a corned beef sandwich
(Photo/Flickr-bgreenlee CC BY 2.0)

Deli-style, cured corned beef isn’t difficult to make

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I recently traveled to South Beach, Florida, where I spent most of my time eating Cuban food and rinsing sand off my preschool-age son. I am still amazed at how a child so small can get covered head to toe in sand in a matter of minutes.

Lucky for me, my son enjoys a good meal as much as his parents do. So we couldn’t leave the Miami area without a visit to a Jewish deli in North Beach. But where does a Jew go for a good deli sandwich on a Saturday? Josh’s Deli, of course, “a Jewish deli done wrong,” as its slogan says, serving “everything you never wanted in a traditional, Jewish deli.”

The eclectic menu includes matzah ball soup, eggs with bacon and something called “Jewchachos”: duck prosciutto with eggs-over-easy, mole, salsa verde and avocado salad. Josh’s also serves the most buttery corned beef I’ve had in quite a while. It arrived on a paper-lined red plastic basket, nestled on thick slices of locally baked rye bread, with a jar of deli mustard on the side so you can slather on as much as you like. The corned beef and pastrami are house-cured and hand-sliced.

Accompaniments include the ex-New Yorker’s favorite beverage, Dr. Brown’s cream soda, and crisp-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside golden brown latkes crowned with thick-cut pieces of cooked apples and sour cream on the side. A mechayeh.

But, of course, you don’t need to shlep all the way to Surfside, Florida (north North Beach) and shvitz in the South Florida humidity for a homemade corned beef on rye.

Corned beef

Adapted from “Leite’s Culinaria

Makes 8-10 servings

1 gallon water
2 cups kosher salt
½ cup light brown sugar
5 tsp. curing salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs. pickling spice, plus 2 Tbs. for later
2 tsp. smoked black peppercorns (optional)
5 lbs. beef brisket, well-marbled (first-cut)

Simmer all ingredients except brisket in a pot large enough for the brisket. Stir to dissolve all salt and sugar. Cool brine and chill. Place brisket in brine. Put a plate on it to keep it submerged. Refrigerate for 5 days. Remove brisket from brine, discard brine. Rinse brisket with cool water. Place brisket in pot and cover with water. Add 2 Tbs. pickling spice and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 3 hours or until tender. Add water if too much evaporates. Remove brisket from pot, cool. Slice thinly and serve on rye bread with deli mustard.


From Josh (of Josh’s Deli)

Makes 8 servings

1 lb. shredded cabbage
¼ lb. shredded carrots
1 cup salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups mayonnaise
1 Tbs. dill
1 Tbs. celery salt

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Jewban sandwich

From Josh (of Josh’s Deli)

Makes 1 sandwich

3 slices challah, toasted
Sliced roast turkey or beef
Russian dressing
Chipotle powder and truffle oil (optional)
Sliced pastrami
Vegan Swiss-style “cheese” slices<

Spread mustard on a piece of challah. Top with slices of roast turkey or beef. Place challah slice on top of meat. Optionally season your Russian dressing with chipotle and/or truffle oil, and spread the Russian dressing on challah slice. Top with pastrami, “cheese” and pickles. Top with third challah slice.

Shelly Butcher
Shelly Butcher

Shelly Butcher is a technical writer and a food writer. She enjoys exploring the fundamental interconnectedness of all things food, where kreplach meet wontons. She blogs at anopencupboard.com.