Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Homemade Deli-Style Corned Beef Sandwich

If you followed my tweets during St. Patty's week, you've read about and seen photos of: $1.27 cent per pound corned beef on sale at Von's market; whole heads of cabbage (for a deli-style coleslaw) at 3 pounds for a dollar from Ralphs grocery; my week of brining the whole beef brisket; and you also know the outcome of my attempt to make a Homemade Deli-Style Corned Beef Sandwich. You can call it an Irish/Kosher holiday meal by way of Twitter (click here.)

Normal boiled corned beef for St. Patrick's Day is delicious, but New York deli-style is a great way to go, too. Anyone can make it -- and you get a huge hunk of meat for way less than the price of a $11.75 Corned Beef Sandwich at Canter's Deli (their menu here.) I bought a 2.67-pound slab of beef for $3.39. It's enough, when cooked and sliced, for three huge Corned Beef Sandwiches. That's a great deal; more than 99 cents per sammy, but not by much.

When you buy a corned beef from the market it is ready to cook. Just add the packet of herbs that come with it, and
boil the beef for 4 hours; allow it to cool down; then slice and stack it between two pieces of bread. I like to add mustard, cheese and coleslaw to my deli sandwich, how about you?

If you are as cheap as me, you will have stocked up on the Irish holiday corned beef sales. Not even the biggest BBQ day of the year, the 4th of July, has such a good deal on beef  (even hamburger was at least $2.89 per pound, if I remember last year's prices right). I got one brisket to cook and three more for the freezer -- check back, as I have plans to make a Texas style BBQ brisket with one of them this summer. (My neighbors have a small smoker they said I could borrow.)

Back to Homemade Deli-Style Corned Beef Sandwiches -- I wanted to try something different with the on-sale beef brisket. I feel priced-out of regular deli dining these days, with sandwiches in the $10 plus range. My favorite deli sandwich is a Corned Beef on Rye with Coleslaw (slaw on the sandwich, not as a side.) It's cool and crunchy, plus meaty and rich, but too much of a good thing. So, by making it at home I can control the amount of meat that a typical deli over-loads between two slices of bread -- and I can scoop as much coleslaw into the sandwich as I want.

If you only have access to plain beef brisket then try corning the beef yourself a couple of ways with salt: either by a "dry rub" mix, or by totally submerging the beef in a bath of salt, also known as brining.

To get that supple and moist texture of typical deli meat, brining is best. Also, spices and sugar are mixed into the brine solution for extra flavor. For my deli corned beef I'm using spices you may already have on hand -- and if you don't, that's okay; just use what you got, it will still be delicious. The main ingredients for corning the beef are salt and sugar.

The only thing to watch out for is an over-salty corned beef. The brisket needs to brine/soak for about five days in the refrigerator. When you are ready to cook it, give the corned beef a good rinse. Next, place the brisket in a pot and cover it with water. Bring to a low boil and cook 10 minutes or so, to leech out most of the salt. Finally, change out the water one last time and it's ready for slow simmering.

It's pretty simple really -- just make the brine, leave the beef to soak a few days in the refrigerator, and finally let it slow cook for a few hours. Scroll down to Hindsight to see my brining method directions.

You'll also want a batch of your favorite coleslaw to go along with my Homemade Deli-Style Corned Beef Sandwich. And, if you want a real deli coleslaw recipe, then just click here. I've got one so good your guests will ask if are moonlighting at Canter's Deli, while checking out your legs, looking for those waitress's sensible shoes and granny stockings!

This cheapest of chefs knows all about local sandwich makers -- just check out my Los Angeles Sandwich Video Tour from last month, here. And, below is a another flashback video I shot in 2008 of Canter's Delicatessan's 60th anniversary. For that day only, Corned Beef Sandwiches cost 60 cents! My friend Drew and I were all over that deal. Even though there was a "one sandwich per customer limit," the incorrigible 99 Cent Chintzy Chef found a way around that roadblock - just watch the video to see how I did it.

