Can Brisket be Over-Corned?
I am using an Alton Brown recipe for corned beef (in this case a quite large and thick point cut rather than the flat cut more commonly seen in stores (frankly, I find the flat cuts a bit too lean). The recipe:
Now, as chance would have it, it is about time for the prescribed 10 days to be up, but it is not especially convenient to convene the appropriate crowd for this. Can I just keep corning the thing another week or so? Or what other alternatives are there to simply preparing it at an undeal juncture? That's a lot of meat.
Shoulder cuts like Boston Butt might be too fatty for some people's tastes, but subsequent cooking might moderate that. Maybe a shank end of fresh ham?
By the way, I'm not sure there is any solid distinction to be made between corning beef and wet-curing pork into what we call "ham." In practice, the only difference seems to be that spices play a large role in traditional corning, whereas pork is usually wet-cured with a basic brine and then smoked.
Of course, dry-cured "country ham" is a whole other thing, and that might or might not correspond to traditional forms of dry-rub corning.
I yesterday cooked the corned beef and it came out great. It was, if anything, less salty than the average packaged product (like Bea's, around here), and seems perfect in texture. I like that I could use a point cut when doing it myself, because I prefer the fattier texture. Flavor is excellent and more subtle than the commercial stuff.
I am pretty confident, then, that this could have easily stayed another week or two in the cooled brine without have become oversalty. As it is, I brined it two full weeks against the recipe's suggested 10 days.
I use my mother's corned beef recipe, and also used to let it sit for 36 hours unrefrigerated per her instructions. One time I couldn't get back to it for an extra day, and it was so salty, it was almost inedible.
These days, I brine it in the fridge, and with some trial and error, found that 7 days or so in the fridge is equal in corning beef as a day and a half in a crock on the counter.
I'd agree with those who suggested freezing it. Once it's gotten too salty, there's no getting the salt out. It even makes bad hash.
When you take it out, for ultimate cooking, I would recommend a thorough rinse.
Then take a small slice and pan fry it. If it's NOT too salty for your taste, cook the way you prefer.
If it is too salty, consider either soaking it in water...change the water frequently....or consider steaming it.
Steaming will ensure that the product doesn't just sit in its over-salty brine while cooking.
I've done this to good effect, using the Ruhlman recipe.
I don't really think a brisket be "over-corned".......But anything is possible......I would leave it in the solution for another 3 or 4 days.....and then take it out....and wrap heavily with a saran-wrap kind of plastic....and refrigerate....then cook as planned.....
Best of luck.....
Ft. Pierce, FL