Corned Beef Reuben

A day late and a dollar short, as always.

I decided to try my hand at corning so I could participate in Charcutepalooza this month, but I forgot that I was supposed to post this on the 15th. Oops. It’s cool, though, I didn’t really want to be one more plate of corned beef at Saint Paddy’s day, and I let my creativity and Teutonic roots take me in a different direction.

The neat thing about corning (long-brining meat for 60 hours or more) is that it isn’t for brisket alone. Besides, I didn’t have any brisket – for some reason, whenever I go in on half-beeve splits of grass-fed beef, I never get any brisket. I did, however, get a nice, cylindrical rump roast that I figured would cure well. After all, it is just another cut from a leg; it’s just from the back instead of the front.

I prepared my generic brine by combining kosher salt, pink salt (nitrates are how curing happens), brown sugar and water. I wanted to have a slightly aqvavit flavor so I added caraway seed, a couple clove buds and juniper and allspice berries to the usual peppercorns and crushed bay. Then I got a wild hair up my ass and added grains of paradise to the mix for a little zing. I massaged a little crushed garlic into my roast and then immersed it in its bath. Saint Paddy’s Day came and went, and on the 5th day I pulled the little beaut out and rinsed it off.

Here’s when things went south.

I pressure-cooked it with an onion and some celery. I fully intended for this to be a nice Sunday roast dinner with new potatoes, carrots and peas and all that, but when I sliced up the roast – so succulent! so rosy! – it tasted exactly like hot dogs. I mean exactly.

I slightly panicked. What the hell was I going to do with a 3 pound log of hot dog? “Nitraaaates!” I cursed, shaking my fist. I contemplated dipping the whole thing in cornmeal batter and dropping it into a fryer. Instead, I made my potatoes, carrots and peas, and I dribbled a rich beef jous over everything. It was salty, but edible. The next day, I calmed down and came to my senses.

Of course. A Reuben. Forehead slap.

I picked up a nice loaf of rye and some sliced Swiss. I had everything else already in my coffers. I whipped together some thousand island dressing by mixing some mayo, some of smoky-sweet roasted tomato ketchup that I canned last summer, a few spoonfuls of homemade green tomato relish and chopped dill pickle (also homemade) with a little blob of gochujang for heat. I cobbled together a sauerkraut of sorts by chopping together some chowchow, a wad of pickled cabbage and some pickled Walla Walla sweet onions. My tireless food preservation efforts had once again come to my rescue, and I gave myself a smug pat on the back.

I assembled the sandwich and carefully toasted it on my lovely cast iron flat-top. A nice German beer, some good pickles (currently taking up residence in my fridge: baby beets, dilly beans and hot Kosher dills) and the day was saved.

It really was.

About Heather

Gilding the lily since 2006.
This entry was posted in Beef, Classical and Eurotrashical, Epic Undertakings, Germanic, Puttin' Up, Sammiches, Under Pressure. Bookmark the permalink.