How to Prepare Traditional Corned Beef
desirable to have an ample supply of corned beef on hand.
For traditional corned beef any part of the beef may be used but the
selected are the plate, rump, cross-ribs and brisket, which are the
tougher cuts of the meat. The brisket and plate are especially good
because of the character of the fat, which is somewhat like a
How to Prepare Meat
all around the meat to about the same thickness, so
that it will make an even layer in the barrel. It is best to remove
the bone, although this is not necessary. Be sure to start the
pickling or curing while the meat is perfectly fresh, but well
ten pounds of pickling salt to each 100 pounds of meat. Sprinkle a
layer of the salt in the bottom of the crock, barrel, or whatever
container is used. Have the salt about one-fourth of an inch in
depth. After the layer is in the bottom of the container put the
cuts of meat in as closely as possible, making the layer five or
six inches in thickness, then put on another layer of salt,
following that with another layer of meat. Repeat until the meat
and salt have all been packed in the barrel, care being taken to
reserve salt enough for a good layer on the top. Cover the meat
with a board and weight down with a stone and not an iron
weight. Do not allow any meat to project
from the salt
or mold will start and the brine will spoil in a short time. Let
the meat stand over-night.
NOTE: Do not
wait like some people do until they think the meat
is beginning to spoil and then salt it down just to save it.
How To Prepare Traditional Brine
a brine by boiling 7 pounds pickling salt, 3 pounds brown sugar
or 6 pounds molasses, 2 ounces baking soda, 2 ounces salt peter and
4 gallons water for every 100 pounds of meat. This quantity of
brine should be sufficient to cover that amount.
any scum that rises to the surface and filter the hot
brine through muslin. Set the brine aside, best over-night, to
become perfectly cold before using.
morning tip the
container in which the meat is packed so that all liquor which has
separated from the meat over night may drain off. Cover the meat
with the cold brine. Put the container in a cool place. The curing
will be more satisfactory if the meat is left at a temperature of
about 38 degrees F. Never let the temperature go above 50 degrees
F. and there is some risk with even a temperature of 40 degrees F.
if it is continuous. The sugar or molasses in the brine has a
tendency to ferment in a warm place.
about five days the meat should be overhauled and
repacked, putting the pieces which were previously on the bottom on
top. Pour back the same brine, and five days later repeat the
overhauling. This may seem like some trouble and possibly look like
a useless waste of time but it is well worth while as it insures a
more rapid and uniform curing of the meat.
unpacking the meat watch the brine to see that it is not
ropy or moldy. If you find either condition existing remove the
meat and rinse each piece with cold water and after scalding the
container pack the meat as at first with a little salt. Scald and
skim the brine and after it is cold pour it on the meat as before.
Pickling Salt or Dairy
fine-grained salt that has no additives and is generally used in brines
to pickle foods. Unlike table salt, the lack of additives will help
keep the pickling liquid from clouding.
|Using Corned Beef
can use corned beef if necessary after a week in the cure, but
it is not thoroughly cured until it has been from 20 to 30 days in
the brine. If kept for sixty days it will be salty enough to need
freshening before cooking.
meat has been corned during the winter, and is to be kept
until summer, watch the brine closely during the spring as it is
more likely to spoil then than at any other time.
|Did You Know?
|Meat can be preserved by
jugging, the process of stewing the meat (commonly game or fish) in a
covered earthenware jug or casserole. The animal to be jugged is
usually cut into pieces, placed into a tightly-sealed jug with brine or
gravy, and stewed. Red wine and/or the animal's own blood is sometimes
added to the cooking liquid. Jugging was a popular method of preserving
meat up until the middle of the 20th century.
* * *
Food may be preserved by cooking in a material that
solidifies to form a gel. Such materials include gelatine, agar, maize
flour and arrowroot flour. Some foods naturally form a protein gel when
cooked such as eels and elvers, and sipunculid worms which are a
delicacy in the town of Xiamen in Fujian province of the People's
Republic of China. Jellied eels are a delicacy in the East End of
London where they are eaten with mashed potatoes. Potted meats in
aspic, (a gel made from gelatine and clarified meat broth) were a
common way of serving meat off-cuts in the UK until the 1950s. Many
jugged meats are also jellied.
* * *
A traditional British way of preserving meat (particularly
shrimp) is by setting it in a pot and sealing it with a layer of fat.
Also common is potted chicken liver; compare pâté.