Food is sustenance; we all need it to live. Though tons of food items can be consumed daily, there are those we call the “sometimes” food and this is one of them. I don’t know about you but once in a while, I crave this kind of stuff. Canned corned beef was almost always on my grocery list when I was still living in the Philippines. Those tv commercials somehow have this great hypnotic ability that I subconsciously gravitate towards the canned meat aisle…..every single time. Thank goodness, those food commercials are now a thing of the past for me.
Though I buy canned corned beef once in a blue moon, I prefer making it myself. The process is pretty simple – cure in the fridge for a few days then cook till tender. After which, I portion them in freezer-safe containers then off to the freezer until the next craving strikes.
When I was young, my mom took a short food-processing course and making corned beef was one of the recipes included. She would cook the beef cubes for hours until tender enough to be shredded using two forks. That was ages ago and she has no recollection where the recipes are now but I vividly remember the main ingredients. Coupled with some online research, I learned that for every 5 pounds of meat, 1 teaspoon of pink curing salt is all I need. I lowered it down a tad bit and it still worked well for me.
As you read through the recipe, you’ll notice the use of the pink curing salt (prague powder #1) and ascorbic acid. These are essential in the safe curing of the meat and the pink salt gives the finished product its distinct reddish hue. I kept the spices simple according to how we like it and added unflavored gelatin (optional) to thicken the juices a bit. Prague powder #1 is available at amazon and the pure ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) can be found at any drugstore. Just ask the pharmacist for the pure ascorbic acid, without the orange flavoring.
Aside from the classic way of sautéing with some thinly sliced onions, I also turn it into omelets and my kids like it cooked with tons of cubed potatoes with minimal sauce. Whichever way you prefer, hope this also reminds you of the taste of a Filipino corned beef.
Homemade Corned Beef (Filipino)
- 3 lbs beef cut into 1 – 1 ½ inch cubes (brisket or inside round)
- 500 mg ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)*, pounded to a powder (see Notes)
- ½ teaspoon prague powder pink curing salt #1 (see Notes)
- 1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 cups water
- 1 pack Knox unflavored gelatin optional
- Place the cubed meat into a large bowl. Combine the curing mix into a small bowl and evenly sprinkle over the meat. Mix very well with clean hands, making sure every single beef cube is coated. Transfer to a lidded food container and refrigerate (back of the fridge – coldest part) for 3 days. Stir once or twice during the whole time to distribute the curing mix well.
- Wash, rinse and drain the meat thoroughly to remove the excess salt. Place the meat in the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Add the onion powder, garlic powder and water then stir to combine.
- Close the pressure cooker and position the lid to Sealing. Set on Manual for 50 minutes and natural release after 15 minutes.
- ***If cooking stovetop, bring mixture (except the Knox gelatin) to a boil then lower the heat to the lowest setting and cook for 3 to 4 hours or until the meat is fork tender. Add ½ cup more water if the liquid is drying up.
- Scoop out the meat to a plate and shred using 2 forks. Strain the broth with a fine sieve and reserve 1 ½ to 2 cups of the liquid. If not using gelatin, mix in the broth to the meat. Corned beef is now ready to be portioned for later use.
- (If using gelatin:) Measure ½ cup of the broth and let cool to room temperature. Sprinkle the gelatin on the cooled liquid (½ cup) then stir to combine. Set the Instant Pot to Saute. Add the gelatin mix to the remaining liquid (in the inner pot) and bring to a boil. Put the shredded beef back into the pot and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn the heat off.
- Corned beef is now ready to be cooked as you please. Portion into desired amount and place in a freezer-safe container. Freeze until ready to use.