Thursday, March 17, 2011

Un-Corned Beef Brisket

Jimmy crack corn-ed beef and I don’t care…

If I had to mention any faults, lack of forward planning, would top the list. I am still stuck in a Twilight Zone limbo from high school and college. Please remind me sometime that I can not pull an all-niter when it comes to getting ingredients. Nor can I manufacture curing time of 5-21 days on a whim in order to make authentic New Yorker-style corned beef brisket at home?

Un-corned beef, pan roasted rutabaga, turnips & cabbage.
Sheesh! I mean, really? I figured I’d waltz into the HEB and pick up my pink curing salt (sodium nitrate/nitrite), then slap this baby in a brining bag and be good to go. But noooooooooooo-ooooo. Vanna can I buy another “o” please?

No curing salt anywhere. Also, since I just found this out on Monday, the chances of making a brined corned beef ready to cook by Thursday are exactly…um, doin’ the math – nil. I feel like I stayed up all night for nuthin’ cause I just got an “F” on my term paper. Again…

St.Paddy's Day Meal 2011 - Wish You Were Here!
Then there is this whole “blog” thing. Holy crap, you mean I shoulda had this kind of post up two weeks to a month ago so all of you could have a chance to make this on St. Patty’s? Hahaha. Really? Many apologies.

OK, so if you’re making this tomorrow, it means you and I are paddlin’ up the same creek. At least you remembered to bring the paddle. I couldn’t even remember that! Thanks. Maybe after we make it up the creek, you’ll rush right out and buy a trimmed corned beef or a trimmed brisket and give this a recipe a try.

Take my word for this…it’s gooooooooooooooooo-ooooooood. And if you want another “o,” email Vanna or wait till your darlin’ tastes the Un-Corned Beef Brisket. They’ll say, “Oooooooh!” (Yeah, so fine me for illegal use of o’s and exclamations!!!)

Read About My New St. Patty’s Day Tradition here

Un-Corned Beef Brisket
Serves 8 with leftovers

First you get a brisket. I got mine for $0.95/lb six months ago when they went on sale for Labor Day. It’s been in my freezer in a comfy cryovac bag since then. And kept just fine.

Assemble your spices and mustard. Trim your brisket into 2 pieces, the point and the flat. Trim off some of the fat. I trimmed 4-1/2lbs from mine! Or you can buy pre-trimmed brisket. You can even buy store-bought corned beef and cook it with this method.

This is an exact and very precise recipe – the kind our WaWa used to write. WaWa was Daddy’s mama – our grand mama. Get ready!

Rub both sides of the brisket with Country Style Dijon. The mustard is so important he got his own shot. If you don’t have Dijon, just glom on the bright yellow stuff. No worries, mon!

You can mix the spices together or add them one after the other directly to the beef.

Measure out a couple palms of pickling spice and throw them on the mustard-rubbed meat.

Then take a couple palms of mustard seed (yellow or brown work just fine).

Add a couple palms of cracked red pepper flakes.

Some black peppercorns.

A couple palmfuls of Kosher salt.

Eight whole cloves.

And ten juniper berries if you have them running around the house. If you do, great! They add to the flavor, nicely. If not, don’t sweat it and leave them out! It’s what I had to do. I guess you could throw in a jigger of gin if you have it. Heck, go ahead and make yourself a very dry martini while you’re at it!

Rub the spices into the meat. Yes, on both sides!

Stick the thyme sprigs onto each side of the brisket.

Now put that bad boy into a 2gallon bag. I used the Hefty ones but any brand works cuz they aren’t giving me a cent to plug their product.


You can fold the meat in half to make getting it into the bag a little easier. Also, the key to avoiding gooberin-up’ (that’s a technical term) the bag, is to fold the top of the bag down over itself. This allows you to slide the meat into the bag without it hanging up on the seal. 

Then fold the top straight again and seal it. See? You’re a brisket wrangler now.

Squeeze as much air as you can out of the bag. Air is the enemy! Air causes oxidation and oxidation causes odd-flavors and odd-flavors = Ick!

Now cram the sealed bag of beef into a container so you don’t come back and find un-corned beef juice leaked all over your clean ice box. This will cause you to cuss someone out and maybe commit felonious acts.

Let the un-corned beef sit for a few hours or overnight, whichever comes first for you over achievers.

Prep your boiler onions so you don't have to do it tomorrow. This is so quick you’ll thank me for teaching you. Learn the quick technique (ahem, trick) of peeling boiler onions in the Tips & Tricks Section at Fluffy Chix Cook.

Drain off any liquid that accumulated in the bag overnight, since it will be all…ew! And slam the un-corned beef into your crock pot with a can of Guinness or a bottle of beer. Or use a cup of boxed low sodium chicken broth. Don’t have any of that? Use a cup of water and call it a day. Since Denny is not a beer lover, I’ll use low sodium chicken broth.

OK, the un-corned beef is ready to cook!

I like to cook my crock pot stuff outside, because my asthma can flare up when the house fills up with cooking smells that linger...

So I'm a redneck Texan. :)

Turn the crock pot on low heat and forget it for 6-7 hours. What? What? Don’t have 6-7 hours?

Well, then turn the crock pot on high and cook it for 4-6 hours.

Holy schnarkies! You need it in 2-3 hours? Are you sure you’re not me?

