When Food becomes like a Pet

When, like I do, you have a bit of a penchant for projects, sometimes your food starts to feel oddly like a pet – or at least something that is monitored and cared for on a daily basis until finally you get to enjoy the ‘fruits’ of your labor!

There have been a few ill-fated trial runs with my own yeast starter, a passable-but-not-great hard apple cider experiment, an endless array of pickled this and thats, a fermenting box built specially for black garlic and gelled egg yolks… and now, my own brined corned beef.

It turns out my significant other loves meat. So, in my love for him I got a little too enthusiastic about a recent NYT Cooking headline, “What if You Could Make Great Corned Beef?” Well, what if I could… that sounded like a challenge and a perfect opportunity to deliver the delicious meat he loves and and have the project-based cooking and social time I enjoy (dinner party, anyone?).

Step 1: Find the Meat

Brisket, which is the cut of meat called for in making corned beef, can be a bit harder to source locally than some others, especially on short notice. Be sure to call around to local beef vendors before heading to the farm or market so that you are not disappointed. If everyone seems to be fresh-out, source from a reputable butcher that can work in higher quantity and therefore get the cuts you need faster. You should still call ahead. We recommend our friends over at MEat in Kittery!

Step 2: Oh yea, those other tricky ingredients 

There’s always that one ingredient or one piece of cooking equipment that just trips you up. For this recipe, it was the curing salt. after some phone calls and online shopping, I’ll admit that I decided my best bet was to order an appropriately sized and priced baggy of curing salt from Walmart. Then cue Superstorm Stella…. the salt didn’t come in time, but thankfully it wasn’t vital to the recipe. Looks like I will have plenty for next year..

Step 3: This is where I spend more time with my meat than with my dog

And now the brisket is like a part of the family, or maybe more like an inconsiderate guest. It’s taking up more than its fair share of fridge space and pantry supplies and has the audacity to need turning every day for 5-7 days before I spend 4 hours cooking it to perfection… to be devoured in 20 minutes.

We are four days in and holding strong… here’s hoping that Saturday evening reveals a delicious home-corned beef brisket for a late St. Patricks Day celebration!


Get inspired yourself with the recipe: What if You Could Make Great Corned Beef?

What’s next you ask… Authentic Sauerbraten for Easter... another brined meat!

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