With the approach of St. Paddy’s day I got a brisket into the brine Friday, in time to make my wife the corned beef she loves. And I realized I’ve never blogged about it.  Everyone who cooks should corn their own beef.  It’s easy as brining a chicken. And when you make your own pickling spice (brine photo above, recipe below), you can really pump up the flavor. Any cut of beef can be “corned” (corn was originally a generic term for grain, deriving from the same root as kernel and grain; corning beef referred to curing beef with grains of salt, McGee, page 477, thanks to Patrick for his corrective comment).  But the best cuts are the tougher, less-expensive cuts such as brisket. The only uncommon ingredient is the sodium nitrite, pink salt, available Read On »

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I normally don’t brine chicken.  I roast a chicken about once a week and it’s a step I just don’t think about since salting the bird before I roast it works perfectly fine.  Also, I don’t like the skin of a brined and roasted bird—it’s too thin and dehydrated.  But on Sunday, I had the time and was curious to find out if, as I’ve read and repeated, meat that has been brined is heavier (and therefore potentially juicier) than non-brined meat.  I also had fresh herbs left over from the dumplings in the previous post.  While I always use a rosemary brine for fried chicken, I was curious to find out if the more delicate tarragon flavor would come through in the flesh of the bird.  So I made a brine using my standard, Read On »

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