Wednesday, September 18, 2019

in the brine

This was a 2-kilo slab of brisket that turned out to be one huge flat with almost no point. I'm not complaining. There was very little silver skin to cut away, so after I sliced the meat into two 1-kilo chunks, I dropped the brisket halves into a large plastic container and poured over the brine I had prepped: muscovado sugar, a combination of salts (sea salt, kosher salt, fleur de sel, and even a little table salt), pickling spices, chipotle chili flakes, red chili flakes, paprika, a dash of apple-cider vinegar, and a bit of ginger. The brine itself smelled awesome. One end of the beef was just beginning to oxidize, transitioning from red to something slightly grayer, but I think I got the meat into the brine in time. Nothing smelled rotten or rancid.

I'm going to have to pull the brisket out of the brine right when I come back from work; from everything I've read, it's always better to under-brine than to over-brine, as over-brining leads to meat that is gray, dead, and way too salty. That would be a waste of a good brisket. I might also cook the brisket Wednesday night instead of Thursday night; either that, or I can freeze it before cooking it, then break it out for baking Friday night.* I don't plan to use more than 600 grams for the steak-and-kidney pie, so that's going to leave me with a ton of leftover brisket to do something with. I'll probably make BBQ brisket sandwiches, and since I have a lot of chimichurri in storage, I'll have a ready-made dipping sauce again.

*Baking the brisket from a frozen state is possible; I do that with chicken breast all the time, and the result is super-juicy. But what I might do is pull the brisket out of the freezer, give it a two-hour thaw, then stick it in the oven for an extra few minutes. Ultimately, after several hours' cooking, the brisket will turn out fine whatever its initial state might have been.

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