Get into the spirit of St. Paddy’s Day with Andrew Zimmern’s crazy-easy version of corned beef with a sticky bourbon-molasses glaze. (If you want to cure the meat for this recipe yourself, we've got instructions for that, too! Another easy project if you have the time—about a week—and room in your fridge.) The results are out of this world.
Corning the beef (optional): Lay the brisket on a flat surface. Feel where the fat is thickest, and use a sharp knife to trim off about half of the fat. Discard the fat. Square the meat off by trimming the edges so it cures and cooks evenly. You should be left with a brisket that's about 4–5 pounds. (Note: This recipe calls for half of a whole brisket. Save the trimmed meat for another recipe, such as Edward Lee’s Korean-Style Texas Chili.)
Place the trimmed brisket into a non-reactive container. Pour in enough cold water to cover by one inch. Add paprika, brown sugar, bay leaves, allspice, peppercorns, granulated garlic, pickling spice, and Prague powder. Use your hand to stir the ingredients into the water, and gently move the brisket around in the liquid to help dissolve the sugar. Let the meat rest fat side up in the curing mixture. Cover container with the lid and refrigerate, 7–8 days.
Corned beef: Pour broth into a stockpot; add cinnamon, mustard seed, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Pull the corned beef brisket out of the curing solution and rinse with cold water. (Note: Alternatively, start by rinsing pickling spices off a 4- to 5-lb. store-bought corned beef.) Place the corned beef into the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook until spoon-tender, or to an internal temperature of 175 F, about 2–3 hours. (Alternatively, you can place the meat in a 275 degrees F oven for the same length of time.)
Preheat broiler. Remove corned beef from cooking liquid, pat dry on a dish towel, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. If you’re cooking the nose portion of the brisket, trim off the top for even glazing. Combine molasses, mustard powder, bourbon, and brown sugar in a bowl to make the glaze; stir until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Pour ⅓ of the glaze on top of the corned beef, distributing evenly. Place the corned beef 6 inches under broiler for about 1 minute. Remove and pour on half the remaining glaze. Place under the broiler for 30-40 seconds. Remove and pour the rest of the glaze onto the corned beef and broil another 30-40 seconds.
Assembly: Remove corned beef from oven and let rest on a cutting board while preparing the buns, about 10 minutes (reserving the drippings in the pan). In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat until it's foaming. Add 1-2 buns, cut side down, and cook until light brown and toasted, 30 seconds. Continue with remaining butter and buns until all are toasted. Meanwhile, make Thousand Island dressing: Combine mayonnaise, relish, and chili sauce in a bowl; season to taste with salt and stir. Slice corned beef at an angle, against the grain. Place on a serving platter and drizzle with reserved drippings from the pan. To make a sandwich, layer corned beef on griddled buns and top with a dollop of dressing.