Traditional Corned Beef Brisket
This is an adaptation from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook by Sally Fallon. It begins with a whey-infused brine to cure the beef over several days in the refrigerator. If you are already familiar with lacto-fermentation, you may opt to brine for a shorter period at room temperature as directed in her cookbook. Either way, the result is a delicious corned beef brisket unlike anything you can pick up at your grocery store!
Eden Pure Beef Brisket, 3-4 lbs (ensure it has been frozen at least 14 days)
1 cup unrefined coarse sea salt
1/4 cup unrefined cane sugar (optional, no substitutes)
Pickling spice (use your preferred blend or the recipe that follows)
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 cups whey
2 cups celery juice
*Collect whey by straining 2-3 quarts of plain yogurt in cheesecloth for an hour or so. Choose a brand that has active cultures (Fage is a widely available brand)
**obtain celery juice by running celery stalks through a juicer if you have one for freshest results. If you do not have a juicer, you can process the celery in a blender with the whey and strain through a muslin cloth. Twist the cloth to squeeze out as much moisture as possible
3 bay leaves
1 stick cinnamon, broken into pieces
2 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 tablespoon whole coriander seed
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon whole cardamom pods
1 tablespoon juniper berries
Thaw the brisket
Mix the salt, sugar, pickling spices, and garlic together in a small bowl, breaking up the bigger items with the back of a spoon. Rub as much of the mixture into the meat as possible, massaging it in if needed.
Place the brisket in a glass container or jar with a tight-fitting lid. Pour the whey and the celery juice over the brisket, along with any of the salt mixture that fell aside. If the brine does not cover the brisket entirely, add enough filtered water to cover it. Weigh it down if necessary with a plate or a jar filled with water to keep the meat submerged.
Place the lid on the container and put the brisket in the refrigerator. Let it cure for 6-10 days (about two days per pound), turning once each day and ensuring that the meat is covered in brine at all times. Add filtered water if necessary.
Once the meat is cured, toss the brine and rinse the meat to reduce the saltiness. it's now ready to eat raw in whatever way you best like your corned beef: Reuben sandwiches, crock pot corned beef and cabbage, corned beef hash, etc.
Keep in mind that unless you cook it at this point, it is still raw, which is recommended by Sally Fallon in her book Nourishing Traditions, but you need to have handled your meat properly to consume it in that state.
Slow Cooker [or Instant Pot] Instructions:
Place your cured, rinsed corned beef in a slow cooker on top of one head of cabbage cut into 8 wedges (this will help the corned beef cook evenly and with the proper moisture). Pour 1 1/2 cups of water over and cook on low for 8-10 hours in the slow cooker [or 1 hour under high pressure in the Instant Pot] until very tender and the meat shreds easily with a fork.
Bring a stockpot of water to a boil, then submerge the meat and simmer it very gently over low or medium-low heat until it's fork tender – generally about 2 1/2 – 3 hours.