Corned Beef from Scratch ~ A Classic Reuben
Oh, this has been a long time comin’. I love a Reuben Sandwich!
Just like all the delicious foods I love, I had to make this one from scratch and I’m so glad I did.
It’s so easy to overlook the complexity of a favorite dish. Not that it has to be difficult to prepare but the consideration of time as a flavor factor isn’t something most people think about in our hustle and bustle society. I mean, I can drive 10 minutes from my house and pick up a classic reuben sandwich any time I wish. I can go to the grocery store and buy a corned beef package that’s ready to cook, throw it in the oven and have it ready by dinner time.
Why not take the time to marinate it in my choice of spices, watch over it for a period of time and appreciate the fact that I don’t have to worry about unwanted ingredients in my food or possible contamination from behind the scenes restaurant handling? I can’t think of a reason I wouldn’t want to. Aside from all that, learning the process of curing meat is fascinating.
Corned beef is basically a very tough piece of meat, a brisket in fact.
The brisket is soaked in a brine mixture of salt, sugar and spices for a long period of time. 7 days up to 1 month of marinating in either the dry spice mixture, where the liquid is drained off daily or soaked in a brine bath of water with the spices tenderize and cure the meat and flavor it intensely all the way through.
I soaked my 8 pound brisket in a liquid bath for 11 days and had it weighted down with a heavy plate. To prepare it for baking, I rinsed all the spices off and placed it in a dish with some fresh water, onion and garlic cloves and covered it with foil.
In a 350 degree F. oven, I baked it for 4 hours. Low and slow. I had to taste a smidgen after it was done cooking. Yum!
Of course I had to bake some fresh rye bread for the sandwiches.
A little butter and a toast in the skillet to get the edges all nice and crispy.
Fry up a good portion of the corned beef to get all that scrumptious fat incorporated. Like butter!
Add some fresh sauerkraut, a little thousand island dressing and a slice of Swiss cheese. By the way, thousand island dressing is easy to whip up. It’s just mayonnaise, ketchup and sweet relish mixed with a touch of salt.
Once everything is heated through and all melty, ooey gooey it’s time to plate up.
By no means is a Reuben a prim and proper sandwich to eat. It’s dig in and devour!
This, my friends is exactly the kind of thing that I was after when I started Happy Belly Foodie. Honest to goodness home cooked food that’s fresh, from scratch and full of intentional flavor. Don’t get me wrong, I love my quick and easy recipes, too but there’s just something so amazing about long awaited dishes like this. There’s a savoring here that I believe everyone deserves and slowing down occasionally is so delicious!
Have a beautiful day and as always, keep it delicious!
Till next time ~ much love, Connie
Corned Beef from Scratch
- Corned Beef
- 1 8 lb beef brisket with fat cap left in tact at least 5 pounds
- 2 quarts cold fresh water
- 1/2 C kosher salt
- 1 C brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp pink curing salt ***
- 1 cinnamon stick broken into pieces
- 1 tbsp mustard seed
- 1 tbsp black pepper corns cracked
- 1 tbsp juniper berries
- 5-6 whole cloves
- 1 tbsp corriander
- 1 tsp allspice berries
- 1 inch fresh ginger peeled and left whole
- 3 crushed bay leaves
- 4-5 whole garlic cloves
- 2 quarts ice
- *** make sure you use 1 level teaspoon of pink curing salt per each 5 lbs of meat to ensure food safety. No more and no less. This ingredient can be found at a spice shop or online. Research on it's use is highly recommended.
- for cooking the corned beef
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- 1 large onion quartered
- 1 quart of cold fresh water
- Reuben Sandwiches
- rye bread sliced
- cooked corned beef
- fresh sauerkraut
- thousand Island dressing
- Swiss cheese slices
- Corned Beef
- In a large stock pot, combine the cold water with the salts, brown sugar and the rest of the seasonings.
- Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Remove from heat and stir in the ice.
- Allow the mixture to cool to 40 degrees F.
- Use a skewer to poke holes through both sides of the brisket all over.
- Place the brisket in, fat side up.
- Place a bowl or plate over the brisket to weight it down.
- Cover and refrigerate for 10 to 14 days
- Remove the brisket from the brine and rinse with cold water.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place the brisket in a large casserole dish and cover with 1 quart of cold, fresh water.
- Add 4-5 fresh garlic cloves and the quartered onion.
- Cover with foil tightly and bake in the oven for 4 hours.
- Remove from oven and allow the meat to rest, covered for 45 minutes.
- Slice against the grain to serve.
- Reuben Sandwiches
- Heat a skillet over med/high
- Melt a half tbsp butter for each sandwich.
- Toast the rye bread slices in the butter and set aside.
- Place some of the meat on one side of the hot skillet and break up with a spatula.
- Heat some of the sauerkraut on the other side of the skillet.
- Place the hot sauerkraut on top of the meat.
- Spoon some thousand island dressing over the sauerkraut and top with a slice of Swiss cheese.
- Place the hot mixture on the toasted rye bread slices and serve.
OK, now I’m just jealous. I love corned beef. I love making corned beef. However, a brisket is as rare as hen’s teeth here in the mountains.
I will just have to look at your terrific effort and look forward to the rare time the local market gets brisket.
Connie Murray says
Just keep this recipe in your back pocket David. In the meantime, I’ll keep ogling over your pellet smoker. (I am SO envious!) I’m so glad I’m not the only one that loves a recipe that requires patience. You’re the best! Thanks for the encouragement ; -)