Forget the fancy food at some overpriced five-star restaurant, give me a perfectly cooked corned beef meal at any of the five-million star campfire ‘restaurants’ in the outback any day.
As corned beef is the meal we would request at Unsealed 4X4 if it were to be our last, we’re always interested to learn how other people cook it. Having cooked ribs in cola before, I couldn’t see why corned beef in ginger beer wouldn’t work.
And work it did! Deliciously, I might add.
Words and photos: Jo Clews
Place the corned beef and half the ginger beer into a small cast iron camp oven with the lid on, over moderate heat on the stove top or over coals or heat beads. Cook for about an hour, top up with the excess ginger beer and continue to cook for another hour. Being as I am a passionate corned beef consumer, I have found some people make the mistake of not cooking it long enough. Just when you think the meat is cooked, give it an extra half hour and it will fall apart perfectly.
Now here’s the neat trick… and it came about quite by accident: allow the liquid to reduce until it has turned golden and syrupy. Not only does it coat the meat with a delicious sticky glaze, but you will have no excess liquid to discard. The glaze is however very rich and can be a little salty, so use sparingly; but it’s nothing that a good beer can’t wash down.
Tip: Corned beef does not need to be entirely submerged in the ginger beer, just 1/2 to 3/4.
Tip: Turn the beef every 15 minutes so the meat does not stick to the bottom of the pot. The high sugar content in the ginger beer can make it prone to burning and sticking.
Tip: Corned beef can be cooked in a heavy base pot with the lid on, on top of the stove at home or on a gas stove in a caravan or camper trailer.
Honey mustard sauce
Melt butter in a saucepan over low to moderate heat, add flour and combine, cook for a couple of minutes, slowly pour in milk stirring continuously to prevent lumps forming. Add both mustards and honey and bring just to the boil. Season with salt to taste… and slather over hot corned beef.
This is entirely optional now that you have a ginger beer glaze, and is great if you cook corned beef the traditional way.
You will need:
1 corned beef approx
1-1.5kg in weight
Up to 2 litres of ginger beer (bottles or cans)
2 tablespoons of plain flour
2 tablespoons of butter or margarine
1½ cups of water or milk
3 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of grainy mustard
2½ teaspoons of
hot English mustard
Salt to taste