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We Texas cowgirls are more likely to toss a dry-rubbed brisket in the smoker over smoldering post oak, but still: What cowgirl couldn’t use some “Luck o’ the Irish?”

This hearty and wholesome one-pot meal will make your St. Paddy’s Day feast a memorable one, knowing that you’ve mastered the knack of corning your own beef.  Don’t skip using the Instacure No. 1: It’s what gives corned beef its signature rosy color, enhances flavor, and also eliminates the slim chance of botulism during the seven days the meat cures in the corning liquid.

Serves 4 to 6

To corn the beef:

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon Instacure No. 1 (also called pink salt or Prague salt)
  • 1/4 cup organic dark brown sugar
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons crushed allspice berries
  • 2 teaspoons crushed black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons crushed yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 4 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 6-8 sprigs fresh thyme, crumbled
  • 1 (2- to 3-pound) fresh flat-end beef brisket

To cook the corned beef:

  • 1 (11.2-ounce) bottle Guinness draught (do not use stout)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

To prepare the corned beef and cabbage:

  • 1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 12-16 small multicolored potatoes
  • 1 small head cabbage, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 pound carrots, scrubbed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish

To corn the beef: Combine all the ingredients except the meat in a 5-quart stockpot.  Add 4 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Place the brisket into a large pot, and pour the cooled brine over it.  Add enough ice and cold water to submerge the brisket by 1 inch, and place a heavy plate on top to keep the meat submerged.  Cover the pot, and refrigerate for a week, turning daily so that the brine penetrates the meat completely.

To prepare the corned beef and cabbage: On the seventh day, discard the brine and transfer the roast to a Dutch oven or stockpot large enough that the meat doesn’t touch the sides (it will have shrunk considerably).  Pour the Guinness draught over it and add the garlic, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, caraway seeds, and pepper.  Add in enough water to cover the meat by 2 inches.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 3 hours.

About 45 minutes before the corned beef is done simmering, render the bacon in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, until it turns golden brown.  Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, then sauté the onion in the rendered fat for 3 to 5 minutes, until translucent.  Add the onion and bacon to the stockpot with the corned venison, and bring to a boil.

Add the potatoes to the stockpot, bring to a boil again, then reduce the heat to low.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the cabbage and carrots, return to a boil, and then reduce heat to simmer for another 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

To serve:  Transfer the meat to a serving platter; cut meat against the grain.  Serve meat and vegetables in shallow bowls with a ladle or two of broth.  Garnish with fresh thyme.  Taste for seasoning: you may not need much salt, but a fresh grind of pepper and a schmear of homemade mustard seals the deal!

Whole Grain Mustard

  • 4 ounces yellow mustard seeds
  • 3 ounces brown mustard seeds
  • 4 ounces apple cider vinegar
  • 3 ounces Guinness draught
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

To prepare the mustard: 

Combine yellow and brown mustard seeds, vinegar, and Guinness draught in a small mixing bowl.  Whisk together until well blended, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a cool, dry place for 12 hours or until all the liquid has been absorbed.  Stir the remaining ingredients into the mustard seed mixture and pour into a blender.  Pulse mixture 5 to 6 times then process on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute (depending on the texture you like).  Pour the mustard into a sterilized glass jar, seal and refrigerate. Allow mustard to age for at least 2 days before using it.  Keeps for up to a year.