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Why brine poultry and pork but not beef?

Does anyone brine beef? If so, how and with what results? If not, why not? There may be recipes out there, but I haven't seen them. With such great results brining poultry and pork its got me looking at my rib roast and wondering what could be. Any suggestions?

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  1. Corned beef is brined brisket.

    1. Pickled Beef Tongue is my favorite deli meat.

      Similarly I roll and tie a shoulder roast, pickle and roast. I like it served hot, thick slices with cabbage and boiled potatoes, or cold sliced extremely thin on a slicing machine and used for deli sandwiches on seeded rye or hard rolls. Until about 30 years ago, this was called rolled beef and was available in almost all kosher delis, but has disappeared, so I brine/pickle my own.

      4 Replies
      1. re: bagelman01

        Would you please share your spices for rolled beef? I've seen it referenced and revered many times, but no one will say what spices to use beyond "pastrami", which has a lot of variation to it.

        1. re: rudyusmc1980

          Recipe...I use Durkee Pickling Spice in my brine adding additional items. I have included the Durkee Ingredient list in the recipe.
          Rolled Beef
          (Pickled Rolled Shoulder Roast)

          These instructions/Ingredients are for a 5 pound roast. Have Butcher cut shoulder to about a 1” thickness.
          Do NOT trim fat. Shoulder is a lean cut which is why pickling adds flavor that you’d find in a fatty cut such as brisket.

          1 Gallon tap water
          6 ounces (3/4 cup) Morton’s Kosher salt (I don’t care for Diamond Crystal)
          ½ cup granulated sugar
          2 teaspoons Pink Salt (Sodium Nitrite, not Himalayan) Optional (I like it)
          5 cloves garlic, mashed but not peeled
          2 Tablespoons commercial Pickling Spice (Durkee is fine:Cinnamon, Allspice, Mustard Seed, Coriander, Bay Leaves, Ginger, Chilies, Cloves, Black Pepper, Mace, Cardamom, And Sulfiting Agents)
          2 dry bay leaves

          Combine in 8-12 qt stockpot and bring to a simmer, stirring until all salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat. Let come to room temperature and refrigerate to chill. I usually make this in the afternoon and let it chill overnight.
          2 Tablespoons Black Peppercorn
          2 Tablespoons Coriander seeds
          Pakrika for color (Mild, not smoked. Spanish is fine, don’t waste the money on Hungarian, This is not for taste)
          Spread on baking sheet and toast in oven, cool and then grind in spice grinder or pepper mill. If you don’t have one, then an old fashioned mortar and pestle works perfectly well.
          Apply a thin coating of the peppercorn and coriander mix to the top side of the meat. Sprinkle with Paprika for color.
          Roll as a jelly roll. Tie with butcher’s twine, or enclose in a butcher’s string net if available. Sprinkle the outside of the rolled roast with Paprika.

          Place rolled roast into cooled brine. Weight down with a plate. Cover and refrigerate 2-3 days to pickle.
          Remove roast from brine, rinse thoroughly, then let sit in refrigerator from 6 to 24 hours. Slow roast in oven at 325 F. for about 4 hours.
          Let stand 45 minutes, remove string and slice ½” thick slices if being served as a hot meat entrée.
          Refrigerate overnight, remove string and cut very thin with deli slicer for cold deli sandwiches.

          The pickled rolled roast can also be smoked, but I prefer fatty cuts such as brisket or navel/plate for smoking.

          1. re: bagelman01

            Thank you for the complete recipe, I'll be making this right away!

            1. re: rudyusmc1980

              If you want something with a bit more fat try eye of the chuck

      2. Sauerbraten. Traditionally made with not so tender horse meat, it is now made with tougher cuts of beef.

        1. Strangely these are some of my favorite deli meats but that wasn't what I was/am thinking. I'm thinking roast. We brine and roast turkeys, chickens and pork shoulders/chops then have them for dinner but I've never seen the same with beef. I currently have a rib roast that I'm going to play with but I was really contemplating a tougher cut like a cross rib roast or a top or bottom round roast. Thanks all for your replies. I guess its time to do some experimenting :-)

          1 Reply
          1. re: just_M

            The sauerbraten is a pickled/marinated beef roast. Not what you're looking for, eh?

          2. Brining will draw out the blood out of the meat; using the technique on red meat could result in weird things.


            1 Reply
            1. re: Maximilien

              Kosher beef is rubbed with salt or soaked in brine. Weird things do not results.

            2. modern pork and poultry do not have a lot of fat marbled through the met, so they dry out when cooking. thus the brining. beef has fat, stays moist. no need to brine.

              that said, as many have pointed put already, there are some very well known brined beef dishes

              1. I make a seasoned spiced beef that isn't brined but given a dry rub with sugar for 10 days, then pressed and weighted down to cook. It sliced paper thin and is the best New Year's dish I can think of, with a variety of mustard and rolls and German potato salad and cucumber salad.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mamachef

                  A major holiday favorite in the Mid-South is Spiced Round; the meat companies find this a real PITA to do, because the process does not lend itself to industrial methods, but there is quite an intense demand around the end of the year and they don't dare NOT make it. The taste reminds me very much of pastrami; the meat is pressed to give a fine grain, and shot through with big square lardings of pork fat. I think consumed as above I might enjoy it, but as an offering on a typical Nashville holiday buffet I never found it compelling.

                2. It's too late for your Christmas dinner, but I just dry brined a beef tenderloin and it was the most fabulous meat ever. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                  I will be dreaming for years about this fabulous, tender, rare piece of beef. (And I tend to prefer vegetarian meals, so that says something!)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Isolda

                    Now that does look like a wonderful dish.. I did a pork tenderloin for our Christmas dinner, but I'm saving this recipe to try.

                    1. re: Isolda

                      Isolda, Please help! I'm following the same recipe but my butcher gave me two 2.5lb beef tenderloin pieces, instead of one 5lb piece. I put one teaspoon of kosher salt on each (according to the recipe) and I put it in the fridge last night around 10:30. At this point, the salt has been absorbed into the meat because there are white salt "stains" on the surface but there are maybe two drops of blood on the tray, no water. Can I add more salt? Is this how yours was too? Should I add more kosher salt and cover the beef entirely? Someone said because my beef is pretty lean, that's why the brining isn't working as it should. Panicking! I'm hosting a huge dinner party tomorrow and this is one of the mains! Argggh!

                    2. If by "beef" you mean things like steaks such as sirloins, porterhouses, strips, etc. then it's probably because those particular cuts of beef do not lack the intramuscular fat that things like chicken, turkey and (some cuts of) pork typically do.

                      1. Heard on ATK today:
                        - we don't brine beef because it does not need the added water; it becomes mushy.

                        However salting the beef before cooking does good things. Enough water is drawn out of the meat to dissolve the salt, which then enters the meat (by osmosis) and helps tenderize and flavor the proteins.

                        With sauerbraten we use a marinade, not a brine (i.e. it is vinegar and spices, not salt water).