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Brining brisket for corned beef

golpher247 Jan 24, 2012 02:25 PM

I'm planning making some corned beef in a couple of weeks so I'm going to brine the brisket before the cook day. I've heard that it should be done for at least ten days before. However, I'm not going to be around for ten days before so I'm wondering if I could do it for 2 weeks before.

Would two weeks be too long for corned beef? What damage could I do to the meat?

Thanks in advance for your help.

  1. d
    Diane in Bexley Jan 26, 2012 11:52 AM

    I have always wanted to try this, and with access to a whole brisket at a decent price from Costco would like to do this soon. Can you post the recipe/method? Thanks!

    1. schoenfelderp Jan 26, 2012 03:44 AM

      From a food safety standpoint, do you need to add pink salt (prague powder #1) to the brine?

      1 Reply
      1. re: schoenfelderp
        scubadoo97 Jan 26, 2012 03:54 AM

        It is recommend from a food safety standpoint

      2. biggreenmatt Jan 25, 2012 05:00 PM

        Not enough information. How big's your brisket? What kind of cure are you using? Whole brisket, flat or point?

        I make Montreal smoke meat (a kissing cousin to orinary corned beef) and I dry-cure my full 12+ lb briskets for less than two weeks- there's no way any brisket of any size should need a 14 day wet cure, which penetrates quicker than dry cures (again, depending on the cure). Based on my curing experience, if you over-cure the meat, it'll turn dry as anything, no matter how long you boil or poach it.

        Porker would likely know more about wet-cures. You can find him through the MSM thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/794033.

        Best of luck!

        1. scubadoo97 Jan 25, 2012 05:11 AM

          Are you adding a cure to the brine like Morton's Tender Quick?

          3 Replies
          1. re: scubadoo97
            golpher247 Jan 25, 2012 09:45 AM

            I'm adding some Saltpeter to get that pink colour on the inside. I'm using the recipe from Alton Brown's website.

            It says 10 days but some others on there say it can go as long as 3 weeks so I think I should be good with 2 weeks. I might add a little more water just because of the longer exposure of the meat to the brine.

            Thanks for all of your input.

            1. re: golpher247
              scubadoo97 Jan 25, 2012 03:47 PM

              You should be fine at 2 wks. That's only 4 extra days. Don't sweat it and report back with pictures

              1. re: golpher247
                Zeldog Jan 27, 2012 08:48 PM

                Eventually the brisket and brine solution will come to equilibrium and the meat will no longer become saltier. For me, my mistake has been brining not long enough and ending up with a grey, bland layer in the thickest parts of the brisket where the salts have not yet penetrated. I think a few extra days is ok as long as your brine is not too intense. Do not use a stronger brine, it will just over cure your brisket.

                Saltpeter? Really? Can you still buy that? Just curious.

            2. a
              acgold7 Jan 24, 2012 04:18 PM

              Yeah, you'll be fine. You could make the brine a little bit weaker but frankly I doubt it matters much.

              2 Replies
              1. re: acgold7
                mamachef Jan 24, 2012 10:16 PM

                Actually, a stronger brine would be appropriate for this, as flavors tend to wane the longer they sit around; 'and 14 days will be perfectly fine as long as your refrigerator temperature is right. Remember, most restaurants' rule of thumb for aging beef is 21 days, so no worries; it'll be delicious, and your leftovers will be the very best part, for Reubens, and cb hash all crispy and golden brown, with a medium poached egg (whites DONE, yolk gently thickened....) resting happily on top. Bon Apetit!

                1. re: mamachef
                  acgold7 Jan 25, 2012 12:40 AM

                  While that rule is generally true, it certainly isn't when you are talking about a brine. The meat gets saltier the longer it sits in the solution. That's why a quick brine is stronger than an overnight brine.

                  Herbs and spices, sure, they decay over time. Salt, not so much.

              2. j
                jaykayen Jan 24, 2012 02:56 PM

                two weeks sounds fine for a recipe that says "at least 10 days."

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