is detailed on p19 (bottom) et seq of the document here:

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSIS..

I hope this explains it, if not please feel free to contact me again.

Phil, (URL) - 25-07-’12 16:44
Lenny

Thanks Phil. You put my mind at rest!
I followed your recipe, and now have the results….. Absolutely fantastic! Thank you..

Lenny, - 31-07-’12 12:09
Phil

Phew… I’m so glad it’s worked. I must make some myself – I’ve not done any for ages.

Phil, (URL) - 31-07-’12 19:30
Carl

Hi Phil, Hope all is well bud. trying your recipe tonite. Did you have it covered while in the oven? tks

Carl, - 31-01-’13 00:50
Phil

Yes, I pot roasted it at about 150-160C. That’s covered in a pot, sat on chunks of veg, with stock/water up to the bottom of the meat – i.e. below the meat but mainly covering the veg.

I hope that makes sense!

Please let me know how it turns out – it’s a mild spice flavour, but one we like.

Phil, - 31-01-’13 03:02
Carl

Hi Phil, makes a lot on sense. I thought about the meat sitting in a bath of water and didn’t think that was right. I started this last night and its sitting in a heavy duty bag i the fridge. I was hoping it would be ready to pop in the oven Sat. which would be only 72 hours. its a brisket and no more than 2” thick. Do you think it will be ready for the the oven? How do I know when its ready?

Love your site BTW and apprciate that I can ask questions.

tks

Carl, - 31-01-’13 17:38
Phil

Hi Carl, assuming that it was injected, it should be OK to cook in 72 hours. At worst. it could be a bit patchy – the time is to allow things to settle down and become ‘evened out’ in the meat.

I note that you are in Canada – it is quite possible that you prefer a more robust spice taste. As I said, this is very mild. If you feel that you would, you could cook the meat with spices added.

I hope you enjoy it.

Phil, - 31-01-’13 18:38
Carl

I didn’t realize we had different palates when it comes to spices. Yes, I definitely have a taste for spices. I used 40 gr. of pickling spice. I don’t think my pickling spice mix had cloves and I see that your recipe does so I will add a half dozen or so to the brine. When you say “cook the meat with spices”, are you saying that I should layer the meat with pickling spices before cooking? Just thought of something. I will half the brisket and cook one with and one without and see what results I get.

Carl, - 31-01-’13 22:20
Phil

Wow, Carl, hold up a bit. If you’ve already used 40gm of spice, I think that things should be spicy enough.

I hadn’t read your post at the forum before I answered this one.

Phil, - 01-02-’13 00:25
Joe

Hi Phil
Just got round to making this and it is due out of the fridge tomorrow. Would this be ok cooked in slow cooker for about 8 hours or would that ruin the texture of the meat?
Thanks

Joe, - 09-05-’13 11:39
Phil

Sorry for the delay in replying. I don’t a problem with that, although you may end up with a ‘pulled beef’ type product rather than one for slicing.

Try it and let me know: you can always make some more!

Phil, - 10-05-’13 20:17
Tommy

Your beef looks great Phil, so good I’ve promised myself I’ll have a crack at it this weekend!!

Other than brisket and topside what other cuts would you suggest using?

Tommy, - 11-03-’14 13:42
Phil

Brisket and silverside are the two ‘traditional’ ones. You could use Top rump (also called Thick Flank) from the hindquarter, or maybe even middle or top rib from the front-quarter. Even a nice piece of chuck or blade should be OK. The trouble is that names of cuts vary, not only country to country, but even region to region. However, I’d use one of the cheaper cuts. Brisket’s my favourite.

Certainly tell your butcher what you plan to do; he should be able to point you in the right direction.

Phil, - 11-03-’14 14:24
Tommy

Thanks Phil

I agree, the whole different-names-for-the-same-cut thing is a real pain sometimes, but thanks for steering me in the right direction, and yes I’ll pay my butcher a visit to way up the options.