And at the end of this post I also provided a Quickie Corned Beef Version for your convenience.

Canter's Deli's 60 Cent Corned Beef Sandwich - VIDEO 
Play it here. Video runs 1 minutes, 45 seconds.

To view or embed from YouTube, click here.

Ingredients using Corned Beef
  • 1 whole corned beef - from your local supermarket or deli. They usually weigh 4 to 5 pounds.
  • Water - enough to cover brisket.
  • 1 whole chopped carrot - optional
  • 1 whole chopped onion - optional
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic - fresh or from jar.
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • Packet of herbs that come with corned beef.

Add enough fresh water to cover the brisket by an inch. Add the chopped veggies and bay leaf. Bring up the water to a boil, then lower the heat for a low simmer, cover the pot and cook for about 4 hours.

Check every hour or so to make sure the broth does not cook out. Add a 1/4 cup of water at a time, if needed. That's it -- just remove the corned beef and let it cool down enough to slice and serve.

For an oven version, add the veggies, then cover and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 3 hours. Finally, remove the cover and finish baking another hour -- this will give a nice dark brown color to the outside of the meat.

When slicing the corned beef for sandwiches make sure to cut across the grain of the meat. Of course, you'll want to try out a slice to see how yummy it is. Notice how compact the meat is and its rosy color inside. It may still taste a little salty, but that's normal.

For a Deli-style Corned Beef Sandwich just add mustard to rye bread. Layer on your favorite cheese, corned beef and coleslaw. From a 2.67 pound of corned beef brisket, I made 3 sandwiches. I served them to my wife, mother-in-law and our neighbor Deb -- they all raved how delicious it was. I hope you will like it too!

 Ingredients for Brining Corned Beef
  • 1/2 cup of salt - some recipes use for pink curing salt, which keeps the meat pink.
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar - okay to use regular sugar, or a favorite sweetener like honey.
  • 1 tablespoon of peppercorns - or regular black pepper.
  • 1 tablespoon powdered ginger - or fresh chopped.
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder - also, chopped fresh or from jar.
  • 1 tablespoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground, or whole, cloves
  • 2 whole bay leaves - crumbled. Or other favorite dried herb.
  • 4 cups of water - or enough to cover brisket.
  • Container and one large Ziplock bag to hold brisket and brine/marinade.
  • I also added the spice packet from the packaged Corned Beef - optional.
* It's okay to leave out any spices you don't have - it's mainly about brining with sugar and salt.

Directions for Brining
Heat water in a pot until it starts to simmer. Mix in sugar and salt and stir until it all dissolves - should only take 2 to 4 minutes. Add all the spices and bay leaves. (I also opened the corned beef package and poured in the spice packet that comes with it - optional.) Mix well and turn off heat. It needs to cool down to room temperature. You can add some ice cubes to speed it up, or just come back in half an hour.

Remove the brisket and rinse it off. I used a large freezer plastic bag for brining. Add the brisket to the plastic bag and add enough cooled brine liquid to cover the meat, then seal it. You could also use a large plastic, ceramic, or glass container with a cover. I then placed the bag of brine and brisket into a plastic container, in case the bag accidentally opens during the 5 days of brining in the refrigerator.

After a couple of days, I turned the plastic bag over, so all sides of the brisket get enough brining solution. After 5 days it's time to cook the corned beef.

Directions for Cooking home cured Corned Beef
First, dump the brine and rinse off the brisket. Add the brisket into a large pot and pour in enough water to cover the meat. Bring to a low boil and cook for about 10-15 minutes. This will leech out most of the salt. Pour out the salty water.

 Now you can follow the cooking directions above.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This really looks scrumptious! Now, I would really want to try this out! Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe. I definitely need to add this for this week’s menu. I know my family will love this! I am sure that other readers as well as restaurant Fort Lauderdale owners will also appreciate this. Again, thank you so much for this post!

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