Corned Beef Pickling Spices Redux

Joined Jan 10, 2010
After spending a couple-three weeks looking for pickling spice recipes, I may have found one that will do the trick.  However, being a novice at making corned beef, I've some questions.

Various recipes call for mustard seeds.  Do the light and dark seeds add different flavor nuances?  Black pepper is also called for.  There are may types of black pepper.  Can their different flavor profiles be noticed, even subtly, in the finished product?  On hand I have Balinese Long Peppers, smoked black pepper, Trader Joe's regular ol' black pepper, Ecuadorian Talamanca, and Tellicherry.

Most recipes call for cloves, which I generally find too sweet, and have found, when\n overused in another corned beef, made the product unacceptably sweet and cloying to me.  Others loved it.  So, the question is this: how important are cloves in a recipe, and can the amount be reduced without sacrificing too much flavor?  I know that's a very subjective question, but at this early hour it's the best way I can phrase it.

Would fresh ginger, grated or in chunks, be an acceptable alternative to ground ginger?

With juniper berries and allspice, is it better to use them whole or crushed?

What does mace bring to the table?  BDL once suggested crumbled mace, but that doesn't seem quite right.  Maybe BDL meant ground mace?

What's your opinion on how long the brisket should marinated?  Different recipes call for anything between three days and three weeks.  That's a pretty big spread, although most call for a minimum of a week to ten days.  Can the meat be under/over marinated?  How can I tell when it's soaked long enough?

Well, thanks for any help.  Time for some coffee and to get started with the day.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
Mace - sadly, i do not remember what mace brings to the table. I have locked it away into the "old school"  spice category cause IIRC it's a canning and brining spice and it may be an acid that it brings but don't quote me and I am not going to go google it to look smart.

juniper berries- (blech) sorry thats just me. Doubt they will need to be crushed as this is an hours thing not a saute and those things are packed with flavor.

Ginger- I see no reason why you couldn't use an alternate form of fresh ginger, I am no brine expert but figure it's not entirly unlike a marinade. if it would work in a marinade why not a  brine.(ok, within limits I understand there is Ph thing we are trying to achieve here)

Cloves- use less, i always do. they are potent.

Pepper- If you can tell the difference that's what matters, i don't think i would notice but am not sure as I haven't tried it.

 Hey isn't the brine for a pastrami and a corn beef the same? or is it shorter for the pastrami cause you smoke  afterwards whereas the corned beef is just brined?
Joined May 3, 2010
 Mace - I use it to flavor spiced apples I can in the fall.  It's the outside of nutmeg.  I've only ever seen it ground.  Delicate flavor - goes well with  the flavor profile you are describing.  
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