Cheers

Tommy, - 12-03-’14 08:12
Des Austin

Hi Phil
I’m an Aussie now living in Thailand and I’m missing my corn beef I got a mate that brought me over some cure it’s called Kwik Urit standard meat cure it states for cooked smallgoods 60g to 45 kg and for brine 30g to 4.5 ltrs it comes in a 1kg pack and has a 11% Sodium Nitrite content is this the same as Prague power is it a cure 1 or a cure 2 as I have no Idea Thanks in advance
Cheers an a Beer Des

Des Austin, - 08-06-’15 09:34
Phil

Hi Des,
I’m somewhat incapacitated at present, but will do a converter when I’m better.

Kwikurit is a nitrite cure like cure/Prague #1 but stronger. You need to multiply the amount of cure #1 by 0.56 to get the amount of Kwikurit to use. For the recipe above this would be 48 * 0.56 = 26.88gm (27gm will be fine).

This is a mild cure, for a stronger flavour, more spices can be added.

Enjoy the beef

Phil, - 10-06-’15 00:12
Des Austin

Thanks Phil
Great site a lot of good recipes to try
Cheers an a beer Des

Des Austin, - 10-06-’15 05:51
tom

What kind of internal temperature should we be aiming for with this one Phil?

tom, - 19-04-’16 08:04
Phil

Hi Tom. That’s somewhat dependent on the cut of meat used. Aim for a similar temperature as you’d use for a Sunday Roast. Topside would be around 72 – 75°C, Brisket would need to be higher, maybe around 95°C.

Hope this helps.

Phil, - 19-04-’16 20:16
Martin Grove

Hi Phil,
I hope you are feeling better and my fervent wishes for a bright future! Thank you too for an amazing website.
One thing I could not find though is a clear indication of the weight of KNO3 per kilo of meat that needs curing and the length of curing time required.
I have a small piece of silverside (500g) that I would like to cure but only have salpetre available. I have not done any curing before and will really appreciate some help, please?
Best wishes
Martin

Martin Grove, - 13-02-’17 17:50
Phil

To give a product that meets UK commercial requirements, you would use 2.8gm of saltpetre (KNO3) for this amount of liquid in a cure designed for injection at 10%. However, I would not recommend this due to the time that saltpetre takes to work its ‘magic’.

Cure #1 can be obtained quite easily and cheaply from:

http://www.smokedust.co.uk/product/pragu..

or

http://www.sausagemaking.org/acatalog/Cu..

Phil, - 13-02-’17 21:10
Martin Grove

Thank you for the advice, I’ll post a progress report in due course.
Martin

Martin Grove, - 14-02-’17 09:47
Adam

Hi, I’m about to try this recipe but I’m wondering if it’s possible to cure a piece of beef with a dry cure, I have lots of dry cure that I use for making bacon, could I just rub the beef with cure/salt/sugar and spices, thanks, Adam

Adam, - 28-03-’18 23:13
Phil

Hi Adam,

Yes, of course you can. I like a lower salt level in corned beef compared to bacon, so you may want to reduce the salt. Add what spices you like. I’d think ‘pickling spice’ with a good amount of juniper berries added. But you can, of course do your own preference. If you need a recipe, you’ll probably find one at sausagemaking.org’s forum.

I hope this helps.

Phil, - 29-03-’18 20:32
John Irvine

Hi Phil,
Hope you are feeling better now.
I’m thinking of making some pastrami but would prefer to use a dry cure. For a small piece around 1kg would it be ok to use the bacon calculator and cure times? I would reduce the salt content a bit and experiment with the spices and botanicals used in brine cures.
Thanks
John

John Irvine, - 09-11-’18 06:45
Phil

Hi John,
Yes, the bacon calculator can be used for any dry cure (within reason). I’d reduce the salt to well under 2% and reduce the sugar drastically as well. For spices, think pickling spices. Essential for me would be juniper as well.
Please let me know how you get on

Phil, - 09-11-’18 16:16

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