Monday, November 28, 2011

Corning Beef

This was a new one for me. I attempted some hams with our first pigs. They didn't work out so well. With our second pigs, I tried a brine, making some back bacon and cottage roll type hams. They were better. The smaller pieces turned out really well, actually. The larger pieces needed more time in the brine, and maybe some injections into the centre of the thickest parts. We ended up eating them as slow roasted pull apart pork. Delish!

I found three brine recipes online.  I used this one in one bucket.  I started out with this one in the second bucket, and then started fiddling with it, because it just didn't seem right to me.  It ended up closer to the first, without the cloves,  and bay leaves.  I don't have a kitchen scale, so my measurements are approximate.  I left out the sodium nitrate.  I'm going to freeze it after anyways, if it goes bad before then, I'd rather throw it out than eat carcinogens on purpose.
I used some of the methodology found here.  I used the egg in a shell to test the saltiness of the water.  I pierced the meat vigorously with a fork before submersing it in the brine.
Now it sits in the buckets in the cold room, covered by a plate to keep it submerged, as well as a lid to keep dust and such out.  Stirred on day five.  The directions vary, saying to leave it for 3-15 days. I'll be testing the first piece today, on day 9.  If it's done, I'll package and freeze the rest.  If it's a little weak, I'll leave it sit a few more days, and test another piece, continuing until it seems ready.


  1. I am printing off all this, your comments and links. I agree about the sodium nitrate. Sometimes, the desire for the food overcomes my desire not to have cancer! I love hotdogs, but don't eat them often or eat many.

    Your efforts, successes is more like it, astound me. I am truly in awe.

    The picture at the top is soooo lovely.Since you hate the snow and cold, I guess it is more intriguing to me. We are forecast snow tonight. But, the ground is so warm, little, if anything will stick.

  2. I don't generally think about it with store bought foods. It's there, I know, but it's the nature of the beast, right? The ability to buy food at grocery stores requires that we accept there will be preservatives in it that we may not like. But putting it in my own food on purpose? Nope, couldn't do it.

    I'm beginning to wonder where winter is hiding this year. That snowfall melted. A couple days later we got about 8 inches over night. Then before I could get outside to take pics, it was all a slushy mess. Now it's colder, but we barely have a dusting of snow on the ground.