Monday, May 28, 2007

Add the Meat Cure and Package

Add the Meat Cure and Package

Consult the Morton Salt Home Meat Curing Guide and make up the dry cure mixture according to the weight of the meat for each roast that you have prepared Place the meat into a Food Saver Bag. Pour in the cure mixture. Using your clean hands rub the meat with the dry cure mix, getting it evenly distributed over the meat. Place one of the little spice packets you made up into the bag with the meat. Be sure that the spice packet is clean; give it a good wash under clean running water. Use the Food Saver to remove all air from the package and vacuum seal it.

Now, you do remember how thick the meat is don’t you? You measured it back in the earlier preparation step. Any way, Morton Salt recommends allowing the cure to progress for 5 days for each 1 inch of meat thickness. So my 1 ½ inch thick piece of meat pictured here should be allowed to cure for somewhere near 7 to 8 days. The time is not critical, but I would adhere to the recommended time within reason.

Very important. Label the package as to what is in it, and the date that the cure will be complete and “Ready”.

Now all you have to do is place the package into your refrigerator and wait. It’s a good idea to lay it flat in your refrigerator, and flip it over each day to make the cure work the same throughout the meat. If you skip-a-flip a day or so, it will not matter at all, but do rotate them daily if you think of it.

When you reach the “Ready” date, you may either refrigerate it for a short time, and go ahead and cook it, or you may choose to place it directly into your freezer until you are ready to cook. This is the nice part about using the Food Saver Bags. The package needs no further attention to get it ready for the freezer.

One final hint: I have found that my cook-all-day in the Crock Pot on Low setting works well if you just take the package from the freezer, put the Corned Beef (still frozen) in the Crock Pot, cover it with water or your favorite stock, and let it thaw and cook all day. Be sure that you open that convenient spice package that you made up and included in your Food Saver Package. Your kitchen is going to smell SO GOOD when you get home in the evening from work.

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Anonymous said...

The amount of Tender-Quick can vary according to the age of your book from Morton's Salt Co. My old book recommends 2 Tablespoons full per pound, and meat so cured will keep a long, long time. However, it will be necessary to cook the meat about half-way through and change the water if you don't want the meat to be so salty. I really prefer the 1 Tablespoon full per pound recipe.

I use the vacuum sealed method outlined here, and have for years; it provides a superior product, I believe. However, one can also use Tender-Quick as a brining agent.

The Morton's book calls for 2 lbs. per gallon of TQ and that, with the spices, produces a good product. However, it is very salty and I prefer to use less TQ, maybe 2/3 as much. The resulting product is quite good, but a little lighter in color when cooked initially.

Infrared Photography Buzz said...

My book must be rather recent because as you state, it calls for 5 tablespoons of TQ for 4-6 lbs. of meat. Thanks for the excellent observation for my readers. I specifically designed the text to advise using the recipe as stated by Morton (not me) to avoid invalid information that could possibly be problematic for the reader.

Many Thanks! If anyone else has any input, I will publish your comments.

Anonymous said...

My previous comment about using 2/3 as much Morton's TQ in the brine is fine, but I just finished an 8.8 Lb brisket flat using half the amount (1 Lb of TQ per gallon of brine) and it is just fine. I cooked half of it in a smoke-cooker and the rind is very salty, but the internal meat will be great in sandwiches, cold, like Pastrami. The other half will be cooked as Corned Beef and Cabbage by braising.

Anonymous said...

I just finsihed trying another method of producing smoked, corned beef. Try braising/boiling it until it is just barely fork tender first. Throw the water out. Then allow the almost-cooked corned beef to dry so that it will take the smoke better (allow it to form a pellicle). Once dry, smoke it in something like a Bradley Smoker for about 4 hours. When done, wrap tightly in plastic and foil and allow it to sit in the frig over night so that the flavors will meld.

This stuff is decidedly less salty than the previous method and makes really good sandwiches, hot or cold.

One could coat the meat with cracked Coriander and cracked Pepper or Juniper Berries and cracked Pepper before smoking and arrive at a really good version of Pastrami that way.