It's 'brine time' for butcher Carroll at Corti Bros. Market

A yearly ritual has been going on at Corti Bros. Market over the past couple of weeks in the prep area behind the meat counter. There, meat department manager and master butcher Mike Carroll has been trimming, injecting and barrel-brining briskets and other cuts of beef in his proprietary brine. It’s in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.

In all, Carroll is corning 3,200 pounds of beef in various cuts (including Wagyu), plus 80 pounds of pork shoulder and 15 pounds of beef tongue. Prices range from $4 to $9 a pound, depending on the cut. Some of it is available now.

Ever the experimenter, Carroll has “invented” three new corned items:

“A lot of people think turkey is kind of bland, so I thought, ‘Why not corn boneless turkey breasts and see how they turn out?’ ” Answer: fragrant, tender and juicy, with a subtle flavor of pickling spices. Look for corned-turkey sandwiches at the deli, and whole raw breasts in the meat department cold case ($10 a pound). Cook them at 325 degrees to an internal temperature of 155 degrees, Carroll advises.

Carroll is also toying with corned-beef “sausage” links, blending ground corned beef, caramelized white onion and house-made hash browns and stuffing the mix into natural pork casings ($7.99, available now through St. Pat’s Day).

The third item is corned pork belly sprinkled with cracked black pepper, still in the early stages and not yet for sale. “It ties to the current trend of smoking or grilling pork belly in the backyard,” he said. “We haven’t tasted it yet, but it should work.”

Corti Bros. Market is at 5810 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 736-3800, Order corned beef at (916) 736-3805.