Curing time. 5-7 days
About 8 pounds of beef brisket or navel
For the brine:
1 gallon water
1 cup brown sugar, preferably dark
8 ounces salt, by weight
4 teaspoons pink curing salt #1
5 tablespoons The Spice Diva pickling spices
4 cloves garlic, smashed or pressed
1) Find a container large enough to handle 1 gallon of brine and the meat (you can cut it into pieces as small as 2 pounds). It must be non-reactive (stainless steel, glass, porcelain, or food safe plastic). It cannot be made of aluminum, copper, or cast iron, all of which can react with the salt. Do not use garbage bags or a garbage can or a bucket. They are not food grade. Do not use a styrofoam cooler. It might give the meat an off flavor and you'll never get the cooler clean when you're done. Zipper bags work fine. You can use Brining Bags, Ziploc XL, and XXL bags.
2) Mix the brine in 1 quart very hot water until salt has dissolved. Add 3 quarts very cold water.
3) Remove as much fat as possible from the exterior of the meat leaving a 1/8" layer on one side.
4) Add the meat to the brine. It will float, so put a plate or bowl or another non-metallic weight on top of the meat until it submerges. The meat will drink up brine so make sure there is enough to cover it by at least 1" or else you'll find the meat high and dry after a few days. Refrigerate. Let it swim for at least 5 days, longer if you wish, especially if the meat is more than 2" thick. You will not likely need more than 7 days, but once it is well cured, it can stay in the brine for several weeks. Move the meat around so all parts get exposed to brine for the first week, and then you can ignore it.
5) A day before cooking, remove the meat from the brine and wrap it in foil for 24 hours.
6) Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Open the foil and pour a small bottle of Guinness into the packet. Bake for 6-8 hours or until very tender. Slice diagonally and serve with a really good mustard, potatoes, soda bread, Irish butter and parsnips or carrots.
Adapted broadly from HuffPost Eats, Meathead. Friend Meathead on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com