Yes, Dear Reader … it’s that time of year! The time–shortly before/after St. Patrick’s Day–when you can actually find corned beef in the grocery stores at something that at least resembles a deal! It’s such a special item for so many–an item they only eat for St. Patty’s–that there’s just not enough call for it (at least … anywhere I’ve ever lived, which includes Savannah, GA … known for having one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the US) for there to ever really be any good sales on it. At best, you can hope for a few days where you can find points for $1.99/lb … and flats for somewhere around $2.69/lb.
What are points and flats? you ask.
Corned Beef is generally made from a beef brisket. It’s a long cut of meat that has a thick layer of fat on one side, and long, tough meat fibers running from end to end. Points are the two pieces your butcher cuts off of either end of the brisket. There, you tend to find a lot more fat … and the meat fibers were attached to other cuts, so they tend to go in lots of different directions, which sometimes makes a point tougher than a flat, in addition to being fattier.
In comparison, a flat is the center section of the brisket. It tends to be a more expensive cut of meat because of the fact that all the fibers run in pretty much the same direction, allowing you to easily make cuts across the grain … which can help tenderize your corned beef brisket as well.
Canning corned beef is almost as easy as canning chicken breasts. In fact, I ran a production line with the batch of chicken I put up (15 jars) with the corned beef (another 15 jars) right behind it. It made for a long evening, but well worth the work!
Start by opening your packages of corned beef. Drain all the juice into a large bowl. It’s flavored: don’t discard it. Also retain the spice packet. You’ll need that later, too.
Take the piece of meat and cut away any obvious hunks of excess fat, then slice it into roughly 3/4-inch chunks. After you cut up each chunk, sprinkle the spices over it.
Once you have all the meat chunks cut up, mix the juice and spices among the chunks evenly.
Pack your corned beef into pints (I use wide-mouths), and then process it at 75 minutes for under 1,000 ft of elevation, adjust if you live at a higher altitude. As always, use the NCHFP recommended times for processing your corned beef
How do you use it? That’s easy! Sandwiches! Ruben Casserole! Corned beef hash, which uses my canned potatoes, too. Steam some cabbage, onions, and potatoes … then open a jar and let it heat with all their flavors incorporated. There’s even more from there … so use your imagination