Serves 4 to 6
For the brine/cure:
4 quarts cold water
1-1/2 cups kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
10 allspice berries
10 whole cloves
2 bay leaves, coarsely crumbled
1 cinnamon stick, coarsely broken
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seed
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon pink curing salt (see Note below)
1 4- to 5-pound beef brisket, fat closely trimmed, preferably grass-fed
For the smoking:
1 large aluminum foil-roasting pan
6 large whole carrots, peeled and trimmed
6 cups hardwood chips, preferably oak, soaked in cold water to cover for 1 hour, then drained (We used peach wood chunks and maple chips)
Put 2 quarts of water in a large nonreactive stockpot. Add the kosher salt and brown sugar. Lightly crush the allspice, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon, coriander, peppercorns, and mustard seed in a mortar with a pestle or in a spice grinder. Add to the brine, along with the ginger and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve the salt and sugar crystals. Stir in the pink salt and the remaining 2 quarts of cold water. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for several hours. Submerge the brisket in the chilled brine, weighting it with a glass pie plate or heavy dinner plate. Cover and refrigerate for 5 to 7 days.
When ready to cook, drain the brisket—scrape off any clinging spices—and discard the brine.
Lay the carrots crosswise in the roasting pan and put the brisket, fat side up, on top. (The carrots make a natural roasting rack.)
If using a smoker, light it according to the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat to 250°F. Toss 1-1/2 cups of wood chips on the coals. If using a charcoal grill, set it up for indirect grilling using only half as much charcoal as you usually would—about 6 to 8 nice lumps of charcoal per side. Toss 1-1/2 cups wood chips on the coals.
Smoke the corned beef until very tender, 6 to 8 hours or more, replenishing the coals as needed to maintain 250°F. Replenish the wood chips for the first 4 hours of smoking time, then tightly cover the roasting pan with heavy duty foil for the remainder of the cook. When done, the internal temperature of the brisket on an instant-read meat thermometer should be 195°F. Let the meat rest, still covered, for at least 20 minutes. Uncover carefully and slice the brisket against the grain into 1/4-inch slices.
Alternatively, let the meat cool to room temperature, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate it overnight or for up to three days before slicing. (We ate the brisket after 20 minutes of rest on the counter. We kept the meat wrapped in foil with a towel over the foil.)
Note: Pink salt—also called Prague powder or InstaCure—is a curing agent that inhibits bacterial growth and gives cured meats their characteristic reddish-pink color. It contains 93.75 percent salt and 6.25 percent sodium nitrite as well as a coloring agent to distinguish it from table salt. It is available through some butchers and businesses that sell sausage-making supplies. You can eliminate pink salt from the recipe without affecting the flavor, but your corned beef will not retain its color. We purchased our pink salt (Prague powder number #1) from Hoosier Hill Farm: https://hoosierhillfarm.com/
Recipe adapted from our favorite grill master, Steven Raichlen
- 1 head green cabbage
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- (see additional ingredient options below)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Cut the head of cabbage into 8 equally-sized wedges, cutting through the core and stem end. If desired, use a knife to carefully trim off the stem on each wedge. Arrange the wedges in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
Use a pastry brush or oil mister to brush/mist the top sides of each cabbage wedge with the olive oil, then season generously with salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Turn cabbage wedges carefully, then repeat on second side.
Roast cabbage for about 10 minutes, or until edges of the cabbage and the bottom of the wedges are nicely browned. Then turn each wedge carefully and roast 10-15 minutes more, until the cabbage is nicely browned and cooked through with a bit of chewiness remaining. Serve immediately, and garnish with lemon if desired.
What a lovely day of cooking, working, worshipping, and being creative!