CLASSIC REUBEN SANDWICH WITH HOMEMADE CORN BEEF

As a southern girl (only by NYC standards) I fucking love classic diner food! Patty melts, BLTs, burgers and shakes, and the ever-so-classic corn beef reuben. As a kid, I had a pretty basic palette, no beef, no fish, my diet only consisted of chicken and pasta. Then there was the day I had my first burger.  There was no turning back. Ironically, now my favorite food is a nicely cooked medium well steak, always accompanied with a side of mac and cheese. Recently, I've tried to cut back on my red meat and dairy intake, however the week of St. Patrick’s day, I was craving an A-grade reuben sandwich. Check out my recipe for brining and slow cooking corn beef brisket. Bare with me, this was a THREE day process. Yes, THREE DAYS, talk about dedication. 

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Ingredients

Pickling spices/ Brine
3 tablespoons whole allspice berries
3 tablespoons whole mustard seeds (brown or yellow)
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
3 tablespoons red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
4 teaspoons whole cloves
2 tablespoons cardamom seeds
6 large bay leaves, crushed
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 stick cinnamon
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
½- 1 gallon water

Corn Beef
3-4 pounds corn beef brisket
2-3 cups water
2-3 cups beef broth 

Reuben
Rye Bread
Swiss Cheese, sliced
Thousand island dressing
(equal parts of mayo, relish, minced shallots and ketchup) 
Sauerkraut

Feel free to buy a pickling spice blend, if you do not feel like making your own. It’s actually way more cost efficient. I made mine because I have most of these spices chilling in my spice cabinet. 
 
To make pickling spice mix:
Add allspice berries, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, red pepper flakes, peppercorns, cloves, and cardamom seeds to a small skillet on medium heat and toast until spices become fragrant. Be sure to watch spices carefully because they can burn rather quickly. Remove spices from heat, place in a mortar to crush the spices a little. Add crushed bay leaves and ginger.

 In a large pot, combine approximately half of the pickling spice mix, the stick of cinnamon, water, salt and sugar. Bring everything to a boil and remove from heat. Once the spice mixture reaches room temperature, place in the refrigerator  to chill. Once chilled, add brisket to a large pan or bowl (large enough for the spice/water mixture to cover majority of the brisket). The brine should cover the meat completely. If the meat floats, use a plate to weigh it down. Place in the refrigerator and chill for 24 to 48 hours. You can brine this brisket for up to 7 days just be sure to flip the brisket over every day, so that all sides get brined equally. I opted for about a 1 ½ because I was extremely anxious. 

At the end of the cure, remove the brisket from the brine and rinse off the brine with cold water. Place the brisket in a slow cooker (or large pot if you do not have a slow cooker, which is a great investment btw) and cover with equal parts of water and beef stock. 
Add the reminder of pickling spices. Cover and cook on high for about 7-8 hours. Remove the meat to a cutting board to cool and cut. Be sure to cut along the grain of the meat.

Now finally to making the damn sandwich!

Butter one side of 2 slices of rye bread. On the non buttered side of one slice of bread,  add the ingredients in the following order: Thousand Island Dressing, corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and an additional spread of Thousand Island Dressing. Top the sandwich off with the remaining slice of bread with the buttered side up. Heat skillet over medium-high heat, add sandwich in skillet and cook each side until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes). And there you have it a classic diner reuben sandwich, I love mine with ruffle chips and a crisp pickle. Yum!