Corned Beef for St. Patrick's Day
First, I know lots of folks say corned-beef and cabbage is not technically Irish. That's ok. I still enjoy making it for the holiday.
Now my questions:
- where do I get a good corned-beef brisket in this town? Robert's on Bryant? Whole Foods? Any other options?
- should I try doing it myself? I'm terribly nervous about that given I have a tiny refrigerator and I'm doing this for a party. It would be a huge failure if it didn't work out.
Thanks all for your expertise!
Highly recommend Roberts! Been going there on St Pat's for years, and at my sweetheart's request have started going again in September or so in order to have that meal more than once a year.
Robert's is good and better than the supermarket brands. I've also had very good brisket from Guerra's on Taraval: "Every April, Uncle Bobby comes out of retirement to supervise our guys, who use small pumps — and take their time — to infuse every ounce with our family-recipe brine." But the very best brisket I've had was from Niman when they used to sell at the farmer's market and now Marin Sun Farms (grassfed) or Cafe Rouge, for twice the price. A couple of years ago, we did a side by side tasting of cornfed vs. grassfed and while the cornfed was more buttery, the grassfed was tastier. I like the fattier cuts, so I get the point brisket (the meat looks marbled, not just a big chunk of muscle with a layer of fat on the outside). Keys to success: get enough meat to account for shrinkage (almost half? they say 1 lb per person, I think) and allow yourself one more hour than you think you need. Other than that you simply simmer the thing for 3-4 hours (there will be little resistance when you poke it with a fork). Add a few dried chili peppers and pickling spices to the liquid to enhance taste. I also apply a wet coat of mustard/brown sugar after and blast it in the oven at the end for a delicious coating. Toss in small potatoes for 20 mins and quartered green cabbage for 5 mins into the same liquid for a complete, easy meal.
I get mine at Robert's. Honestly I've done it myself and Robert's taste better to me but that could just be cause it tastes more like the prepared kind I am used to. It's easy enough to do it yourself but I prefer the taste of Robert's already brined.
I picked up a 6 lb. point cut corned beef (spicy) at Roberts Corned Meats this morning. $4 per pound. The crush will start in earnest next week but today there was only one other customer. The counter went in the back and brought out the hunk of meat on a hook to show me, twirling it around. I liked the looks of the fatty layers, nodded my acceptance, and then he sealed it with some brine for me. He said it would easily hold for two to three weeks in the refrigerator.
No credit cards or debit cards and Roberts closes for lunch.
March Corned Beef Madness
Roberts Corned Meats
1030 Bryant St, San Francisco, CA 94103