Brisket to Corned Beef to Pastrami
One 4- to 5-pound beef brisket (grass-fed if possible) For the brine: 2 quarts of water 1 cup of sea salt (I use Himalayan sea salt) ½ cup raw cane sugar or organic brown sugar (don’t worry, the residue sugars in the finished product are minimal) 1 stick of cinnamon or about ¼ tsp cinnamon powder 1 TBSP mustard seeds 1-2 TBSP of black peppercorns ½ tsp whole cloves (about 8-10 individual cloves) 1 tsp allspice berries (optional) 1 TBSP coriander seeds (optional) 1 tsp juniper berries (optional) ½ tsp dried ginger powder or about 1 tsp fresh minced ginger ½ tsp dried thyme leaf 5 garlic cloves, crushed or ½ tsp garlic powder 2-3 bay leaves, crushed ¼ cup beet juice or juice from homemade sauerkraut made with purple cabbage (optional) Instructions Put the water, salt, sugar, and spices (except beet juice or sauerkraut juice) in a large pot and heat, stirring frequently, until sugar and salt dissolve. Cool liquid, using 2 cups of ice if needed, and place in fridge until very cold. It is very important that the brine is cold before it comes in contact with the meat. For the 3-5 day brining process, you can either place the brisket in a large 2-gallon bag and add the brine, or place the brisket in a large glass container with a lid and add the brine. Either way, you want the brisket to be completely submerged and surrounded with the brine. Add the beet juice or sauerkraut juice (if using) at this point once everything is cooled. Place in the fridge (put inside another dish if you just use the plastic bag in case it leaks) and leave it there for at least 3 days (5 days if possible). Each day, flip it over and move the brine around. After 3-5 days, remove from the brine, rinse well with cool water, and cook as you normally would a corned beef brisket. (Don’t normally cook a corned beef brisket? See this recipe.) The end!
Instructions
  1. Put the water, salt, sugar, and spices (except beet juice or sauerkraut juice) in a large pot and heat, stirring frequently, until sugar and salt dissolve. Cool liquid, using 2 cups of ice if needed, and place in fridge until very cold. It is very important that the brine is cold before it comes in contact with the meat.
  2. For the 3-5 day brining process, you can either place the brisket in a large 2-gallon bag and add the brine, or place the brisket in a large glass container with a lid and add the brine. Either way, you want the brisket to be completely submerged and surrounded with the brine. Add the beet juice or sauerkraut juice (if using) at this point once everything is cooled.
  3. Place in the fridge (put inside another dish if you just use the plastic bag in case it leaks) and leave it there for at least 3 days (5 days if possible). Each day, flip it over and move the brine around. After 3-5 days, remove from the brine, rinse well with cool water, and cook as you normally would a corned beef brisket.