Corned Beef, Belated

Reuben al fresco.

Corned my own beef brisket, didn’t I. Finally, I hasten to add. Craig Claiborne put the home-corning bug in my ear back in the 1980s, when I read his typically careful, appetizing instructions in his Favorites Volume I, but when David Lebovitz recently revisited his own 2016 piece on the subject, I realized that this year was the year. I located my Brandt brisket, and confirmed I had all the seasonings.

Corned beef in-potential.

Except one! I just needed to nail down the dang pink curing salt. AMZN could deliver it two-day, but today would be SO much better, wouldn’t it. I had a pretty good idea how I might be able solve this little prob.

My friend and neighbor Ali happened at that moment to be in Jordan drinking tea with Bedouins. I messaged her. Momentarily, the word came back from the other side of the world, yes, she had pink salt in her pantry at home. And her visiting, pet-sitting mom would be happy to make the hand-off.

It was all very very now, very very today, with the tremendous additional delight of reminding me that there’s still a little magick in the old canyon—not only do I have a neighbor who 1. even knows what I mean when I say pink salt, but 2. has it in her pantry.

I’m not going to provide a recipe procedural, because anyone interested can find everything needed right up there in David Lebovitz’ link. What I will say: DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT! Completely and utterly worth it. Would be worth doing even if it was complicated and difficult. It is, however, simple and easy.

Full Monty Reuben.

Postscript: Not all beef, understatement alert, is Brandt-level good. The incredible melting richness of my results is due in unknown degree to Brandt quality. I would likely, or at least maybe, give it a try with the prime grade in-the-bag brisket that Costco often has, I assume for the barbecue/smoker cohort. Especially since next time I plan to corn and then smoke, aiming for something that one hopes ends up quite very much like pastrami, and there is not a whit not a mote not an iota of shame in trial runs with slightly less expensive ingredients.

Post-postcript: The only corned beefs I’ve ever cooked that were anywhere near as good as this one I corned myself have been from Robert’s Corned Meats in San Francisco. I know that if I’d visited the City this spring and been able to coordinate ferrying home a Robert’s brisket, I would have put off making my own for yet another year.

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