Then crank up the oven and roast it on 400* in a well-sealed, aluminum foil covered roasting pan or Pyrex pan deep enough to catch all the liquid. You can even cook it in that giant Dutch oven or turkey roaster you use once a year.

Check un-corned beef for doneness. Simply put - it’s done when the meat is fork tender. Go ahead. Stick a fork in it. Now twist the fork. Does it break up and pull apart like buttah? If it has any resistance, then it needs to cook a little longer.

Keeping the beef covered while cooking - without messing with it is important. The more you mess with it the drier it will get, because you lose steam each time you check on it.

Once it’s done, remove the meat to a cutting board. Reserve the cooking liquid!

Remove the carrots and boiler onions from the cooking liquid. Cover the meat with aluminum foil and allow it to rest at least 15 minutes.

Strain the cooking liquid. Use some of it as a sauce for your meat and veg.

Remember, brisket fat is largely monounsaturated fat!

Finalize your veggie preparations and serve the un-corned beef sliced with steamed cabbage and root veggies. We like a spicy horseradish sauce and brown mustard with ours! Be sure to check out the recipes for Steamed Root Veggies and low carb Irish Soda Bread, which I will have posted before the next St. Patty’s Day!

Now serve your plates up and happy eating...

Un-Corned Beef Brisket
Serves 8 with leftovers

4 of 4 Forks
Serves: 8 with leftovers
Difficulty: Super Simple
Prep Time: 30 minutes if trimming whole brisket
                    15 minutes if using pre-trimmed brisket flat
Cooking Time: 6-7 hours in Crock Pot on Low
                            4-5 hours in Crock Pot on High
                                                3-4 hours in covered pan in 400* oven

Find Printable Recipe Here

3-5lb Trimmed Beef Brisket* (or store-bought corned beef brisket)
2 palmfuls Mustard Seed
2 palmfuls Pickling Spice
8 Whole Cloves
10 Juniper Berries (I forgot these and was out)
2 palmfuls Red Pepper Flakes
2 palmfuls Kosher Salt
1 palmful Black Peppercorns
½ c Country Style Dijon Mustard
4-5 cloves Garlic, peeled and smashed
4-5 sprigs Thyme, fresh
4 crumbled Bay Leaves
1 can Guinness (Can sub out 1c. low sodium chicken broth or 1c. water)
1 bag Boiler Onions, trimmed and peeled
6-8 Baby Carrots, sliced in half lengthwise

Coat both sides of brisket in mustard. Measure out spices and mix together in a small bowl.
Liberally coat both sides of the brisket with spice mixture and rub into the meat, making sure it adheres. Top with fresh thyme.

Put in 2gallon bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can. Place plastic bag in a pan to catch any drippings if the bag leaks. Park it in the ice box for a few hours or up to 24hours to marinate.

Remove meat from bag. Discard any liquid that accumulated while it marinated. Place meat on a bed of sliced onion or on top of a bag of boiler onions and baby carrots.

Pour a can of Guinness over the meat. Cover and cook 6-7 hours on low heat or 4-5 hours on high heat. Begin checking meat for doneness at 4 hours. The slower it cooks the better. Never let it run dry. Typically the brisket will render its own juice that will mix with the ale.

Once done, remove un-corned beef brisket and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Cover it with aluminum foil to keep it from drying out. 

SusieT's Notes:
 *You can use a whole brisket as I did, but unless you have a lot of space in your ice box and oven, it will be a pain in the tookus! You can also buy a whole brisket and trim it into two sections: the point and the flat. Each of these sections should have some of the fat trimmed before cooking.

Also, you can cook un-corned beef up to two days aheadand refrigerate. Retain the liquid and re-warm the meat in its own liquid on serving day. Making it a day ahead is great because the flavors develop, then you can use a little of the fat rendered during cooking to saute and glaze steamed cabbage and root veggies. 

Forget about the potatoes and try adventure! Turnips and Rutabagas are wonderful when steamed in part of the cooking broth from the un-corned beef. They're even better when sauteed in a little of the brisket fat.

Sláinte mhaith!

Nutrition Information


  1. This recipe sounds wonderful. Trying to incorporate low carb meals into my life. I have a huge family and we love food. I am the main cook and baker in the household, but I need to lose some pounds. My hubby needs to lose about 100 pounds. This sounds so yummy and he is a New Yorker, so I know he will love it.

  2. Hi Angela and welcome to Fluffy Chix Cook!

    I hope you will try the recipe. I really love that by making an un-corned beef - you save a lot of sodium, reduce the carb count because there is no sugar in it and it can be done the same day. No waiting for it to cure!

    Denny and I have lost substantial amounts of weight eating this way and we don't feel deprivation! That plate of food was about 15g of carbs including the Irish Soda Bread and sugar free apricot jam!

    My nephew is graduation from NYU this Spring!!!

  3. I'm amazed by your detailed recipe! Looks simple to follow since I'm a visual learner. Thanks for leading me on the path of healthier cooking. I'm a big fan and will share with friends. Joining you from fluffy to fit!

  4. Hi Anne, do you prefer Anne or BBA? :)

    Thanks for the compliment. It really is an easy recipe. It probably takes longer to read this than it takes to put it together! Glad you're joining in the fluffy to fit goal! Hope to see you here often. Tell lots of friends about Fluffy Chix Cook!!! :)


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