I’ve got mostly Scottish blood, but who doesn’t enjoy corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day? Especially when it seems like winter is dragging. (Oh, and here’s an idea for next Ground Hog’s Day.) Making it with your game meat is another great way to share your hunting experiences.
And, if your house got a new Ninja Foodi this year, then put it work on this meal; of course, any pressure cooker will work just fine. Alternatively, you can use a slow cooker for 8-10 hours, adding veggies in the last 90 minutes.
You should start this week if you want to serve this for St. Patrick’s Day because the longer you can brine the meat, the better. 10 days in the brine is a good number, but as little as five will get it done, too.
What You Need
For the Brine
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/4 cup Pink Salt #1. You may find this at your hunting store, but you can order it on Amazon, too.
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground Allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup juniper berries (my kids picked them in the hills)
**If you have whole options of any of the above, use a Tablespoon instead; i.e. 1 Tablespoon whole cloves, etc.
For the Meal
- 3 to 5lbs meat — elk, deer, bear, antelope, moose. This works well with any cut, but it’s good for tenderizing less choice cuts. Here, I used the muscle from the elk’s calf. You could also use beef brisket, as is usual.
- 4 cups stock — any game stock, but beef or even chicken stock will do
- Carrots, cut in large chunks
- Potatoes, cut in large chunks
- Cabbage, cut in large chunks
What You Do
Make the brine. Consider the container you’ll use in the fridge — it should be plastic or glass, and even a heavy ziplock bag could work. I used a plastic cereal container. You should be able to submerge your meat in it with the brine.
Heat about four quarts of water and add all the sugar, salts, and spices. The heat will help dissolve it. Then cool the water before adding the meat — you can use ice cubes, just don’t add so much that it doesn’t fit in the container.
With this brine, the most important ingredients are the sugar and the salts. The pink salt (not Himalayan salt, BTW) ensures the meat won’t grow any unsavory bacteria while sitting in the fridge. All the spices are great, and you can add more, but the only really required stuff is the sugar and salts.
Keep it in the fridge for at least five days, but ten days is better. Turn the meat over every couple of days to cure it evenly.
Cook the meal. Remove the meat from the brine and place in your pressure cooker or slow cooker, then add more of the brining spices on top of the meat. Add enough stock to just about cover the meat, and use water if you run out of stock.
Set the pressure cooker to High pressure and for 90 minutes. Remember, this doesn’t mean it will be ready in 90 minutes. It means once it’s up to temperature and pressure it’ll cook for 90 minutes. Plan on it taking at least two hours.
If you use a slow cooker, cook the meat on low for 8-10 hours.
Remove the meat from the cooker and wrap it in foil or cover to let it rest but stay warm. Put the veggies in the pressure cooker and cook on High for 3 minutes — again, it’ll take 15 minutes to cook.
In the slow cooker, add the veggies during the last 90 minutes of cooking.
** If you don’t want your house to smell like cooked cabbage, cook the cabbage separately just before you serve the meal. Heat a pan with a lid over high heat, add the cabbage and a little water to blanch it. Cook for 1 to 3 minutes with the lid on and remove the cabbage from the pan. Combine it with the other veggies to serve.
Slice the meat, which will be falling apart, and serve with the veggies. Or, let it cool and slice for sandwiches on a crusty roll with sauerkraut. My family likes to eat it with the broth and bread in a bowl. Leftovers make breakfast hash.