I use kosher salt and get gray corned beef. The pink color for the meat is not a big deal for me. I grew up with the gray stuff.
I was confused by this and have found that at least in the northeast it is quite common to brine briskets as you do, Andy, and still refer to the product as corned beef. I've never had it so now I'll have to try it and see th3e difference in taste.
Most have never had their own 'Corned Beef 'made at home so I think most think of store bought that is corned with nitrites as well as the rest of the brine. Easy to spot, it is pink meat. the sodium nitrites are what gives corned meat and ham and and bacon and hotdogs and... their pink color and unique taste.
I will give here the Ruhlman book, Charcuterie
version of corned beef:
1 gal water
2 cups Kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 oz pink salt*
3 garlic cloves minced
2tablespoons pickling spice
5# brisket well marbled (first cut) beef [as I said before I use pork Boston butt instead]
1 place brisket in cooled brine, weight down to keep submerged refrigerate for 5 days. [ my note: after this time it starts getting too salty and can start to get mushy]
2 Remove and rinse it thoroughly.
3 cook as above for about 3 hours- water should always just cover brisket- or until fork tender
4 slice and eat
I think the above covers how to cook it in many well thought out manors so all I'm really trying to illustrate is how to make and use your own. Corning is a way to preserve meat for another time rather than eat it now, otherwise lets brine for flavor and eat it now.
*pink salt is a mix of 93.75% pure salt [NaCl}like we all know and 6.25% potassium nitrite another salt