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Super Food Nerds: How to Make Corned Beef

How to Make Corned Beef

Welcome to Super Food Nerds, a new column which will be written in alternating installments by me, Rupa (Food and Beverage Editor, Culinary Staff) and my colleague Jonathan (Research Librarian, same place). Each installment will be dedicated to a particular topic – how to DIY something you don’t normally DIY, how to perfect a dish usually taken for granted, plus best techniques, underlying chemistries and a handful of inexplicable preferences. Basically, if we can overthink it, we’re on it.

So, spring’s in the air, and naturally our thoughts are turning to beef. OK, that’s a lie, I was already thinking about beef — specifically, corned beef. There’s the whole St. Patrick’s Day thing, and I also really like corned beef. I’ve kept a mysterious bucket of brining beef in our kitchens’ walk-in fridge since last week, and have taken out pieces here and there to braise. After decent testing and rigorous eating, I’m pretty happy with the end result.

To make corned beef, you take a big, flavorful piece of meat and infuse it with even more flavor in the form of a salt-sugar-spice solution (aka brine) for way longer than you’d ever think you could safely keep meat in a fridge. Then, you cook it. The cumulative effect of beef, salt, sugar, spices and time is so much more than the sum of its parts that it’s sort of mind-blowing and unbelievably rewarding.

Here’s the gist (FAQ and recipe follow):

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Guide to Sparkling Wine, Just in Time for New Year’s Eve

Ring in the New Year right with a glass of something bubbly. Here’s a quick rundown of your sparkling options:

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Wine Pairings for Christmas Dinner


No matter what you’re planning to make for Christmas dinner, it’s important to choose your wine carefully to enhance the flavors of your dish and ensure that the wine tastes optimal. We picked our top 10 Christmas main dish recipes and recommend varietals for each.

Giada’s Bracoile (Shown Above)
Braised beef with Pecorino, Provolone and marinara is an easy match for fruity Merlot.

Chuck’s Rib Roast With Mushroom Crust
Prime rib with Cabernet is a classic — and for good reason. An earthier Cabernet would match the wild mushroom crust; a more-tannic one would do well with the rich meat.

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How to Pair Wines With Sweets

The holiday season affords many opportunities for drinking — from seasonal cocktails and mulled cider to spiked cocoa and, of course, wine. With so many sweets-focused events, like cookie swaps and apps-and-dessert cocktail parties, it’s equally as important to pair wines correctly with dessert as it is with your Christmas ham.

First off: The rule of thumb when you’re pairing wine with sweets is that the wine should be sweeter than the food. (Ever been to a wedding where the Champagne was perfectly delicious until the cake was served? Now you know why.)

So that begs the questions: How sweet are we talking? Which wines are appropriate for your dessert soiree?

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Which Wines to Serve at Your Thanksgiving Meal

When you’re choosing wines for your Thanksgiving table, it seems simple: What goes best with turkey? While that’s one way of going about it, it probably makes more sense to figure out what else is happening on the table.

Turkey is turkey is turkey, and matches well with anything from the hearty white (California Chardonnay or Viognier, Rhone blends) to the lightweight-but-firm red (Pinot Noir, well-made Merlot, Beaujolais Nouveau).

But where it really gets interesting is figuring out flavor pairings. If you’ve got a hearty cornbread-and-sausage stuffing, you’ll want to go with something funky and red that can stand up to it, like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Rioja wine from Spain. If it’s oyster-based, you’ll want a minerally, crisp white, like a Sauvignon Blanc.

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How to Make Sangria in 3 Easy Steps

How to Make Sangria

Summer, to us, means laid-back patio drinks, and the king of those is sangria. Sangria is as easy to make as it is to drink; as long as you’ve got wine, fruit, and some kind of spirits, you’re good to go.

In fact, you’re just three steps away from having sangria:

Step 1: Wine.

Pretty much any wine makes a good sangria, though generally you’re best off going with medium-to-light on the mouthfeel front (a super-buttery Chardonnay or inky black Zinfandel are trickier to balance with fruit). Each bottle of wine makes about 6 glasses of sangria.

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Summer Wine and Food Pairings

Summer wine Pairings

It’s summer, which means it’s picnic season – and picnic season means it’s drinking-wine-outside season. Below, a couple classic summer dishes, along with our wine picks for each.

Corn Dog Wine Pairing

Pair corn dogs with Champagne because, well, why not?

The hot dog/bratwurst/sausage family presents a pairing conundrum. You can either pair wine with the meat itself – in which case, go with Merlot and call it a day – but it’s much more fun to pair with the toppings. Classic hot dog with ketchup? Merlot’s sweetness works nicely here. Bratwurst with onions and mustard? A buttery Chardonnay might work well with the sharp mustard and tangy onions. Italian sausage with peppers and onions? Cabernet or a higher-acid Italian red like Sangiovese would be great. Corn dog? Champagne. Just because.

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Wines That Pair Best With Burgers

What Wines Pair With Burgers

One of the best-kept secrets of burgers is how well wine works as an accompaniment. Sure, you’re used to firing up the grill with a beer in hand, but a few well-chosen wines might just change your mind.

Here are 3 wines to consider when you’re serving backyard burgers:

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