Corned beef from scratch

My husband and I both love corned beef -- the canned ones.  His fave is Libby's and mine is Deli Mondo.

On our family's New Year's Eve dinner, there was a large block of corned beef roasted and served by that dinner's hired caterer.  It was, in my opinion, better than even my favorite canned variety.

After that I decided to try to make my own corned beef.  I am concerned about the preservatives in the canned varieties that are so readily available so I want a healthier alternative to a favorite so we would not have to give it up.

Most recipes I found contained saltpeter (or salitre, a common nitrite preservative).  I didn't want that.  Finally, I found one that I liked.  I did modify it a bit, though.

It was surprisingly easy.  :)  It did take a week of brining, though, so it's not a dish that you serve at the spur of the moment like the canned ones, but you can make a big batch and freeze some of them for serving later.

It was yummy!  :)  I know I'm going to do this one again

Here is the recipe I followed:

And these are my modifications:

  • Since I was only experimenting, I didn't want to use a big 7-8 lb pc of meat.  What if we didn't like it?  So I just used 1/2 kilo (around 1 lb, I suppose) and adjusted the measures accordingly.
  • The only spices I used are peppercorns, laurel leaves and garlic.  The simple reason is that I do not have any stock of the others and I do not see myself using them in the near future.  Still turned out great. :)  Maybe I will try the spices next time.
  • I used ordinary salt and not kosher salt.  I did not know where to source kosher salt.
  • I used my mini crock pot to simmer for 4 hours at the end of the period so I didn't have to worry about not watching my LPG stove.  

It's a pity that I did not take any pictures.  The next time I make another (bigger) batch, I will take pictures and post them.

My mind is swimming with ideas on how to use the resulting delicious, flavorful meat.  I am planning to make sinigang, maybe try roasting it and serve with a barbecue sauce, flake some of it to use in sandwiches...  I'll post here if my experiments work!

Oh, since there was no salitre added, the end product is NOT pink like what we usually see in the commercial variety.  It looks somewhat grayish brown, since the blood has gone to the brining mixture during the 1 week brining period.