Home cured corned beef tastes so much better than the shop-bought variety but you will need to purchase the pink curing salt online, which is necessary to cure the brisket safely.
To make the pickling spice, combine all ingredients together and store tightly covered until ready to use.
To prepare the corned beef, put the kosher salt, sugar, garlic, thyme with the previously prepared pickling spice, and 1.2 litres of water in a 8-10 litre stock pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from the heat and let the mixture steep for 5 minutes. Stir in the pink curing salt to dissolve, then add another 3.6 litres of cold water, stirring to combine. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.
Put the beef brisket in a lidded, high-sided, food-grade plastic or metal container just large enough to contain the meat. Pour in enough of the cooled curing liquid to cover the meat, weighing it down with small plates, if necessary, to keep the beef submerged beneath the brine. Cover and refrigerate for 5 days, turning the meat over after 2 or 3 days.
Once the beef has been cured, remove the meat from the liquid and place in a pan large enough to just contain it. (Reserve the curing liquid for now.) Rinse the meat in 2-3 changes of water and drain. Strain the herbs, spices, and garlic from the curing liquid and discard the liquid.
Tom Barry’s family farm is Baytown Park, Dunboyne, Co Meath. He is the third generation on the farm taking over from his late father, Thomas Barry in 2008 and keeps Hereford cross suckler cows as well as pedigree Hereford cows. Herefords are such a docile breed and as a part time farmer, with teenagers helping around the farm, it’s important to have a breed that’s easy to look after and handle. Tom’s farm is in the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) for the past 5 years, where frequently taking soil samples and the completion of a nutrient management plan are required.