Aired March 13, 2012
1/4 cup caraway seeds, toasted, divided
1/4 cup coriander seeds, toasted, divided
1/4 cup black peppercorns, divided
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt, a palmful
1 tablespoon rubbed sage, a palmful
1 tablespoon dried dill, a palmful
For the Brine:
8 cups water, divided
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 fresh bay leaf
1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves separated from stems, both stems and leaves reserved
3 garlic cloves in skin, crushed
6-pound beef brisket or 1 10-pound ham shank, bone-in and skin removed
For the Corned Beef or Boiled Ham:
4 quarts water for beef brisket or 7 quarts water ham
2 12-ounce bottles Guinness beer
1 cabbage, cut into 6 wedges with root attached
9 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
3 large carrots, peeled and cut in quarters on an angle
3 celery stalks, cut in quarters on an angle
3 small onions, peeled and quartered with root end attached
For the Irish Spice Dust: In medium skillet over medium heat, toast the caraway and coriander seeds, and peppercorns until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Reserve half of the toasted spices for the brine mixture. Place the remaining half into a spice grinder with the sea salt, dried sage and dill, and grind into a fine dust. Reserve for later.
For the Brine: Using a 12-quart stock pot over high heat, bring 2 cups of water to a boil with the kosher salt, sugar, the leftover toasted spices from Irish spice dust, 1 bay leaf, parsley stems and crushed garlic cloves. Stir until sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from heat and add remaining 6 cups of ice cold water. Submerge the brisket in the liquid, then top with heavy platter to weigh down and keep it completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate for minimum of 3 days or as long as 5 days.
Remove beef from brine. Rinse under cold water to remove any spices that may have stuck to it. Place back into the stock pot and add enough fresh water to cover the beef, about 4 quarts then top it off with the Guinness. Bring to a bubble and then turn it down slightly to a gentle simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 5 hours. During the last 45-60 minutes of cooking, add the cabbage, potatoes, carrots, celery and onions. Cover with a lid and let simmer until the vegetables are tender.
Cut beef against the grain into 1/2-inch slices and arrange on a platter with vegetables alongside. Sprinkle with Irish Dust and chopped parsley, and serve with Pumpernickel bread, Irish soda bread, butter and mustard.
Serve with Irish Soda Bread.