Why is my corned beef overly salty?

  • Why is my corned beef overly salty? Ray

    I cured my own corned beef recently, and cooked it sous vide (a la J. Kenji Lopez Alt). The result was superior to the pre-cured joints I've boiled to oblivion in the past to be sure, but it was unpalatable salty.

    I'm trying to figure out what I did wrong and how to correct it, and I'm going in a couple of main directions.

    1. Too much cure. The recipe had kosher salt and pink salt. I substituted tender quick for pink salt. Perhaps the concentrations are different? Perhaps I don't need both kosher and TQ? I also noticed some of the salt took almost a week to dissolve. Maybe that points to an excessive amount of cure.
    2. Salt couldn't escape. I suppose one downside of cooking sous vide in this case is that the salt can't really dissipate as it might otherwise. I did rinse the beef thoroughly before cooking it, but perhaps instead it should be soaked for a while (a few hours perhaps?) in cold water before getting vacpacked and cooked.

  • I think 2. is the most likely. Remember the beef has been brining for ages, a rinse will just remove the salt from the outside, and even then it won't do much.

    Personally I wouldn't bother with the sous vide. 'Proper' corned beef should be gently simmered in a covered pot for about 2.5 hours. It doesn't need 'boiling' per se, and certainly not to oblivion!

  • After a few experiments, I found the lessening the concentration of the cure left the meat undercured and still salty, whereas a soak eased out the excess salt of the already-cured beef.

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