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This corned beef is so much better than anything you can possible find in the store (unless you have an in with an awesome neighborhood delicatessen). This is the recipe we use in our top-ranked Reuben sandwich, and the right corned beef makes all the difference! If you want to brine your own beef, you certainly can, but it's just as easy to use a pre-brined brisket from a commercial source so long as you pick the cut carefully. We like using the flat of the brisket rather than the point because it takes flavor nicely and slices much more evenly which is important for sandwiches.
- 2 -4 lbs beef brisket, flat-cut (from commercial corned beef... toss the spice packet they include.)
- 8 bay leaves, coarsely crumbled
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds, roughest grind in spice grinder
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns, cracked
- 5 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
- Mix all ingredients EXCEPT brisket in a bowl.
- Place brisket in a vacuum bag. Apply rub to all sides of brisket.
- Vacuum and seal bag. (If you don't have a food vacuum system, use a ziplock and squeeze out the air you can manage.).
- Refrigerate for 2 days (for vacuumed) to 4 days (for ziplock only), massaging through bag and turning over every 12 hours.
- Two hours before cooking, remove bag from refrigerator.
- Place a rack or metal steamer in the bottom of a large pot to create a space so the bag can't rest on the bottom during cooking. Place sealed bag containing the brisket in the steamer and add water until the bag is completely covered. Remove bag from pot.
- Bring water to a boil. Place bag gently in boiling water. (It's important to maintain the seal on the bag because a leaky bag will cut way back on the flavor.) When the water reaches a low simmer, reduce the heat to maintain the water at barely bubbling.
- Simmer the brisket in the bag for 5 hours, adding water to keep the bag submerged as needed, turning the bag over every 30 minutes.
- When 5 hours is up, remove the bag from the water, open and rinse the brisket in hot running water to remove the remaining rub.
- If serving as corned beef as in a New England boiled dinner, slice about 1/8" to 1/4" thick and serve with boiled potatoes and cabbage.
- If serving on a sandwich, chill the corned beef back down to below 40 degrees F, and slice 1/16" thick using a deli slicer or very sharp knife.