My name is Irish, I married into Portuguese tradition, and now I am compelled to shower my children with various multicultural treats throughout the year. One of my Irish heritage favorites is corned beef on rye.
Every few months while growing up, my family visited the local New York Style deli for hot corned beef on rye (with plenty of mustard). Though much has changed since then, my taste for corned beef on rye has not dimmed.
Recently, when we filled our freezer with a grass-fed beef, I decided to introduce my children to corned beef on rye. This meal — definitely a treat because of the extra planning and prep — was overwhelmingly adored by all!
I hope you will take extra time soon to enjoy some traditional Irish cooking. The beef marinates for 5 to 7 days — get it started today or tomorrow and you’ll be feasting next week!
Homemade Corned Beef on Rye
You’ll need a nicely sized beef roast, either an expensive or cheaper cut. It should fit in a glass bowl with enough depth that it can be completely covered by the brine. Use any size roast; I recommend 3/4 to 1 pound per person. This should give you enough roast for two sandwiches each.
- 5 pound grass-fed beef roast (brisket or of your choosing; see above)
- 1-1/4 cup sea salt
- 2/3 cup rapadura/sucanat
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated or in small pieces
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
- 1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2/3 teaspoon cloves
- 3/4 teaspoon allspice
- 2/3 teaspoon thyme
- 1-1/2 tablespoons black pepper corns
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 to 2 onions
- additional cloves garlic
- Sourdough rye bread — you can use mine; see substitutions in recipe below
- Lacto-fermented mustard
- Sauerkraut, at room-temperature
Place roast in a large glass bowl/dish that can be covered (I use an extra large pyrex). Fill the bowl or glass dish with enough water to completely submerge the roast under the water (so that no meat is exposed to the air). Without spilling the water, take the roast out, put it on a plate, cover it, and put it in the fridge.
Pour the water from the bowl into a clean stock pot and add the rest of the ingredients. Heat long enough for the salt and sugar to dissolve. Remove from heat. Pour water and spice mixture back into the glass bowl and cool in the fridge for at least 3 to 4 hours.
Once water-spice mixture is chilled, add the meat to the bowl, making sure it is completely submerged. If the roast does not stay submerged, add a non-porous plate on top, and then pour some water on top of that to weight it down. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge, out of the way.
Now comes the easy part — leave the submerged roast in the fridge for a week to get the best flavor, or 4 to 5 days minimum. If you remember, stir the mixture every day or so, and even flip the roast to make sure the spices are doing their work evenly! This is a good time to start your sauerkraut if you haven’t already got some made.
On the 5th or 6th day of soaking the meat, start your rye bread preparations. Use your own recipe, or use my Not-So-Dense (or Sour) Sourdough Bread — just substitute half the flour with rye, plus add 1 to 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds and a slight pour of molasses. You should also should start fermenting your mustard now, too.
On the 7th day, bake your bread, plus get out a large pot to boil your meat. Add a few chopped onions to the pot, as well as a few cloves of garlic. Add the meat and brine, plus extra water, to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for about 3 hours, then test for doneness. It’s done when completely tender when pierced with a fork. Turn off heat. Remove corned beef from the pot and let rest on a platter for at least 15 minutes.
Slice the beef across the grain. Spread mustard on the warm rye bread, top with corned beef, and enjoy a delicious Irish sandwich. If you’d like, you can also add cheese, room-temperature sauerkraut, or sliced veggies.
Note: this corned beef will not have the pretty pink coloring of the corned beef you might find in the store. If you are partial to the coloring, you can always add some juice from purple cabbage sauerkraut to your brine mixture. Either way, pink or not, the taste is fabulous!
You can also make fermented corned beef, and Wardee shows you how in the Lacto-Fermentation eCourse.
What traditional Irish dishes do you and your family love?
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