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Home Corned Beef - Wet Brine or Dry Cure?

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I have been curing my own corned beef for years now with a dry rub, but I just watched a Good Eats episode where he cured the meat using a wet brine. Has anyone tried both? Is there any significant difference in flavor and texture? Is one better than the other?

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  1. I do not think that dry brineing can really be called Corning ever definition i have seen calls for a brine.
    That aside, having the brine allows you to add the spices which is key to the flavor of corned beef. Most people use pickling spices. I suppose you could grind them and add to your salt but the flavor balance of the spices would be greatly changed.
    I have not tried both but I would think you would have a very different result.

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    1. re: chefj

      The term corned refers to the type of salt used, think of rock salt. Corning beef used to be a method of preservation. Rock salt and beef in a barrel, no brine.

    2. Dry curing will concentrate the flavor of the meat more as it will draw out moisture. (This is how hams like prosciutto, serrano, and American country ham are made.) It tends to be more salty too, so you have to be careful with how much salt you use and it definitely needs to be simmered in at least one change of water.

      I usually wet brine corned beef and dry cure pastrami, just to provide more degrees of separation other than smoke, but the two methods are interchangeable.