Make Corned Beef From Scratch … On Sunday

You have to promise not to laugh when I tell you this, about how many years this corned beef recipe was in the making. I’d always wanted to make corned beef from scratch, but I have a tendency to forget about St. Paddy’s day until the day of, despite all the leprechauns and clovers sprouting up in every store. So given the grueling three-day rigamarole that’s normally involved in making corned beef, I missed out year after year.

And then I got really into my pressure cooker. One night, I was experimenting with pressure cooking spare ribs in the marinade I’d normally soak them in to see if the flavors permeated the meat (they did), and I thought … “hmmmm, I wonder if this would work for corned beef too …” So I jotted down a note to give it a try the following March.

Did I remember? No.

But I did the next year. The light bulb went off, and I got all excited and scurried off to the store on St. Patrick’s Day to buy myself a beef brisket. I enthusiastically rattled off to my butcher what I planned to do with the brisket, and he nodded knowingly and handed me a shrink-wrapped piece of meat. I eyed it suspiciously. “This is a brisket?” I asked. “Are you sure?” He nodded that same knowing nod. “Yep. That’s what you want.” So I went home, put my little experiment into action and pulled the meat out less than two hours later. It was succulent, it was flavorful … it was like sucking on a salt lick. He’d sold me a pre-brined brisket. So I missed out that year too.

Absolutely determined to get the bottom of my “hypothesis” (6-year old Noemi is throwing that word around a lot lately, with a science fair coming up), I marched back to that butcher the next day and made him sell me a straight-up, unadulterated brisket wrapped in good-ole butcher paper. And guess what? My little experiment turned out splendidly. Now, umpteen years later, I can finally state that you can forget St. Patrick’s Day until the day of and still have your corned beef too.

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