Author Topic: Corned beef  (Read 27062 times)

Offline Thompsoncentre

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Corned beef
« on: March 30, 2014, 08:47:16 am »
Sory about the silly questions but I have a recipe for a corned beef recipe. Which I'm goin to smoker for pastrami. I bought a cross rib pot roast which isn't a brisket but that's all they had. this may be a silly question but it calles for coarse salt but I just have regular table salt. Is this fine?

Offline Thompsoncentre

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Re: Corned beef
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2014, 08:54:15 am »
Also I must add the recipe doesn't call or any cure. It does call for saltpetre tho. I kno this method is fine if your stoping at just a corned roast. But will it be fine if I plan on smokimg after?

Offline tskeeter

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Re: Corned beef
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2014, 09:15:34 am »
There are a couple of issues with using table salt.

First, it is ground a lot finer than something like kosher salt, so you get a lot more salt into every cup.  Using table salt could cause you to over salt the meat.  (Note that there are conversion tables floating around this forum and the internet that will allow you to convert different brands and grinds of salt to a consistent mass.)

Second, table salt typically has iodine added to it, where kosher salt, pickling salt, sea salt, and the like do not.  I remember reading that the iodine will cause meat to taste better.

In regards to your recipe, the saltpetre is the curing agent.  Don't have a clue how to translate saltpetre into something like cure #1, but maybe others can help.

My concern about the possibility of skipping the cure is that you'll be in the 40 - 140 temp zone while making pastrami.  The salt from the pickling will provide some deterrent to bacteria growth, as will smoking.   And you could cold smoke, to keep the temp down.  But, I'm not sure it would be enough to be safe.  There are guys who hang out here that are knowledgeable on food safety and smoking.  Hopefully one of them will be along soon.  You might try re-posting this thread with a subject specifically designed to attract the attention of the folks you want.  Something that helps them understand you are planning to make pastrami from uncured corned beef. 


Offline Thompsoncentre

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Re: Corned beef
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2014, 09:48:40 am »
Thanks a lot tskeeter! You make some very valid points about the salt! Since I have no way to get #2 cure anytime soon. Maybe I will just corn in an use it for a corned beef dinner.
But anyone else have any more input would be appreciate.
Thanks again!

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Corned beef
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2014, 01:27:27 pm »
Can you post the brine recipe? I'm assuming you are going to cure this using a wet brine?

 I should be able to covert it to cure #1, and adjust the curing times, for you to use in the future. Saltpetre is not a dependable curing agent. I know people have been using it for ages, but since cure #1 with sodium nitrite has been on the market, that  is more reliable, consistent, and cures much faster than saltpetre.

If you want to go without the saltpeter or cure #1, and if it is a wet brine, you can use a 10% salt solution brine, and that concentration will provide enough salt to retard any harmful microbial growth while smoking/cooking in temperatures in the hot smoke range. A 10% brine is about 1 pound of salt per 1 gallon of liquid. When I make pastrami, I mainly use the cure for color and flavor, since I smoke/cook my pastrami above 200°F. So if you smoke/cook at 200°F or higher, you can use the brine recipe you have without saltpetre. Just note, if you use salt only you cooked pastrami will have a grayish color to it, like you would expect to see in a cooked pot roast, and lack the flavor associated with sodium nitrite.

If your roast is a very thick cut, you may want to inject, or if you don't have an injector you may want to slice it so it is less then 4" thick.

One other thing, sea salts contain many minerals that may have an effect on your finished product. It is better to avoid sea salts, and to stick with non-iodized table salt, canning salt, or Kosher salts.


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Offline Thompsoncentre

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Re: Corned beef
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2014, 01:51:57 pm »
Thanks for the reply habs!
This is a recipe my grandfather used when he was alive. So this is why I wanted to use it, but he never smoked afterwards.
3 1/2 gallons water
1 pack pickling spice pack
1tsp saltpetre
1 peeled onion whole
2 1/2 pounds course salt
And it said to leave in bucket for 14 days and it would done.

