We've been wanting to make this for a while. Since we do our best not to eat factory-farmed meat, it's been a long time since we've eaten anything but tempeh in our Reubens. But I will say it's hard to beat a tempeh Reuben. We've also been trying to stay away from the nitrates in cured meat. One week they'll kill you. The next they're perfectly harmless. Who knows?
As it turns out, celery is full of nitrates, so Cindy decided to try a celery brine. But it's still nitrate. Is a nitrate a nitrate a nitrate? Again, who knows? Probably just as bad for you. Or just as harmless. Still, it's good to know you could potentially make your own cure without having to buy the commercial stuff. That's not what Cindy did, though. We got some celery juice powder from The Sausage Maker. The first batch was perfect. She brined it for seven days and it tasted awesome and had that beautiful red hue throughout. She cut the celery powder to 1/2 tablespoon the second time and only brined it for five days. It still tasted good but the red hue only penetrated about a half inch or so into the meat. That's what's in the photo.
1 cups coarse ground sea salt or 3/4 c fine sea salt
1/2 cups brown sugar
3 inch stick cinnamon
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 Tbls coriander seed
1 Tbls crushed red pepper
1 star anise crumbled
8 allspice berries
8 juniper berries
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 inch knob fresh ginger peeled and sliced
3 bay leaves, crumbled
4 quarts spring or filtered water
1 Tbls celery juice powder
1 4-5 lb. venison roast
In an 8 quart pot mix 2 quarts of water with everything except the celery powder and meat and bring to a boil.
Turn off the heat and add 2 more quarts of water to cool. Add the celery juice powder and let it finish cooling in fridge (make sure you put a towel under the hot pot to avoid cracking your refrigerator shelf).
After it's cool, add the meat and make sure it stays submerged for 7 days.
After 7 days pour off the brine through a sieve and save the spices. Wrap the spices in cheesecloth (unless you don't mind biting into a peppercorn later) and put the cheesecloth bag back into the pot.
Rinse the brine off of the meat, add enough water to cover the meat, bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 2 hours.
If you want to add vegetables (potatoes, carrots, onions, cabbage), put them in after 2 hours and simmer until tender.
Eat right away, freeze whole or sliced thin.