This year, I corned the brisket myself, using beef from Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, and a mashup of recipes from Epicurious and Ruhlman’s Charcuterie. Corning basically entails brining the meat with pickling spices for a few days.
Note to self for next time: A pound of brisket per person is wayyyy too much brisket. Also, brisket doesn’t seem to shrink very much.
Beef brisket, corned for four days, boiled for four hours. Waiting to be browned briefly in the oven. Jake came through with both grain- and grass-fed specimens of brisket, and the difference is noticeable primarily in texture. Six o’clock to 12 o’clock are grain-fed, and three o’clock is grass. See how grain-fed is slightly more fibrous? Or at least that the meat fibers are much more distinct?
I was sure I’d screwed up the corning. Instead of allowing the pickling brine to come to room temperature and then putting in the beef, I thought I’d cut corners by sticking in nine pounds of frozen brisket — which should bring down the temperature quickly enough that the beef wouldn’t actually cook, right? WRONG. Instead, some of the brisket got all boiled and grey-looking, but this turned out not to be a problem once the stuff was boiled. Pink salt makes everything turn out rosy.
Cabbage, turnips, carrots, and potatoes cooking in the meat broth.
This year, in addition to the usual appearance of Guinness ice cream and cake (which, for whatever reason, was disastrously structurally compromised this go-round), I also made soda bread and brown bread and a beer-batter cheese and scallion bread as well. None of which were particularly great, but at least looked sort of bread-like.
Also, champ, potatoes mashed with scallions, butter, and cream, is awesome. Why do I never make mashed potatoes? I think mostly because I fear them growing cold too quickly.
Oh, and kale salad too.