And I have a cross rib pot roast that's approx 8" long 2 1/2 " thick

Now my bucket that I wanted to do it in won't even hold that much liquid so I kind of wanted to scale,it down but if not I will just get a bigger bucket no big deal.
I have cure here that came in my snack stick kits left over so I'm assuming that's cure #1? So if you could convert it over for me that would be awesome!
Now for cooking I kind of just figured I would put a rub on and then smoke until I got a temp of 162. My smoker will not get over 200 so I can't do it like you.
Anyways any help is highly appreciated and if you would tell me the route you would go that would be awesome!

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Corned beef
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2014, 02:28:07 pm »
I forgot to ask how many pounds it the roast. A general rule of thumb is that the weight of the liquid should be at least 40% - 50% the green weight of the meat, so if you don't need 3.5 gallons, you don't have to make that much. With your size roast, you can use much less.

If you can get your smoker above 180°F, that temperature is safe in a smoker for meats uncured; according to "Home Production of Quality Meat and Sausages" by Marianski

The following link is to my ham recipe. In that recipe it will show you how to calculate the amount of brine you need, and also there is a link to a very good recipe converter:
Smoked Cured Ham

If you are using saltpetre cure it the length of time in your father's recipe. If in the future you want to use cure #1, for 3.5 gallons I would use 5.25 ounces of cure #1, reduce the salt to 2 pound 3 ounces (though 5 ounces shouldn't matter that much so you also can keep the salt as is). The cure packets that come with a cure mix is generally cure #1, but not always. Can you provide the manufacturer's name of the stick kits.

Converted Recipe
3 1/2 gallons water
1 pack pickling spice pack
5.25 ounces Cure #1 (Prague Powder #1)
1 peeled onion whole
2 1/2 pounds course salt (or reduce salt to 2 pounds 3 ounces)

With the thickness of meat that you have, leave in brine for 3 - 4 days. Each day remove the meat, stir the brine, and reposition the meat in the bucket.


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Offline Thompsoncentre

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Re: Corned beef
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2014, 02:35:40 pm »
Wow thanks a lot!  I really appreciate that!

Offline Thompsoncentre

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Re: Corned beef
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2014, 02:49:50 pm »
The cure packets are from high mountion. It's says cure on the pack

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Corned beef
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2014, 01:41:17 am »
Hi Mountain cure packets is cure #1.

I forgot to mention; I stopped using brisket for my beef pastrami a few years back. It just has gotten too expensive.


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Offline tskeeter

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Re: Corned beef
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2014, 08:32:49 am »
Hi Mountain cure packets is cure #1.

I forgot to mention; I stopped using brisket for my beef pastrami a few years back. It just has gotten too expensive.


Habs, I've been wanting to try your pastrami recipe.  What are you using these days instead of brisket?

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Corned beef
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2014, 01:05:12 pm »
I've been using various cuts from the shoulder. The sirloin cuts don't have enough flavor for me. Of the shoulder cuts I prefer the chuck eye roast, because it usually has a thin line of fat running through it. I trim them into blocks of meat about 2" - 3" thick, and use the trimmings for stir fry, stews, chili, or casseroles.

I've seen a couple of Short Rib Pastrami recipes, and would love to try that cut, but I can't find beef ribs that meaty.


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Offline Thompsoncentre

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Re: Corned beef
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2014, 02:40:41 pm »
That's crazy that it goes from 1 teaspoon saltpetre to 5 ounces of cure! That's a big difference in amount.

Offline tskeeter

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Re: Corned beef
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2014, 02:51:20 pm »
That's crazy that it goes from 1 teaspoon saltpetre to 5 ounces of cure! That's a big difference in amount.

The reason for the big change in volume is that cure #1 is about 94% salt and 6.25% sodium nitrite (curing agent).  The salt serves two purposes.  It acts as a carrier for the sodium nitrite.  It would be really hard to get very small quantities of sodium nitrite evenly distributed on the meat you want to cure.  (Also a problem with saltpetre.)  Sodium nitrite evenly blended into curing salt is much easier to get distributed evenly.  And, the salt can be tinted (pink salt) so that it is easily identifiable as a curing agent, rather than common table salt.

Offline Thompsoncentre

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Re: Corned beef
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2014, 02:55:13 pm »
Hmm thanks skeeter! Once again makes sence!