Corning Bison

I have been listening to and reading quite a few stories this past week on the tradition of corning beef or other meats for St. Patricks Day. The process is simple but it is something that deserves a bit of thought to pull off. On Monday, Ben started the process of actually curing the bison for the this week market. We are doing quite a bit so that we can serve 250 for the market this week and it was a pretty simple process. Here is the recipe, the ratio we used was for about 40 pounds of buffalo brisket but i'm giving you guys a more simple version.

1 gallon water
2 cups kosher salt (we used a french gray sea salt instead, but kosher is easier to find)
1/2 cup sugar
1 ounce pink salt
3 garlic cloves
2 tbls. spices
Orange and Orange peel
5 pound brisket.

So you then brine all the ingredients in a large pot in a fridge for 5 days. Then cook for 3 hours or more. We are going to cook ours over night to make it extra tender. A pretty easy process if not a bit time intensive.

The thing about this recipe is that it takes more planning than normal, the actually time cooking is very little but you can't just go in the kitchen and make corned beef for your St. Patrick's day meal if you don't plan it out at least a week in advance. We had to plan ours out around two months in advance in order to source it locally. Because the farm, Cherokee Bison Farm (Leroy and Cindy Fricke) only kill one animal a week (ask Leroy how he actually kills the Bison) we had to plan it out in far advance. Since there is only two brisket per animal we asked for the Fricke's to start pulling aside cuts all the way back in January.

I think that one of the main problems for a modern restaurant is that they don't want to do this kind of planning. But I think it is essential for both the home cook and professional to start thinking in greater context of their sourcing and planning if we want to improve the viability of our food systems.

Submitted by anonymous on March 17, 2006 - 9:41pm.

This corning technique will work great for beef brisket as well. If you don't want to buy a full brisket, you can buy the flat cut (half a brisket). There are two cuts to each brisket: the flat and the point. The flat is generally a better cut. It is leaner and thinner ("lean" being relative here). Also, don't over-trim your brisket. This is a cut you have to cook a long time and the fat on the meat will help keep it moist.